With everything that occurred in the year that was 2020, Appropriate, directed by Wesley Enoch seems, well, appropriate. Written by the American playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, the play centres around a dysfunctional American family brought together by the death of their father. As they begin to sort through his belongings they struggle between a desire to remember the man but forget the past. The play examines the dark history of America’s southern states which feels particularly poignant after the Black Lives Matter protests and in the wake of so much civil unrest and division in the U.S.
With its Australian premiere at the Sydney Theatre Company, Appropriate treads that fine line between comedy and confronting reality, a reality which could very easily be applied to Australia. With two Indigenous creatives (Enoch and Assistant Director Shari Sebbens) steering the ship, there will no doubt be moments that feel all too familiar for an Australian audience. As Enoch comments, “A play about race relations written by a man of colour for an entirely white cast is a striking narrative vehicle to work with and it’s been a delight to explore that important discourse with the cast so far.”
The play presents a stellar cast, with Sam Worthington (Avatar, Somersault) in his first appearance on a Sydney stage in more than 20 years (no pressure). Fellow actors include Lucy Bell (Griffin Theatre Company’s Splinter, Foxtel’s Fighting Season), Mandy McElhinney (Mosquitoes, Channel 9’s Love Child), Johnny Carr (The Real Thing), Brenna Harding (Jumpy, Channel Ten’s Puberty Blues), James Fraser (Amazon Prime’s The Wilds), Ella Jacob (Rules for Living), Joel Bishop (Harp in The South: Part One and Part Two) and Robbi Morgan taking to the stage in his debut role with Sydney Theatre Company.
Promising to be more than a little uncomfortable in parts, confronting in some and hilarious in others, Appropriate has all the benchmarks of a great piece of theatre.
Appropriate will play at the Sydney Theatre Company from the 15 March – 10 April 2021. For more information check out the website.