SteamWorks Arts Presents The Return Of Savage Grace – Exploring Love, Loss, Euthanasia And HIV/AIDS

In celebration of SteamWorks Arts (Perth) 21st anniversary, the company is bringing back to the stage their inaugural award-winning production ‘Savage Grace’.

'Savage Grace' in 2001 - Image © Jon Green

The original cast and creative team are revisiting this powerful production from esteemed Australian playwright Alana Valentine. The show stars Humphrey Bower and Gibson Nolte.

‘Savage Grace’ is a timely provocation given the current COVID climate – with Valentine writing a contemporary update as the characters experience the ‘new’ pandemic of COVID-19 while reflecting on 20 years of love, loss and their experience of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Dr Tex Cladakis (Nolte), an American HIV specialist, meets bioethics professor Robert Bavaro (Bower). They clash over ethical issues, but despite – or perhaps because of – this, develop a passionate sexual affair between them. Moral ground shifts and stakes escalate as Dr Cladakis considers assisting the suicide of one of his terminally ill patients, and the trust and love growing between the two men is threatened.

“It is a real first in having the same cast take on the same play 20 years later. What was a budding, passionate love affair and an ideological debate between two men in their 20s and 30s becomes a very different emotional frame when the characters are in their forties and fifties, where the stakes may be even higher, and the positions more entrenched,” Director Sally Richardson says.

“I think it’s wonderful to see love and relationship explored by characters (and actors) who are more mature potentially offering the play access to a wider audience demographic as we invite the audience to reflect on two very different  points of view of euthanasia.”

The reprisal of ‘Savage Grace’ in a sense reflects the 21-year story of SteamWorks.

“I can look back and feel proud of our legacy; new works and programs that have championed and supported the careers of many WA artists, new writing exploring contemporary forms and genres, the choice to actively support independent theatre and contemporary dance projects, while proactively working in partnership with women in all areas of the company’s process and practice.”

‘Savage Grace’ plays State Theatre Centre Of WA 11-14 August.


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