There has been a resurgence in interest in Australia’s criminal, male-driven subculture in recent years: TV’s Underbelly Series, the movie Animal Kingdom, and no one can forget The Boys. The 1970s play, The Removalists by David Williamson, examined Australian society in this way – brutal, violent, unforgiving.
Rock Surfers Artistic Director Leland Kean believes the play was among the first to capture a picture of suburban Australia, but is unlike recent portrayals on film and television. “No character in this play is given sympathetic treatment, all are flawed, and this is exposed to the audience from the minute we meet them.”
Given the many and ongoing representations of this sub-culture, the play is a crucial part of how Australia sees itself through theatre. “I think it’s incredibly important to understand where our theatre has come from,” says Kean.
“The issues and themes in The Removalists are as present in our society now as they were in 1971 when the play was first performed,” he explains. “On face value things appear to have changed, but if you scratch the surface, domestic violence, misogyny and police brutality are still there.” (OA)
May 14-Jun 15, Bondi Pavillion Theatre, Queen Elizabeth Drive, Bondi Beach, $25-40, rocksurfers.org