The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race by Melanie Tait

RECOMMENDED FOR: Senior Secondary Students, Tertiary Students

A PLAY TO: read, read aloud, study, perform excerpts and scenes, use as a stimulus for creating, produce

CAST: 5F ranging in age from late 30s to early 70s

STYLES: Drama, comedy, realism

THEMES AND CONCEPTS: Feminism, gender equality, diversity, social media, social justice, some use of coarse language, some references to alcohol and smoking.

CURRICULUM LINKS: The Arts – Drama, Theatre Studies, Senior Drama, English/Literacy

SYNOPSIS: In the tidy town of Appleton, things are just so. Men are men, women are women, and vegetables are not cake … and that’s the way it’s always been. That is, until prodigal daughter Penny returns from the big smoke to set up shop as the local GP.

Penny was always something of an outsider. While she was off getting educated and travelling the world, the good folk of Appleton kept about their business — living hard and working harder and trying not to stuff things up too much before each year’s great event, the famous Appleton Potato Race. Penny never much cared about the potato race, but when she discovers that the men’s prize is five times more than the women’s, she suddenly does care. A lot. And she’s determined to do something about it. Melanie Tait’s sparkling comedy The Appleton Ladies’ Potato Race pits social justice against community cohesion in a race to be right. With a sackful of appealing characters, Tait’s dry humour and warm embrace of humanity will have you laughing all the way to the finish line.

STAGING: The play incorporates a range of locations within the town of Appleton so a simple set may work best. One of the original productions used some iconic ‘Australian’ props such as a rusty ute, sacks of potatoes and a Big Potato. Considering how the transitions could be staged eg using sound, music, movement is another way to explore the world of the play.

We acknowledge that we live and create on unceded lands. We pay our respects to the First Peoples of Australia, and to their elders past, present and future.

© Australian Plays Transform 2024