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Aussie premiere of Dry Land

Play presents stunning portrait

of young female friendship

Highly acclaimed companies, Outhouse Theatre Co and Mad March Hare, join forces to present the Australian premiere of Dry Land, the riveting play by much-heralded newcomer Ruby Rae Spiegel.

The play, that has created a huge stir amongst critics and audiences across the U.S. and London, will have its Australian premiere at the Kings Cross Theatre (KXT) from July 28.

Patricia Pemberton and Sarah Meacham in Dry Land. Photoc 2 by Michael Booth

Patricia Pemberton and Sarah Meacham in Dry Land. Photo by Michael Booth

Written when Spiegel was just twenty-one, it’s a deeply truthful portrait of the fears, hopes and bonds of teenage girls — as gut-wrenching as it is funny.

In their ‘critic’s pick’ review, The New York Times called Dry Land “tender, caustic, funny and harrowing, often all at the same time.” Spiegel is a rising star on the American theatre landscape.

Dry Land was shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and spurred Ben Brantley, chief theatre critic of The New York Times, to ask, “What is it about very young women in the theatre these days, and whatever it is, can it be bottled?”

“Few things are as bracing as the shock of new talent. In 10 years… you’ll be able to say you were there for Ruby Rae Spiegel’s first full-length play,” according to the New York Post.

Ester is a swimmer trying to stay afloat. Amy is curled up on the locker room floor.

Dry Land is a play about female intimacy, abortion and resiliency. And, what happens in one high school locker room after everybody’s left.

Inspiration for the play came from a 2012 article in New Republic called ‘The Rise of DIY Abortions’.

“I was really shocked,” Spiegel said in an interview. “This article looked at how American abortion rights are being rolled back: clinics are disappearing and young women across America have to resort to these self- abortion means.”

But it was a brief pregnancy scare that led to the more emotional core of the play – “That feeling of intense aloneness in your own body—that you are the only one that can do anything about this – and it is just in you. That stuck with me.”

While Spiegel does not flinch in her exploration of these themes in Dry Land, she has written a play that, at its core, is about connection, loyalty and love.

“It takes Spiegel’s simple, fierce play to put a young woman’s capacity for pain center stage—and the choice feels thrilling, even political,” Time Out New York.

Acclaimed director, Claudia Barrie (Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo, Belleville, Shivered) directs an ensemble cast of exciting, emerging newcomers to the Sydney theatre scene: Sarah Meacham (The Laden Table), Patricia Pemberton (recent ACA grad), Michelle Ny (Top Of The Lake) and Charles Upton (The Little Dog Laughed).

“Every now and then you come across the play that leaves you reeling,” says Barrie. “… excited, shocked and moved by the ideas, possibilities and story that you have read or seen. This is one of those plays.”

On her desire to direct Dry Land, she adds that, “Rarely have I come across a female story told with such empathy, honesty and complexity. We watch these vulnerable, complicated young girls navigate their insecurities, fears and flaws. It captures female adolescence on the cusp of change with hilarious, harrowing and profoundly moving authenticity. I don’t think Sydney has seen a play quite like Dry Land.”

With combined production credits such as The Aliens, 4 Minutes 12 Seconds, BU21, Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo, Belleville and Shivered, this unique collaboration between two of Sydney’s leading independent companies promises to deliver an exciting experience to The KXT.

See Dry Land at the Kings Cross Theatre July 28 to August 19. The official opening night is August 1.

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