A bold new production tells the stories of Western Sydney as seen through the eyes of people of colour
“What would an Australian theatre production that was one-hundred per cent produced – on every level of arts creation – by people of colour [look like]?”
This question, posed by editor and Miles Franklin-shortlisted author Michael Mohammed Ahmad is what threads the four parts of Sex, Drugs and Pork Rolls together. His aim? To use these four stories to start stitching together the fabric of Australia as it is, not as it has been white-washed to give the appearance of being.
Forming part of the Sydney Festival, the four-part monologue is directed by S. Shakthidharan, known for his highly acclaimed production of Belvoir Street Theatre’s epic Counting and Cracking, and comprises a cast and crew entirely from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. It’s also heavily informed by traditions outside of the mainstream culture, like that of oral storytelling.
Writers Winnie Dunn, Omar Sakr, Shirley Le and Stephen Pham each unravel their version of Western Sydney in monologue form, spanning nighttime bakery ruckuses over bread rolls, foraging for magic mushrooms in the suburbs, and the tale of a mixed-race Tongan woman’s Tinder date with a white bodybuilder from Castle Hill. Actors Emily Havea, Henry Vo, Aileen Huynh and Hazem Shammas enact the stories on stage.
“When I first read the Sex, Drugs and Pork Rolls script, I recoiled,” Shakthidharan says. “Not out of disgust or fear, but because of how sharp the reflection was; of who we are, and the loss of what we could be. I hadn’t heard these thoughts voiced out loud before. It was almost too much to take. Winnie, Shirley, Omar and Stephen, working with Mohammed, have written something almost from the subconscious; an unflinching portrayal of the forces in society that eat away at us and the deeply human ways we try to mitigate that loss.”
Catch the show at Riverside Theatres from January 20-23, across two sessions each night. Ticketsare $30 and you can book online.