Updated: Dec 7, 2021
Written by Nathan Maynard
Directed by Liza-Mare Syron
NIDA End of Year Production 2021
What would possibly go wrong?
On a little piece of Australian coastal perfection ‘God’s Country’, three groups of travellers descend to celebrate Australia Day or Invasion Day, depending on your persuasion.
We have Sandy (Shaw Cameron) and his younger Indigenous wife Jazz (Mema Munro), who have been celebrating each Australia Day here for over 30 years by playing a celebratory cricket match with mates on the Beach.
We have Ricky (Ari Maza Long), a young Indigenous man who believes country (this beach) has called him home. Ricky has brought two homeless mates with him, Mossy (Connor Reilly) with whom he has a love/hate relationship (they are either embracing of fighting about why Ricky gets the hand-outs and Mossy’s white foster-home background doesn’t give him equal rights) and Two Bob (Riley McNamara), a veteran who has a disconcerting habit of holding a gun - from his weapon containing knapsack - to his own head when very drunk and maudlin.
Did I mention this is a comedy?
Then we have hipster Rusty (Alyona Popova) and her African refugee boyfriend Baako (Adolphus Waylee). Rusty is so woke she is almost sleepless, and is for-ever referring to her 'inter-racial' relationship. She takes it as a sign of indigenous Jazz’s brain-washing that Jazz is happy to celebrate Australia Day with Sandy and his mates. One of the high points in the play is our cool girl taking Jazz’s hands and making her repeat ‘Always was. Always will be.’ while Jazz's jaw drops in disbelief. All this while Baako (Rusty's boyfriend), just wants Rusty to drop the inter-racial adjectives, preferring to have a plain-old relationship with her without the politicisation.
Suffice to say, 'God’s Country' draws out all those resentments, notions of entitlement, political trendiness, emotional pain-points and psychological triggers that you can imagine exist within this collection of humans; some completely expected and a number that will surprise you.
‘God’s Country’ does its best to break through the delineation of the characters portrayed so we can see the warmth of the many other bonds that exist between random groups of people.
Who gets to celebrate on the beach on 26 January is to be decided by a cricket match and guess who cheats?