Image: Sarah Walker
Come to play, come to win or don’t come at all
I don’t know when I first saw it / In a memory, a premonition, or a dream.
It was a house and it was on fire / I was the house and I was on fire.
A suburban netball team. A new player. Cass says she wants to fit in but if she won’t play by their rules why does she bother coming at all? She claims to see something they cannot, a warning of sorts. All the other women want to do is play. But this player will push each of them to a point of furious revelation. Nothing will be left on the court once these women are done with their reckoning.
A sweaty play about the petty and the profound, the mundane and the mythic, Contest asks how we might be with each other if we don’t have to win.
Green Room Award Nomination:
Lighting Design – Amelia Lever-Davidson
Contest is presented in association with New Working Group and Bureau of Works.
Contest was originally commissioned by Malthouse Theatre through the support of the Malcolm Robertson Foundation. It was seeded through Malthouse Theatre’s Besen Family Artist Program, and developed through the City of Yarra Performance Investigations Program. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. The production is supported by the Besen Family Foundation. This project has received funds from Creative Partnerships Australia through the Australia Cultural Fund.
Writer Emilie Collyer
Director Prue Clark
Movement Direction: Nat Cursio and Alice Dixon
Set and Costume Design: Romanie Harper
Lighting Design: Amelia Lever-Davidson
Sound Design: Emah Fox
Script Dramaturg: Mark Pritchard
Producer: Erin Milne (Bureau of Works)
Cast: Alice Ansara, Natasha Herbert, Kate Hood, Sonya Suares and Emily Tomlins
Production and Stage Manager: Adelaide Harney
Assistant Stage Manager: Harriet Wallace-Mead
“Collyer patterns wide-ranging dialogue – we get everything from frank sex confessions to stories of bodily betrayal, from surreal elegy to piteous intimations of domestic violence – into a kind of dream play that, underneath the surface comedy, offers a jarring lens onto gendered experience … Prue Clark directs a strong ensemble performance. Emily Tomlins has radioactive presence as Cass … An unsettling tragicomic vision from a talented local playwright, brought to life with buckets of grunt and style.” – The Sydney Morning Herald ★★★½
“Collyer’s writing arcs from brutally unromantic to gruffly poetic with some exquisitely confessional exchanges along the way. Jousting dialogue unravels into contemplative soliloquies … the design sharply — and magically — counterpoints the narrative reality … production elements resolve and coalesce into something remarkable, even ecstatic.” –
The Australian ★★★½