The harsh reality of migration, a mother’s unconditional love for her son, power, money, and the human struggle for survival are just some of the themes featured in Ironbound, which will have its Australian premiere next week.
The play is brought to the stage by Q44, the theatre company behind last year’s successful performance NK: A Kazantzakian Montage, an exploration of the life and work of acclaimed writer Nikos Kazantzakis.
Melbourne audiences will be treated to the work of a recently acclaimed artist, this time with Maryna Majok, Ironbound”s playwright having just won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her latest work, Cost of Living.
Ironbound (the title refers to a neighbourhood in Newark, New Jersey) tells the story of Darja, a Polish immigrant who left her home country in the early 1990s with her husband, Maks, in pursuit of ‘the American dream’.
Struggling to get by as a cleaning lady in a run-down New Jersey town, she is soon bound to realise this is not the dream she had imagined.
Over the course of 22 years, and three relationships, Darja negotiates for her future with men who can offer her love or security, but never both.
“This is a play about redemption, not in a grandiose way, but in a way which many people will identify with. To gain insight into oneself is the most potent enabler of redemption, because through this real change is possible,” says director Suzanne Heywood.
The lead role is played by Gabriella Rose-Carter, founder and artistic director of Q44, while the cast includes Anthony Scundi (Maks), Will Atkinson (Vic) as well as beloved Greek Australian actor Alex Tsitsopoulos in the role of Tommy, Darja’s boyfriend.
With over 15 years of professional experience, despite his young age, Tsitsopoulos is known for his work both in popular TV productions, such as Neighbours and The Slap, and independent theatre.
Last year, after performing a revival of Hotel Bonegilla by Tess Lyssiotis during La Mama Theatre’s 50th anniversary, he went on to portray Nikos Kazantzakis for the Q44 production at Gasworks Theatre.
Most recently, Tsitsopoulos secured a role in the crime drama Tidelands, the first Australian original Netflix series and of course enjoys the full support of his Q44 colleagues in this endeavour.
After all, one of the theatre company’s core aspirations is to develop an artist-driven environment for members to continue to learn and grow in, whilst “creating stimulating, thought-provoking and accessible theatre”.
Ironbound is not only Q44’s inaugural 2018 play, but also the first production hosted in their new space in the Abbotsford Convent Arts Precinct, after securing a tenancy and government grant.
Opening night: 16 May at 8.00 pm
Season: 16 May – 3 June
Performance times: Tues-Sat 8.00 pm, Sun 6.00 pm
Venue: Q44 Theatre, Abbotsford Convent, Sacred Heart Building, 1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford, VIC