Strange Attractor | Griffin Theatre Company

Strange Attractor | Griffin Theatre CompanyLeft - Sandy Winton. Cover - Josh McConville, Ivan Donato, Peter Kowitz, Blazey Best, Darren Gilshenan. Photos - Olivia Martin-McGuire

Griffin Theatre Company’s
2009 season has seen new Australian plays from the far reaches of the country - from the brutal rural suffocation of Patricia Cornelius’ The Call, to the desperate isolation of the Tasmanian wilderness in Steve Roger’s Savage River. Strange Attractor by Sue Smith is an intense addition to this year’s season, exploring the landscape of Western Australia’s mining country - red sand, heat, and spectacular cyclones.

In a remote railway construction camp in the middle of the Pilbara, a cyclone has devastated more than just the make-shift tin rooves. Gus (Sandy Winton), an employee and avid heath and safety representative has died in an accident and each member of the team struggles to confront the circumstances that lead to his death. Colin (Darren Gilshenan), the company’s incident investigator from Perth, has arrived to find out the chain of events which lead to the on site fatality. Despite the closeness of the team, each has their secret, their desire, their motive for their take on what sort of man Gus was and what happened the night of the cyclone.

Nick Marchand’s accomplished cast, comprising of Blazey Best as Truckie the only female in the camp, Ivan Donato as Chilli an international bartender, Sandy Winton as Gus - “a good man in a bad place”, Peter Kowitz as tough talking Unionist Taipan, Josh McConville as the youngest of the team Rube and Darren Gilshenan as Colin “the company man” serve up Smith’s script with a tender and likeable practicality. And certainly it is the moments of silent personal struggle which speak loudest in their performances.

Set design by Jo Briscoe is simple and rustic and well supported by lighting design by Bernie Tan who transports through time and space. Steve Francis’s Sound design is elegant and underscores the intensity of the confrontations and interrogations beautifully.

Best known for her television writing credits including, RAN, Brides of Christ and Bastard Boys, Sue Smith makes her Griffin Theatre Company debut with this intense and gritty play about the human tendency for risk taking and complacency.

Infused with an authentic and robust language, Strange Attractor is a refreshingly, necessary and startlingly honest look at the microcosm within an isolated workplace. A workplace dominated by men, by a way of life, a perspective which is based on the rawness of survival, of a clear pecking order and shaped by company and governmental regulations. The ever present threat of job loss, the inexorable geographical isolation, workplace drug use and unwavering loneliness distort judgement, loyalty, morality and safety.

Strange Attractor has some beautiful moments of reckoning, a fascinating story and performances that gently ravel the desperation of the characters. And at the heart of this red sand encrusted tale of mateship and survival is an aching want, “I want money. I want sex. Adrenalin, Freedom. Control. Abandon. I want because I’m alive. I want to stay alive.” This is the unheard, largely unrepresented life of outback Australia - the unglamourous and politically charged world of industry, which is a welcome window into a world which seems strangely familiar - but also remarkably “other.”

Griffin Theatre Company presents
Strange Attractor
by Sue Smith

Director Nick Marchand

Venue: SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross NSW 2011
Previews: 23, 24, 26, 27 October
Dates: 29 October – 21 November
Tickets: Full: $44.00 Senior: $37.00 Concession, Preview, Matinee: $33.00
Bookings: Griffin Booking Line 02 8002 4772 |

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