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A night. A storm. A raging ocean.
Hamed Mokri stands on a tiny wooden boat on high and stormy seas, cradling his small daughter as he journeys to find them a place of Hope and Possibility.
Meanwhile; an Angel of Death hovers nearby; conjuring up all its powers to send them both to the very bottom of this unknown sea - silent, and black, and endless.
Written in response to Tony Abbott’s infamous comment, “Jesus knew there was a place for everything, and it’s not everyone’s place to come to Australia”, The Sound of Waiting is a powerfully poetic allegory for our times, exploring displacement, resilience and hope in a world that has closed its doors on humanity.
“The Sound of Waiting should be on every stage in every city and town of Australia.”– Real Time.
“â€¦luscious, savage, corrosive, pulsating with action and yet also graced with high lyrical poise and astonishing beauty. The Sound of Waiting is an utterly compelling work that takes your breath away almost unbearably." – NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Judges
Mary Anne Butler is a multi-award winning writer from the Northern Territory. Her play Broken won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Literature and Drama.
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Male | Unspecified | 5 to 10 minutes
Starts on page 3
EXTRACT: Eardrums ripped from my head. Teeth flying past me. Hair and eyeballs. Sinew and cartilage. Limbs and hands and fingers and toes, cartwheeling through the air. A river of blood, running down my street. My wifeâ€™s head scarf flies past me. Red. Soaked. Still wrapped around herâ€¦ jaw? â€¦herâ€¦ cheekbone? What part of her is this? I donâ€™t even know. Pieces of my wife, flying down my street. And other body parts, of other people. The flesh and skin of strangers, mixed in with my wife. And I donâ€™t want to look. Donâ€™t want to see. Want to close my eyes forever. â€¦but I must lookâ€¦Adult themes
Male | Unspecified | 5 to 10 minutes
Starts on page 10
EXTRACT: We drive for sixteen hours; through small towns and villages. Down pot-holed roads of possibility. Finally the driver lets us out at a small dirty airstrip, where we get on a half broken plane. Rust in the metal, bolt missing from the wing. The outside air pours in on us as we taxi for takeoff. My daughter shouts out: Weâ€™re flying! Weâ€™re flying! I explain to her about the logic of flight; the physics of it - and she says No Baba; flying is magic, not physics. â€¦and thereâ€™s a part of me which thinks yes; in this plane it is indeed magicâ€¦
Non-binary | Unspecified | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 5
EXTRACT: Outside the exosphere, cosmic dust whispers down like rain. Dark nebulae build: dense. Impervious. A tiny flash of blinding light heralds the birth of a new star. The deepest of deep space still simmers with life. Plummet down, down through the thermosphere air so thin, breath is vacuumed from my lungs.
Non-binary | Unspecified | Unspecified
Starts on page 15
EXTRACT: The air hums thick with us: clouds of winged death, soaring through the skies. Shift of air tells me weâ€™re near. The stench of humans: onions and meat and rancid sweat. And there he is. Assignment in my sights. Male. Widowed. Last surviving son. The Sole Prospect for his struggling family: The fittest. The smartest. The hardest working. The golden egg of chance, ringed by a yolk of hope. Standing on a boat festered by salt and age and neglect, splintered hull barely rising above the waterline. Bobbing on the brine like a decomposing heart.
"...it suggests that our capacity for compassion might be greater than even we know. It reminds us to care." - Cassie Tongue
"One superbly created story provoking compassion for all." - Judith Greenaway
"The consequences of war, as we see here, are undoubtedly bleak, but more significant is the playâ€™s implication that compassion has become a challenge of our times, and although pervasive and banal, our cruelty is deplorable and deeply shameful." - Suzi Wrong
"The Sound of Waiting should be on every stage in every city and town in Australia." - Kaye Hall
"...an engaging insight into the experiences of people who have had to flee their homelands, reminding people that for most it is a major decision and filled with anxiety and fear as they put their lives into other people's hands." - Jade Kops
Knock-em-Down Theatre and Brownâ€™s Mart Productions, 2017
Mary Anne Butler and Osamah Sami speak with Kate O'Toole in the rehearsal room.