Plays That Challenge Us

The following post was written during the production of Cloudstreet which ran during May 2022.

Going to the theatre serves many purposes. Escape. Entertainment. Reflection.
Coming to see Cloudstreet will make you feel emotions. It will challenge you. It
will encourage you to learn a bit more about Australian history.
Cloudstreet deals with some pretty heavy issues, during the 1940’s to the 1960’s
which are still issues today. The difference is how we deal with them today.
There is an eating disorder and the anguish and anger that it causes the
character’s family is something that families can relate to, to this day. There’s no
hiding, just outright talking about the character’s skinniness which, for the time,
you can imagine them doing. In a post-war world, the idea of choosing not to eat
must have been such a complicated and confusing concept.
Slurs towards race and mental ability are completely unnecessary as
well as unkind. Every country has an ugly past and Cloudstreet touches on this
ugly past with some of the language used. It was how people were spoken to and
about, back then. Is it right?. Did people deserve this language? However to not
include it, to not use the language of the time would prove we have learnt
nothing. The fact that this language affects us means we’ve grown. The fact that
we hate this language means we’ve evolved and that is a powerful thing.
Death is never an easy topic to discuss. There is so much hurt, pain, tragedy and
it should be handled with delicacy and care. There are several moments of death
and mentions of suicide in Cloudstreet that are handled with tenderness and a
gentleness that are an asset to the cast and director.
The old adage that sex sells, works for film, does it work for theatre? It can be a
very difficult thing to portray, nervous actors, shocked audiences, how to do it
artistically and confidently… Cloudstreet has handled these scenes in various
ways- with humour, with creativity and with artistic beauty.
Theatre has the magical ability to turn words into a performance that you won’t
forget. It is a duty of a theatre company to stay true to the words the playwright
has spun. Sometimes swear words are used because it works. It’s appropriate for
the time or place or character or scene. As an audience, please don’t be
offended. The writer chose those words for a reason and the team must respect
those wishes.
Don’t let sensitive issues deter you from seeing theatre. Writers challenge us so
history does not repeat itself. Important issues need to be spoken about, ideas
need to be shared and history must be learnt from. Although Cloudstreet portrays
these issues, it’s to encourage us to grow as humans.
If you have been triggered by any issues discussed here please visit:


MensLine Australia

Written by Angela Pezzano

Angela Pezzano has appeared in multiple plays during her time at Glenbrook Players. She also a playwright and recently directed a reading of her own work Behind Closed Doors with the Glenbrook Players.

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