New Theatre presents a bold new interpretation of the classic modern Australian play, The Removalists, opening March 13 and playing until May 1, 1999.
David Williamson's The Removalists is about power: people who gain power, people who lose power and those who misuse and abuse power. As we draw to the close of the century, power is perhaps more than ever the ultimate source of status. The Removalists, although written almost 30 years ago, retains its edge, its ability to shock and, most importantly, its delicious sense of humour.
Written in 1971, The Removalists was Williamson's first large-scale success and premiered (directed in Sydney by John Bell for Nimrod) in the same month in Melbourne as the equally successful Don's Party. Apparently based on a story told to Williamson in a pub by a removalist, the play coincides with the birth of the feminist movement. The development of the contraceptive pill around the same time also empowered women, and the women in The Removalists react to the power of choice in very different ways. The men in the play explore their own sources of power through sexual intimidation and physical violence. The tensions between the characters in The Removalists and their various manifestations of power along with a strong sense of realism create an extraordinarily confronting piece of theatre. Williamson's genius is to also make The Removalists a very funny play, remarkable in its ability to sit the comedy and drama comfortably together.
The Removalists was the first of Williamson's plays to transfer overseas (London) where it was seen as avant-garde in its realism and violence and won the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright. It was also, along with its contemporaries Don's Party and The Club, made into a feature film. Although almost thirty years has passed since its premiere performance, The Removalists is so well written it gets its issues and themes across to contemporary audiences with relevance and wit - there is an essential truth to the text that parallels modern social and power relationships.
After Sons of Cain and Don's Party, The Removalists is the third Williamson play to be presented by new theatre. Sydney is currently host to two premieres of new plays by Williamson: Corporate Vibes (STC) and Face to Face (Ensemble). The Removalists presents audiences with a unique opportunity to examine the development of Williamson's writing and themes over a period of almost thirty years.
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