What’s On: Emerald City (Queensland Theatre)


Emerald City

8 – 29 February, 2020

Playhouse Theatre, QPAC

Auslan Interpreted Mon 17 Feb, 6:30pm | Audio Described Sat 29 Feb, 2pm

Queensland Theatre and Melbourne Theatre Company’s co-production of David Williamson’s Emerald City, directed by outgoing Artistic Director Sam Strong, will open Queensland Theatre’s 50th season in 2020, which also marks Williamson’s 50th year of playwrighting.

Williamson’s 1987 satire is set in Sydney in the 1980s – The Emerald City of Oz, luring unsuspecting idealists with the promise of fulfilled fantasies, and leaving them with their dreams shattered on the pavement. Colin (played by Jason Klarwein) is a one-time gun screenwriter who is off his game these days, and his wife Kate (played by Nadine Garner) is a publisher on the rise with a penchant for taking risks. Seduced by the scent of success, they move their family to the Emerald City in pursuit of a share of its fame and fortune. Colin teams with a hack writer to work on his pet project screenplay, but soon finds himself faced with a stark choice: make art or make a motza?

Emerald City is a vivid portrait of the era that was late 1980s Australia,” said Sam Strong. “It captures the unique optimism, the entrepreneurial spirit, and the evolving sense of the importance of Australian (rather than international) stories. David Williamson, with his usual flair and insight, uses this specific context of late 1980s Australia to explore universal themes that transcend the play’s original setting. Emerald City is a riff on the classic Faustian pact – a play about what we are prepared to sacrifice to get what we want.”

Playwright David Williamson, the most produced playwright in the history of Australian theatre, said that Emerald City was as relevant today as it was 30 years ago when it was written.

“Human nature doesn’t change. The hunger for fame and recognition eating at our two married protagonists, Colin and Kate, is a need that still consumes many of us. The competitive struggle at the heart of many marriages is just as prevalent.  The rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne is just as strong as ever, and the human comedy – our ability to make fools of ourselves – never diminishes.”

Sam Strong added that he was excited about the cast for Emerald City. “I couldn’t be more delighted about the cast we have assembled – it’s a dream team of some of my favourite performers to tackle one of my favourite plays. I’m thrilled to be working with a cast who have the comic chops to make the play as funny as it should be, but who are also able to do justice to the complexity of its ideas and relationships.”

For ticketing and further information, visit the Queensland Theatre website.

Following its Brisbane season, Emerald City will play at the Southbank Theatre in Melbourne from 6 March – 18 April, 2020.


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