Playwright Michael Gow’s “Once In Royal David’s City”, a life-affirming story about family, loss, purpose, politics, and art, is coming to Brisbane for the very first time.
In the play, theatre director Will is planning to share a restful Christmas season in northern New South Wales with his recently-widowed mother.
But she falls ill, and during a bedside vigil, Will is forced to question his own life as the play moves from the fifties to the present, from West Berlin to Byron Bay.
Queensland Theatre’s Artistic Director Sam Strong is making his directorial debut with the play, and he’s bringing it to Brisbane for the first time later this month because it’s “the greatest play Queensland hasn’t seen yet.”
“Michael’s writing tackles challenging material, dealing with the unenviable task of saying goodbye,” Strong said.
“What’s fantastic is that he is unafraid to dive into the profound existential crises that arise at such moments – daring to ask the biggest questions around what gives our lives meaning and how we recover from loss.”
But though that may sound like heavy-going, Strong said Once in Royal David’s City is “as entertaining as it is affecting or thought-provoking.”
“Michael has a uniquely gentle sense of humour and a compassion that shines through. He creates characters of such warmth and complexity that we cannot help but recognize ourselves in this deeply personal story,” he said.
“On top of all this, he is a writer with a wicked sense of invention. Once in Royal David’s City plays with our understanding of what it is to tell a story in the theatre in a way that forces us to pay attention as well as delights us.”
Brisbane star Jason Klarwein (“Macbeth”) leads the play’s ensemble cast, which also featuring Penny Everingham, Kaye Stevenson, Adam Booth, Toni Scanlan, Adam Sollis and Steve Turner.
Queensland Theatre’s Once In Royal David’s City will run from April 22 to May 14 in the Playhouse at the Queensland Performing Arts Center (QPAC). For tickets visit Queensland Theatre’s website.
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