Twenty one years ago,, four playwrights and a composer came together to create ‘Who’s Afraid Of The Working Class’ a powerful, critically acclaimed of portrait of Australia. In the Howard era. Now, six Prime Ministers later, writers Andrew Bovell, Patricia Cornelius, Melissa Reeves, Christos Tsiolkas and Irine Vela have reunited to take the national pulse and ask if the advance of Australia is truly for.
‘Who’s Afraid of the Working Class?’ amplified the voices of ordinary people so we all could hear them. Now, ANTHEM turns up the volume of the everyday injustices we choose to ignore, colliding voices that may not always be in harmony but cannot be silenced.
As in their earlier work, class remains the shared and urgent theme. The play features a collection of scenes. In ‘Uncensored’ create a chorus of commuters caught on the endless cycle of having tp make ends meet. In ‘7-11, A Chemist Warehouse…A Love Story’ Melissa tells the story of two low paid workers who take on capitalism. In ‘Terror’ Patricia Corneliu tells the story of three women who face increasing economic uncertainty. Here it is not only class that places these women in jeopardy but their own gender.
In ‘Brothers and Sisters’ Christos Tsiolkas tells the story of a successful man returning to Australia from Europe, hoping to transform the lives of his three siblings who never escaped their tough upbringing.
As in the earlier play, the individual stories are interwoven and held together by Irina Vela’s score, ‘Resistance’. She also riffs on some of Christos Tsiolkas characters including an elderly Greek woman on the train reminding us that political struggle has a history and that these histories are part of our ongoing national narrative.
ANTHEM is a tougher work than ‘Who’s Afraid Of The Working Class’ There are no ,moments of redemption or reassurance. It is a true account of how the playwrights found the state of things were..
The show featured a tremendous, sleek set design by Marg Horwell. which allowed us to imagine the train settings. Her costume designs were also very appropriate.
The cast who all gave good performances featured Maude Davey Davey, Reef Ireland, Ruci Kaisila, Thusa Lekwape, Amanda Ma, Maria Mercedes, Tony Nikolakopoulos, Eryn Jean Norvill, Sahil Salaja, Osamah Sami, Eva Seymour, Carly Sheppard, Jenny M Thomas and Dan Witton.
This was an exceptional of gritty, realistic theatre. ANTHEM plays the Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay until the 19th January, 2010