As soon as Counting and Crackingbegins, you know that you are watching something very different to most new Australian plays; and something very special. In a scene set on the Georges River in Western Sydney, a 21-year-old student called Siddhartha (Shiv Palekar) is somewhat reluctantly helping his mother Radha (Nadie Kammallaweera) release his grandmother’s ashes into the water, guided by a Hindu priest (Gandhi MacIntyre). The dialogue moves between Sanskrit and English, with the Sanskrit translated quickly and seamlessly by other actors perched on the side of the stage. At the same time, the scene is also laced with local humour from the very Australian sounding Sid, who lives in Coogee, rather than at Pendle Hill with his demanding Amma.

Nadie Kammallaweera and Gandhi MacIntyre. Photograph © Brett Boardman

It is 2004 and Radha has refused to speak to her son about why she left Sri Lanka in 1983 while pregnant with him. With her mother now dead, Radha finally feels free to face the future and briefly contemplates accepting an offer to go out on a date with Ismet (Hazem Shammas) a Lebanese man who comes to install an air...

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