*** Given the unfolding situation with Covid-19 in Australia we have made the difficult but necessary decision to cancel Summerfolk and we will no longer be able to stage it as part of the 2020 season.

Summerfolk (How Good is Australia?) (Nov 21-Dec 20)
By Maxim Gorky, adapted by Eamon Flack
Directed by Eamon Flack

When Belvoir does a classic, it’s got to be one that speaks pretty clearly to the here and now. And Flack is so confident his take on Maxim Gorky’s 1904 play will speak to the here and now, he’s given it a pretty topical subtitle: “How Good is Australia?”

“This play wasn’t on the table until after the last election, and then it came onto the table very, very quickly,” Flack says. “I think a lot of people are really confused about the dissonance between what we claim to believe as a country and what we choose to put our stock in, and that’s literally what Gorky is writing about.”

The play features a group of people (comfortable Aussies taking a seaside retreat in Flack’s version) who have become so addicted to the comfort of their lifestyle that they fail to recognise that their world is fundamentally changing. Flack previously directed a small-scale production of the play a decade ago – as his directorial debut – but will helm a cast of 13 this time around, including Mandela Mathia, Richard Pyros, Pamela Rabe, Toby Truslove and Sophie Wilde.

A coastal town, somewhere in Australia. Skeleton population in winter, swollen with the holiday crowd in summer. This particular bunch have been coming to their beach houses for years. They’ve got the money to enjoy themselves, they always have. Why should it be any different this year? Why should it ever change?

I love this play – its games of love and human foibles, its black sense of humour. It has a classic theatrical motor: a group of people who can’t get through a holiday without throwing a punch and smashing the mirror. But it’s also a big-picture play about us, how the hell we’ve ended up where we are… – Eamon Flack, Artistic Director

Supported by the Nelson Meers Foundation