A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR
Oriel Gray is a great Australian writer whose work deserves an audience today and we are so proud to be bringing The Torrents to Perth. This is only its second professional production (the first and only, until now, was in 1996). The legend of this play is that it was the one that got away, it was joint winner of a prestigious playwriting award in 1955. The Torrents and Summer of the Seventeenth Doll shared first prize. Many of you will have joined us in this very theatre for Summer of the Seventeenth Doll last year, many of you would have seen it before and perhaps studied it at school or uni. But have you heard of The Torrents? Well that’s all about to change. We hope that you’ll find it searingly relevant in its themes – workplace gender politics, mining versus sustainable environmental practices and the power of money to corrupt truth in our media.
In the 1940s Oriel spent time in Kalgoorlie, which has inspired the fictional town of Koolgalla and the character of Kingsley bares some remarkable resemblances to our local hero C.Y.O’Connor. The play itself is a period piece, set in the late 1890s. We’re thrilled to bring you this local story that we believe should always have been a classic. It’s a fabulous melodrama full of big ideas and eccentric characters. As a team, we’ve approached it with the same fun and playfulness that a group of theatre makers would approach a new work. My heartfelt thanks to the team of The Torrents, the team of Black Swan and to Oriel’s family for keeping Oriel’s legacy at the heart of this production.
And thank you to the women who have walked the difficult path before us. This play is dedicated to the memory of Oriel Gray and I’d also like to dedicate it to my own Grandma, Margaret Watson, who is a contemporary of Oriel’s, she is one of the smartest, most dynamic and strongest women that I know.
Emily Rose Brennan and Celia Pacquola pictured in rehearsals. By Philip Gostelow.