Fall play will tell story of British convicts

By Erica Pandey

The cast of the fall play has begun rehearsing for the production of Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker. The play, set in colonial Sydney, tells the true story of British convicts that were sent to live in Australia and, while there, put on a production of George Farquhar’s “The Recruiting Officer.”

Our Country’s Good can be an especially engaging piece of theatre,” said Director Mark Lindberg. “It wrestles with interesting political questions while offering demanding roles, a challenging but doable set and costume possibilities, and two hours of thought-provoking entertainment.”

Mr. Lindberg also commented on the uplifting qualities of the show, describing it as “upbeat, positive, [and] life affirming, or at least as much as any play about flogging, hanging, prostitution, and brutality can be.”

Aaron Orbey ’14, who plays marine-turned-director Lt. Ralph Clark, agreed with Mr. Lindberg’s interpretation of the play. “The show’s edgy, punchy. Ralph’s a cool dude,” he said. “It’ll receive mixed reviews, as the shows usually do with the student body, but the sex scenes should help some. There are a lot. The show is filled with sex, but it’s not about sex. It’s about art, culture.”

The play opens aboard a ship headed to colonize Australia. By Wenli Bao.

The cast, portraying the British royal officers and convicts of the Australian penal colony, consists of 21 sophomores, juniors, and seniors. A crew of eight students, working in costume and set design, joins them.

Maxine Phoenix ’14 plays Mary Brenham, a young prostitute.

“Mary has such an interesting dynamic to her: she’s a paradox, a virginal whore. It’ll be difficult but fun to slip into her skin. I’m excited about this show,” she said.

According to Alison Saparoff ’13, who is working as a stage manager for the production, “[Our Country’s Good] will be intriguing because it’s a very funny show that deals with terrible subject matter.”

Our Country’s Good opens with a matinée on Thursday, November 15, followed by two evening shows over the weekend. The show will be the first of the 2012-2013 school year’s three productions.

Reflecting upon last year’s productions, Mr. Lindbergh said, “I think ‘Our Country’s Good’ nicely complements last year’s offerings of the Cherry Orchard, Do I Hear a Waltz, and the Caryl Churchill pieces of the spring.”

Featured photo: Erica Pandey ’13, Tom Chu ’15, and Andrew Schneider ’14 play navy officers. By Wenli Bao

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