If Sydney were to have a theatre revolutionist it would be Lachlan Philpott. The award-winning playwright and recent recipient of an Australia Council Literature Residency realises that to keep theatre going we need to focus on our youth.
“Teenagers need an experience relevant to them in an unpatronising way, otherwise theatre is going to die because all the subscribers will be dead,” he says.
It’s not just adolescents appreciating his work, after his Griffin play Silent Disco adult audiences also sung his praises.
Truck Stop is based on an incident where 14-year-olds prostituted themselves to truck drivers. Its protagonists, Sam and Kelly, are battling boredom and the inundation of raunch culture and a dare leads the girls to selling themselves.
I was also lucky to catch up with actor Eryn Jean Norvill (The Boys; Griffin Theatre Co, Hamlet; MTC) who describes the play as honest, gritty and funny. She plays Sam, the alpha girl in the group who is a show off and a bully. “It has been fun and full on to play such an ugly, racist bitch,” she explains to me. “Her idols are people like Rihanna, Ke$ha and the Kardashians and the most valuable thing to them is their body and sexuality. That doesn’t have a lot of integrity or self-awareness so Sam lacks a lot of those qualities.”
“I’m interested in the new wave of girls who don’t give a shit about feminism,” Philpott continues. “They want to make money and flaunt themselves as sexual objects. I’m also fascinated by sexual health and my goal is empowering people to make wise choices to lead healthy happy lives.” It’s a big task but if anyone is up to the job, it’s Philpott.
May 22-June 2, Q Theatre, 597 High Street, Penrith $20-30, 4723 7600, qtheatre.com.au
Jun 6-23, Seymour Centre, cnr City Rd & Cleveland St, Chippendale, $35-40, 9351 7940, seymourcentre.com