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Phillip James Rouse knew he wanted all the elements of a thrilling Greek tragedy in his play: high emotions, drama, and catastrophe. So he took inspiration from elements of the present-day America’s unfathomable President, and Australia’s disaster-fraught refugee policies.

The result is Night Slows Down, a play about a world where “far-right extremists have won the election, and ordinary citizens riot in the streets. Where human rights are denied; democracy dies, and cities collapse.”

The play follows Sharon, a civil engineer whose husband Martin has been put in detention by the new government. Her brother Seth, a public servant, will try to use Martin as leverage to force Sharon into working for the government, to build a monument on politically contentious land.

Night Slows Down will be a rare event for Sydney theatre-goers. Not only will the Bakehouse host its inaugural world premiere, but Rouse, already a well-versed theatre director, is in the unique position of having directed his own play, giving him full licence to make changes to the script while in rehearsal.

Conceived in January, with a first reading back in March, Rouse says at least 80% of the play has now been rewritten.

“If a scene isn’t quite working, you can just do something about it,” he explains. His first draft of around 7000 words has now evolved into 16,000 totalling “a good hour-forty piece of theatre,” says Rouse with delight.

By the time the play hits the stage, there’s no telling how much more might have been added or changed. Night Slows Down will be a compelling performance affair, a modern hybrid composed of equal parts traditional theatre and improvisation.

Don’t miss this special event.

Until Dec 9. KXT – Kings Cross Theatre, Level 2, Kings Cross Hotel, Kings Cross. $25-$35. Tickets & Info: www.bakehousetheatrecompany.com.au

By Alex Eugene.