A packed house turned out for the first night of Elena Carapetis’ new play inspired by the experiences of immigrants in Port Pirie after the Second World War.
After a brief introduction by various members of the cast in front of the sparse set, we meet the feisty Italian Assunta (Dina Panozzo), inducting new arrivals into her boarding house with a humorous mix of aggression and affection, her Greek friend Vasiliki (Deborah Galanos), proprietor of the local grocery store and single mother of the kindly Yianni (Philippos Ziakas), and meek young teacher Agnes (Elizabeth Hay).
Next to arrive is Vito (Renato Musolino), an Italian man fresh off the boat and struggling with English. Assunta teases and cajoles him into revealing a little of his story which includes the fact that he is about to be married in Italy with his brother standing in as proxy.
The arrival of the mysterious Anna (Eugenia Fragos), a Greek woman who also speaks Italian, adds a darker tone as the story becomes more complex.
Carapetis’ use of Italian and Greek language throughout the play (with subtitles) adds layers of meaning, especially for bilingual audience members. The ways in which all of the characters have found ways to survive and support each other, even across cultural groups, acknowledges the power of the human spirit to connect in times of need.
Olivia Freear’s costumes beautifully evoke the era and the set by Victoria Lamb subtly but effectively underscores the poverty many immigrants experienced at this time.
The performance was met with a rousing standing ovation and Carapetis was summoned to the stage by the cast to take a bow (sans shoes)!
The Gods of Strangers
Until December 2