Both Professor Michael Morley (a Kiwi musical maestro) and Professor Justin Labrooy (a Sri Lankan medical specialist) were captivated by the Belvoir production of Counting & Cracking created by the playwright Suntharalingam Shakthidharan which has been one of the highlights of the ongoing ADELAIDE FESTIVAL.
What’s this? An Australian epic without bushfires or drought? S. Shakthidharan, a Western Sydney-based playwright devoted to the motherlode of stories that lie beneath our dominant myths, has fused his family’s experiences with those of other Sri Lankans to create this sweeping new Australian play. Produced by the award-winning Belvoir, Counting and Cracking has been many years in the making, with sixteen actors from five countries playing four generations of a family, from Colombo to Pendle Hill.
On the banks of Sydney’s Georges River, Radha and her son Siddhartha release the ashes of Radha’s mother – their final connection to the past, to Sri Lanka and its struggles. Now free to embrace their lives in Australia, a phone call from Colombo brings the past spinning back to life, and we are plunged into a heart-rending story of reconciliation within families, across countries, across generations. It’s a journey that will deepen your understanding of how a country can descend into violence and how a country can be a place of healing and hope; a tension between head-cracking rebellion and head-counting civility.
Part thriller, part love story, part domestic drama and part diaspora saga to rival Exodus, this is theatre on a magisterial scale.
- Matthew Westwood: “The Suntharalingam Family’s Journey: Sri Lanka to Australia,” 10 January 2019, https://thuppahis.com/2019/01/10/the-suntharalingam-familys-journey-sri-lanka-to-australia/
- Suntharalingam: Eylom: Beginnings of the Freedom Struggle, Colombo, 1967
- Steve Dow: “Counting and Cracking …,” https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2019/jan/17/counting-and-cracking-the-story-behind-belvoir-street-theatres-most-ambitious-play-to-date?fbclid=IwAR1ZT8KYI9Icr_vs0kK2VKcya4ITt9mNPaTxs28q-Rdbe3LDo08b6EYSLY0