The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music continues its Mainstage Series with Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good from Wednesday, Feb. 13 (preview performance) through Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019. Directed by Susan Felder, the award-winning play centers on a group of 18th-century criminals and British colonialists who explore how theatre can help rehabilitate and inspire.
Based on Thomas Keneally’s historical novel “The Playmaker,” Our Country’s Good tells the true story of Australia’s first theatrical performance in the 1780s. A British Royal Marine lieutenant decides to put on a play to celebrate the king’s birthday. He casts the play with English convicts who populate a distant Australian prison camp to remind them that “there is more to life than crime and punishment.” Few of them can read, let alone act, and the play is produced against a background of food shortages and barbaric prison punishments. CCM’s production is for mature audiences.
“The play throws wild humor up against absolute brutality,” Felder says. “We see convicts and soldiers in their daily lives — all while trying their best to produce a play.”