Arts & Entertainment


 “With malice toward none, with charity for all … to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves …”

So goes the gist of Abraham Lincoln’s famed second inaugural speech. Cut from 1865 to 2012 and the lofty words of America’s 16th president may come on a little preachy, but the sentiment remains the same: let’s all just try and get along, shall we?

In Malice Toward None, directed and produced by Darlinghurst local Chris Aronsten, three very different characters attempt to get on with complex job of living; dodgy jobs, crazy mothers and all.  By the sound of things, each could do with a little charity and lasting peace. We interrupt Aronsten mid-season to see how the malice is going down …

How’s it gone so far? Any hiccups or high points? The show just seems to get better and better. After so much work in the rehearsal space, having an audience has really made the show come alive. As a first time director I’ve certainly learned a lot!

It’s set in Kings Cross, and unites three darkly comic monologues. What makes that postcode such an appealing backdrop? Kings Cross is special because it contains a very diverse population in a very high density. Urban professionals, families, a large gay and lesbian community, all living in close proximity to Sydney’s seedy underbelly. We all feel we know people who live on the fringe – but they are rarely given a voice, and that’s the intention behind the play.

Can you tell us a little about each of the characters? Cathy is a drug addict who is trying to convince us that she’s just an actress playing a role. Pete is a gambling addict, who, in order to earn money to feed his addiction, has taken to ‘Smurfing’ – buying cold and flu medicine and selling it to drug manufacturers to make methamphetamine. Jane is the daughter of Janet, who has decided to only eat carrots until Jane moves back home with her. 

As a director, how do you present the issue of ‘self-delusion’ in an honest way? I think the key is to show the audience one thing and have the characters tell you something different – that’s how I’ve tried to show the gap between reality and the characters’ version of reality. 

Until Jun 16, Old Fitzroy Theatre, cnr Cathedral & Dowling Sts, Woolloomooloo, $25-41 (beer, meal & show), 1300 241 167,