Toy Symphony by Michael Gow
Ad Astra Theatre Company presents
Toy Symphony by Michael Gow

18 Apr 2024 to 27 Apr 2024

Toy Symphony follows the journey of Roland Henning, a playwright suffering from dreaded ‘writers’ block’.

As he embarks on a voyage of self-reflection in the hope of finding himself again, we are given glimpses of his troubled past, and the possible causes of his current malaise. The audience is thrown into a challenging relationship with Henning, as he confronts behaviours that delve into his bullying, self-gratifying and narcissistic past.

Although one of his lesser-known works, Toy Symphony reinforces playwright Michael Gow as someone deeply attached to the concept of dramatic tension! In 2016, in his own keynote address at the National Play Festival, Gow talks about the agony of theatre paraphrasing Aristotle when he says “Drama is the description of a struggle.” We see the character of Roland Henning as someone who is full of struggle…with his past and present, with himself and with others. Even we, as an audience, struggle with some of the themes put forward in the play.

The production is a clever combination of real time storytelling with moments of flashback and elements of magical realism. Along the way, we meet characters from the present day, those from his childhood and every now and then, a figure from history who appears and disappears on the whim of Roland’s imagination. It is uncomfortable, disconcerting and hilarious, as the young Roland’s ‘magical’ ability to summon up historical characters, battles with the many adults in his childhood who are desperately trying to suppress his imagination.

Michael Gow was the artistic director of Queensland Theatre company from 1999 – 2010 and he had not written a full-length play while fully engaged in this role. In 2007, his play Toy Symphony received its world premiere production at Sydney's Belvoir St Theatre. It was a critical and popular success. Toy Symphony was awarded Best New Australian Work at the 2008 Helpmann Awards, and the production was also nominated for Best Play. The production also won four Sydney Theatre Awards including Best Mainstage Production.

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Buy Tickets   Venue
The Loading Dock
Session TimesTicket PricesDuration
2 hours
Restrictions/Warnings
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