“The Boys”

 by Gordon Graham, was performed at Three Stage Theatre 17, Jamisontown, from April 27 to May 12, 2002

Director: Richard Brooks
Stage Manager: Lisa Larson
Set Design: Richard Brooks, David Hoey, Wayne Pratt
Lighting/Sound: Lindy Pettett
Brett Sprague: David Hoey
Stevie Sprague: Wayne Pratt
Glenn Sprague: Arpad Horvath
Michelle: Amber Kenny
Nola: Tessa Lunney
Jackie: Hala Swallow
Sandra Sprague: Sherreen Hennessy

 
Gordon Graham, author of the “The Boys,” recalls the play’s first airing at the 1988 Playwrights Conference in Sydney. “Some people hated it; some were passionately for it. Some were deeply offended.” It was the overwhelming public reaction to the Anita Cobby case that sparked off the idea for Graham’s uncompromising fly-on-the-wall drama, chosen by The Acting Factory to kick off their inaugural theatre season. However, the playwright stresses it was not the specific events of the famous case that propelled him into the play. “People were so obsessed. How could anyone get to the point of doing something like that?”
The question compelled Graham to invent a suburban Australian family of three brothers, their mother and their girlfriends, and the events that lead up to the vicious rape and murder of a woman by the brothers. “I avoided the circumstances of the Cobby case and made it my own particular plot to suit me. The play is more about the effects on these people than the events themselves.” Although the attack is the unseen climax to a day in the life of the brothers, much of the play concentrates on the aftermath, exploring the connection between those men and the women they are close to.
Unlike Steven Sewell’s film treatment of the story, the “boys” in Graham’s play are not yet far down the criminal path. Brett Sprague, the oldest brother, has just done gaol time for a road rage incident. The events leading to the tragedy begin when Brett, newly released, returns to the family home in the suburbs: an intellectually barren, emotionally airless environment, where disorder and denial are the way of life.
Graham drew on his own background, growing up in “a fairly rough” outer suburb in Perth, to create the authentic characters that propel the action. “I could well imagine some of the people I’ve known at school going on to live the sort of life that the boys are living.”
Following its production at The Stables, “The Boys” went on to win the Australian Writers Guild Award for Best Play in 1992, adding to the writer’s long list of industry awards. Graham, whose plays have been produced in Chicago, London, Auckland as well as major theatre companies and radio around Australia, claims he never writes with a particular style in mind. “Style follows on from the people you have in mind. Some of my plays have been more overtly comic and exaggerated and more absurd things happen. The Boys is in a way abnormal for me.”
 
Read review by Dr. David Wright, Lecturer in Social Ecology
School of Social Ecology and Lifelong Learning, Hawkesbury Campus UWS

 

Graphic Design by David Hoey

Dave Hoey as Brett and Arpad Horvath as Glenn

 

Wayne Pratt as Stevie and David Hoey as Brett
 

 Photo's by Liz Magna

 
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