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Cusp

On the cusp of  adulthood you’re faced with many choices. Some are easy to make, others, not so much.

Mary Anne Butlers’ award-winning play, Cusp, explores the lives of three Territory teens each facing life-changing choices. Rosie, 18, needs to choose between living on community or pursuing her academic talents. 17-year-old Elvis is faced with a life and death choice. And Maddie, 16, needs to decide if she’s ready to become a mother.

To write the play, developed in partnership with the Australia Theatre for Young People, Butler looked back at her own experiences in her late teens. 

“I cast myself back to my own teenage years and I thought the hardest part of those years was having to make adult choices when I wasn’t necessary prepared to make them,” she says.

“I had a pretty cushy life compared to these three young people – the stakes are a lot higher for them – and if they make the wrong choice, the consequences are a lot greater.”

The play explores how people make choices, and how much choice people really have given their circumstances.

“The play deals quite a bit with what fate throws at you. As the character Elvis says ‘some people get better choices to choose from’.

"Some people are more privileged than others in terms of their life journey, and some people are dealt a rotten card to deal with the best they can,” Butler says.

During the development, Butler spoke with many teens about their lives and the challenges they face, and was surprised to discover how different the experience is for young people today, compared to her own youth.

“I got a sense that the weight of the world is a lot heavier on the shoulders of this generation compared to mine,” she says.

“My generation in Australia was still the lucky generation. The chances of us getting a house and a job in our career were far easier – I literally finished an arts degree and walked in to a job. I think that is quite different today and (young people) are still held up to the idea of the great Australia dream, but the reality is, their dreams have to be very different.”

“My hope is that young people get some hope out of the play, even though it’s a bit bleak.”

The production, directed by Fraser Corfield, has a crew of talented young people who are mentored on stage and behind the scenes. After its season at Brown’s Mart, Cusp will have a season at the Griffin Theatre in Sydney and Riverside Theatre in Paramatta in early 2020.

Cusp TUE 22 OCT - SAT 2 NOV  7PM | BROWN’S MART THEATRE | $15 - $35 | brownsmart.com.au

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