The most provocative work of STC’s 2015 Season, Boys will be boys makes us confront our own ideas of what it is to be a man, what it is to be a woman, and what women need to do to survive and thrive in a man’s world.
Women and power and sexism
Boys will be boys was written by a woman, directed by a woman and the cast are all women. As Melanie Tait of Radio National said: “This shouldn’t be something that makes theatrical headlines in 2015, but it still does; it’s such a rarity.”
Currently showing in its world premiere season at Wharf 2 Theatre, Boys will be boys confronts gender politics head on in more ways than one. Playwright Melissa Bubnic’s lead characters are currency traders, ‘brave and ballsy’ female chauvinists. They’re smart, ruthless and will do anything for success in the boys club that is the trading floor.
The audience are thrust into the boardroom to witness Astrid Wentworth (Danielle Cormack) and her protégé Priya Sengupta (Sophia Roberts) in the throes of negotiating the macho power structures of the finance world. These women are hungry for power and wealth in a way that is usually reserved for depictions of alpha males.
Director Paige Rattray says: “The gender politics in the play suck you in, they are complicated, unapologetic and make you continually question yourself.”
“The play is bold, brash and doesn't pull its punches. The dialogue is cracking and the female roles in the play are layered, powerful and always surprising.”
The humour is black and the banter is blue
“We’re used to seeing despicable men behaving badly. What we’re not used to seeing is despicable women behaving like men – and that’s what this play is.”
Some might be shocked to know that much of the anti-politically correct detail and dialogue in the play is non-fiction. While researching the play, Melissa Bubnic interviewed many women and men working in the finance industry. Many of the profane colloquialisms that made it into the script are taken directly from real-life events experienced in the workplace by her interviewees.
Delve deeper … Paige Rattray speaks to previous Richard Wherrett Fellow Imara Savage about Boys will be boys in the below video.
Break it down
If you're on a deadline, skip ahead to:
1:37 the music and songs of Boys will be boys
2:23 on empathising with flawed characters
3:12 the gender politics of the play and being a female director
Paige Rattray is STC’s 2015 Richard Wherrett Fellow, which has given her plenty of opportunity to spend time at the Wharf and work with our Literary Manager Polly Rowe, who has been dramaturg on the play. Paige will be back later in 2015 as an Assistant Director on Arms and the Man with Richard Cottrell and Orlando with Sarah Goodes.
Imara Savage is a previous Richard Wherrett Fellow, who recently directed After Dinner (2015) and Machinal (2013) here at the Wharf.
Boys will be boys, 16 Apr - 9 May 2015, Wharf 2 Theatre