LOS ANGELES — Two couples, a wet T-shirt competition — and one vast country. As a growing number of Australian retirees choose to continuously circumnavigate the world’s largest island in their caravans and RVs, a new comedy captures their unique spirit and sense of camaraderie. L.A.’s Australian Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Grey Nomad by Australian playwright Dan Lee in a visiting production at the Skylight Theatre. Directed by Iain Sinclair, Grey Nomad opens on Monday,Sept. 11.
“I first came into contact with the free range baby boomers that we refer to as ‘grey nomads’ a couple of years ago, when I was living in Broome,” explains Lee. “Every year, in the dry season, they would stream into town in their RVs and camper trailers. The town would go from 15,000 to 50,000 in just a couple of weeks. They’re a very funny and interesting bunch, people who’ve retired and dedicated the rest of their lives to just traveling in loops around Australia. This play is about two couples doing just that.”
David Ross Paterson (Saving Mr. Banks, ATC’s Ruben Guthrie) stars as Jim, who has waited his whole working life for this. He’s bought the camper and the folding chairs, packed the fishing gear and the BBQ; and the only question that now remains is which direction — clockwise or counter-clockwise? Jim’s wife, Helen (Ros Gentle – The People v. O. J. Simpson, upcoming Australian mini-series Picnic at Hanging Rock), is not quite as sure about just up and leaving her family and the life she spent so long creating. When the couple suddenly finds themselves traveling the same circuit as “glampers” Tim (Paul Tassone – Australian TV series All Saints, Home and Away, Underbelly, The Code) and his wild American wife, Val (Wendy Hammers – stand-up comedian,Curb Your Enthusiasm, host of spoken word salon and podcast “Tasty Words”), Jim just can’t relax. But for Helen, a whole new world of possibilities opens up.
“Dan writes with a very distinct Australian voice, but he’s created universal characters who everyone will recognize, relate to and laugh along with,”
says ATC co-founder and co-producer Nick Hardcastle.
“It’s a huge privilege to be the first company to produce not only this play, but any work by Dan Lee, who has a very bright future ahead of him.”
Dan Lee’s first play, Bottomless, received the R. E. Ross Trust award for an unproduced play in 2014. It was subsequently developed by Playwriting Australia, Red Stitch Actors Theatre and the Melbourne Theatre Company, and is scheduled for production next year at 45downstairs in Melbourne. He is also writing two new works for Red Stitch as part of their INK writers program.
Iain Sinclair is an award-winning director who specializes in new play development. He is an associate artist and resident dramaturg for Playwriting Australia, and maintains ongoing partnerships with many of Australia’s leading playwrights and international writers such as Stella Feheely and J.T Rogers. In his early career, Iain served as assistant director to Cate Blanchett, Jean Pierre-Mignon, Gale Edwards and Max Stafford Clark. Iain is also an accomplished educator who has taught at all levels from youth theater to post graduate lecturing. He is a graduate of King’s College in London and the RADA masters program.
The creative team for Grey Nomad includes scenic designer Se Oh, lighting designer Jared A. Sayeg, sound designer Cricket S. Myers and costume designer Kate Bergh. Jackie Diamond, Nick Hardcastle, Nate Jones and Joshua Thorburn produce for Australian Theatre Company.
Grey Nomad opens on Monday, Sept. 11 and continues through Oct. 8, with performances on Fridays at 8 p.m; Saturdays at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.; Sundays at 6 p.m.; and Mondays at 8 p.m. Two American Sign Language-interpreted performances will take place on Friday, Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 23 at 5 p.m. Tickets are $34 general admission and $39 for reserved seating. Grey Nomads (ages 55+) pay only $29. The Skylight Theatre is located at 1816 1/2 N Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 866-811-4111 or go to www.australiantheatrecompany.org.
Details for Calendar Listings
World premiere of Grey Nomad — L.A.’s Australian Theatre Company presents Dan Lee’s funny, engaging comedy about two retired couples who have dedicated their lives to RVing around Australia. It’s a comic road show that captures the unique sense of camaraderie and almost supernatural devotion to a lifestyle of perpetual circumnavigation led by the free range, baby boomers of Australia who call themselves “grey nomads.”
• Written by Dan Lee
• Directed by Iain Sinclair,
• Starring Ros Gentle, Wendy Hammers, David Ross Paterson, Paul Tassone
• Produced by Jackie Diamond, Nick Hardcastle, Nate Jones and Joshua Thorburn
• Presented by Australian Theatre Company
Performances Sept. 11 – Oct. 8:
• Mondays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 11 (Opening Night), Sept. 18, Sept. 25; Oct. 2
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 15*, Sept. 22, Sept. 29, Oct. 6
• Saturdays at 5 p.m.: Sept. 16, Sept. 23*, Sept. 30, Oct. 7
• Saturdays at 8:30 p.m.: Sept. 16, Sept. 23, Sept. 30, Oct. 7
• Sundays at 6 p.m.: Sept. 17, Sept. 24, Oct. 1, Oct. 8
* American Sign Language-interpreted performances will take place on Friday, Sept. 15 and Saturday, Sept. 23.
A visiting production at the
1816 1/2 N Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
• Reserved seating: $39
• General admission: $34
• Grey Nomads (ages 55+): $29