The Sydney Theatre Company launches the 2016 season with a production that still resonates with theatregoers since its inception in 1985: The Golden Age by Louis Nowra.
It’s a play that strikingly explores Australia’s dark commencement as a nation by asking the questions at the very core of our history.
“This narrative of belonging is one that permeates throughout our entire cultural history since white settlers first came back in the 18th century, and from that moment onwards there’s been a very fractured narrative of Australian cultural identity and the question of belonging,” explained director Kip Williams.
The sheer scale of the narrative is something that excites Williams greatly, as he looks to tell a story for people to reflect upon our history and re-examine our present: “I think this is one of the most remarkable plays ever written in that the score of this narrative is huge, the story spans from the wilderness of Tasmania through to war-torn Berlin. Although the play was written 30 years ago, the questions that Louis was asking back in the mid-eighties are questions that we’re still grappling with 30 years later, and I think will be grappling with for many decades and possibly centuries to come.”
The fact that this is a story that still reverberates in Australian culture does cause some concern, as it asks questions of our intricate national identity.
Williams expanded on this: “Often we say we have a lack of national identity because we’re not able to clearly articulate it. We’re still forging a sense of what narratives we’re interested in defining ourselves through. There’s a resistance in Australia to define ourselves through the problematic elements of our history.” (AH)
Jan 14–Feb 20. Wharf 1 Theatre, The Wharf, Pier 4/5, Hickson Road Walsh Bay. $64. Tickets & info: sydneytheatre.com.au or 9250 1777
BY ANDREW HODGSON