Wateris a timely new work written by Jane Bodie, staged by Black Swan. Director Emily McLean characterises it as “a play about two urgent current issues, immigration and the environment, in the guise of a family kitchen-sink drama.” The bulk of the piece deals with a former Minister for Immigration who has retired to his increasingly parched beach-house located on what appears to be a slightly fantastic version of Christmas Island. Hoping to enjoy a family birthday, his daughters instead tear strips off him, while the partner of his left-wing, hippy daughter is an illegal immigrant from Africa.

Richard Maganga and Igor Sas in  Water. Photo © Daniel J Grant 

In act two, the detailed naturalistic set is stripped away to produce a sparser setting. Within pools of light on a plain wooden expanse, we follow the misfortunes of a pair of aged white Australians detained at New York’s Ellis Island following the tightening of US immigration policy. This is followed by a still more intimate scene, where a Pacific Island cane cutter informs the white daughter of his former employer that he is to be deported. Following Federation, Queensland’s practice of luring...

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