Play explores complexities

November 3, 2023 BY

Emily Madison McKenna (front) and Ali Cruickshank (back) play the inner dialogue of the production's lead characters. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A dramatic and emotional production tackling abusive and manipulative relationships opens to audiences this month.

Presented by the Geelong-based Someone New Theatre Company, Why They Stay is an exploration of domestic violence and the tactics used to stop victims from leaving abusive relationships.

Writer and director Sindi Renea hoped the production will be educational.

“This is not about pointing fingers at anyone, it’s about showing that as a society, we have allowed gendered stereotypes to internally repress all genders,” she said.

“I am in some ways thankful that not everyone understands the power cycles of abuse and control. It means that there are still people that have never experienced these situations.

“But that view is a bystander doing nothing about those trapped in these cycles. You help no-one by asking why they don’t leave.”

Why They Stay brings together a talented cast and crew, comprising creatives from Geelong, Melbourne and Ballarat and follows the development of a romantic relationship between lead characters, Annabelle and Lincoln.

It is a relationship characterised by jealousy, manipulation and violence.

Separate characters play Annabelle and Lincoln’s inner dialogue to illustrate their true feelings and the nature of their relationship.

“It began with a thought; how do you explain to people that what a victim of family violence says, is not always what they are thinking,” Ms Renea said.

“If you could see and hear what is really happening inside a victim’s head – the self-doubt and blame, the way words of others tear away at self-worth.

“If you only knew what a perpetrator was really trying to control.”

Ms Renea hopes the production will be an eye-opening experience and help audiences both begin to understand the complexities of these relationships and consider how to provide security to victims seeking ways to leave.

“If it educates, if those that see it talk about the message and educate others, it has served its purpose, she said.”

Why They Stay opened at Eastern Hub Geelong yesterday (Thursday, November 2) and will run until November 12.

To purchase tickets, head to trybooking.com/CLKTH

The production is restricted to adults (18+) due to its depictions of domestic violence and abuse. Someone New Theatre Company strongly advise against anyone attending that may be triggered by the show’s content for their safety.

If you or someone you know needs family or domestic violence support, head to safvcentre.org.au or phone their 24/7 family violence hotline on 1800 015 188 or their sexual assault crisis hotline on 1800 806 292. You can also head to 1800respect.org.au or phone them on 1800 737 732. If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 000.

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