Suburban Canberra, 1997: a world of cashed up university students, personifying the Australian dream of a bright future in a land of hope and opportunity. An abundance of recreational drugs, body obsession, extreme sense of entitlement and a rejection of traditional beliefs. Criminology takes the audience on a ride through a world where the slow and torturous death of a friend is just an interesting by-product of a Friday night dinner party.
Criminology is set in a world that is closed in or insular in Australia in the 1990s. The backdrop is the capitalist, hedonistic environment of the nation’s capital Canberra in the last throes of the millennium. Within this microcosm is a world of cashed up, young law students, many of them personifying the Australian immigrant dream of a brighter future in a land of hope and opportunity.
The play explores a world of the mind – the nightmare of that mind twisted by cultural dislocation, the absence of authority figures (particularly parents), drugs, body anxiety and a perverse form of romanticism. It is also a world of sex and drugs.
Young people away from their parents’ moral codes and beginning to play, being exposed to different ways of thinking about the world, pushing boundaries, experimentation. The work explores how those things impact upon and create certain situations and an environment.
Criminology is the story of a dinner party where a person threatened to take their own life and to ‘take someone with them’, yet no one intervened. It is a fictionalised ride through the mindset that permitted this tragic tale to unfold, a mindset in which the slow death of a friend is just an interesting by-product of a dinner party on a fateful Friday night.
2007: World Premiere
Melbourne: Merlyn Theatre – CUB Malthouse, Arena Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre (3- 19 August)
Director Rosemary Myers
Writers Lally Katz and Tom Wright
Cast Gemma Cavoli, Jing-Xuan Chan, Simon Maiden, Bojana Novakovic, Luke Ryan, Hazem Shammas, Samantha Tolj
Design Anna Tregloan
Video Design Director Peter Brundle
Video Design Chris More
Lighting Design Paul Jackson
Composition Jethro Woodward
Dramaturgy Louise Gough
Assistant Director Chris Kohn
Movement Consultant Luke George
Technical Design Richard Dinnen
Parental Guidance Advised