Axbridge Community Theatre presents one of the most popular plays of recent years about some of the first convicts to land in Australia. How they are treated, punished but also through the power of theatre begin to reinvent themselves as the the new Australians – at the expense of those who lived there for 60,000 years – the Aborigines.
Observed by a lone, mystified Australian aboriginal , the convict ship arrives in Botany Bay in1788, crammed with England’s outcasts. Colony discipline in this vast and alien land is brutal. Three proposed public hangings incite an argument: how best to keep the criminals in line, the noose or a more civilised form of entertainment? The ambitious Second Lieutenant Ralph Clark steps forward with a play. But as the mostly illiterate cast rehearses, and a sense of common purpose begins to take hold, the young officer’s own transformation is as marked and poignant as that of his prisoners. The play is far from grim. Actually it’s mostly funny! “All people tend to become what society says they are! In performance the convicts challenge their definition.”
The plays runs from May 2-5, 2018.
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