From celebrated playwright and director Stefo Nantsou (Hilary Bell’s Take Two: A Comedy of Errors, Resident Director at Sydney Theatre Company 2009-2013) comes his newest work, To Be Honest. After speaking with almost 20 young people from the Canterbury and Bankstown area in Western Sydney who had all experienced homelessness, Nantsou has weaved their stories into a full-length play. To Be Honest features a live band with all-original music and rap, and will begin its 2019 season at Parramatta’s Riverside Theatre on November 21.
Nantsou spoke about the process of interviewing Western Sydney’s young people, saying: “The interviews would be me just saying, ‘okay, tell me about your life’ and then I would get a one-hour monologue of that person telling me their story.”
“I went back to my family of wonderful actors and friends around the Bankstown area and said, ‘look I’ve got something really red-hot here, why don’t we turn this into a big show?’”
After hearing the very real stories of homelessness from Western Sydney’s youth, Nantsou knew the stories needed to be told in full and backed by a live band.
“I wanted to do a full-on verbatim theatre piece that just tells these eight young people’s stories as honestly and truthfully as we could and turn it into something really exciting.”
Nantsou says that companies such as Riverside Theatre are pivotal in being able to tell the stories of people like these and support their voices being heard.
“It’s awesome to know that there are people out there who are willing to support and back original theatre and tell original Western Sydney stories.”
Nov 21-23. Riverside Theatres, Cnr Church & Market Streets, Parramatta. $23-$39+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.riversideparramatta.com.au
By Madison Behringer