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The Sound of Waiting

"The power of empathy is greater than the power of death," says playwright Mary Anne Butler as she premieres her powerful new play The Sound of Waiting.

Butler wrote the script after reading a quote from Tony Abbott, which led her to delve into the void of empathy she felt lay at the heart of Australia’s refugee policies.

“He said, ‘Jesus knew there was a place for everything and it’s not necessarily everyone’s place to come to Australia’. It made me so, so angry. Here’s a man using his Christian religion to justify turning people away, not allowing people into the country of safety, when their lives are in danger.”

The play follows refugee Hamed Mokri as he stands on a wooden fishing boat on high seas, cradling his small daughter. An angel of death, hovering above the scene, ponders ways to send him to the bottom of the ocean.

“The angel of death represents government policy and the Australian people,” says Butler. 

“The angel of death is there waiting for the boat and the angel is there to make sure Hamed dies.”

Butler is thrilled that award-winning writer Osamah Sami is playing Hamed, after she read his book Good Muslim Boy while researching the play.

Directed by frequent collaborator Gail Evans, this production comes off a tremendous professional year for the Darwin playwright, with her play Broken winning major literary and theatre awards in Victoria and NSW.

In a world where conflict has cast millions adrift and the moral compass is going shakily south, Butler says she wants people to come away thinking.

“What can I do in my limited capacity as a human being to make the world a better place?”

Tue 25 Jul (preview) – Sun 6 Aug | Brown's Mart

See the event listing. 

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