Kicking off the season in June will be Chameleon by Adelaide performer Britt Plummer, who won an Adelaide Fringe Emerging Artist award for an earlier iteration of the Hew Parham-directed show in 2019. After a year that has seen Plummer take Chameleon to Perth and Edinburgh Fringes, the onetime solo show will return to Adelaide transformed (chameleonlike, perhaps?) into a bigger ensemble work.
September will bring a double bill of single act plays in Peter Beaglehole’s Strata, and Piri Eddy’s Forgiveness, which won the 2020 Jill Blewett Playwright’s Award at this Year’s Adelaide Festival Literature Awards. “They’re both two local, award-winning plays back to back with a really strong local cast,” Jelk says. “The plays both speak to each other about our relationship to landscape, and redemption.”
Butterfly Kicks, a new play from emerging local playwright Jamila Main and directed by Teddy Dunn, will premiere at Rumpus in October with a young cast that includes Maiah Stewardson (Girl Asleep, The View From The Bridge) and Shabana Azeez (The Wolves).“It’s a story about queer self-discovery, and a teenage rom com with a very broad appeal. It’s had some readings here and interstate which have all been very successful, so we’re excited premiere it here.”
Adelaide-Sydney duo Ladylike Theatre Collective will pick up on complementary themes of sexuality and womanhood with their new play How To Kill Your Hamster, which riffs on rape culture, bodily autonomy and Sex and the City from the vantage point of a Thebarton sharehouse, its residents and their pets. “This play sounds really hilarious, every act is a different house party,” Jelk explains.
“I really love this idea of exploring body autonomy through the lens of pet ownership, and looking at these housemates exploring their own sexuality alongside their relationships with their pets, and their pets’ own autonomy. We think it’s going to be quite a fun show, and very much in the ‘Rumpus world’.”
Ezra Juanta’s (Rumpelstiltskin) Blood, Sweat & Karaoke will round out the main program, with a story that explores the sense of cultural dislocation felt by its first generation Filipino Australian protagonist, directed by Tim Overton (The 39 Steps) with design by Jonathan Oxlade. “[Juanta] has had this project brewing for a long time,” Jelk says. “It’s almost like a cabaret, with all the karaoke.”
While announcing a season of new theatre at a time when most programs are being cancelled en masse is stressful, Jelk (who was set to direct a now-cancelled production of Emily Steel’s Euphoria for the State Theatre Company in May) says the Rumpus community is trying to take the current arts crisis in its stride.