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by Ben Ellis
Directed by John Kachoyan.
Designed by Rachel Vaughan.
Sound and Music by George Dennis.
Costume Design by Susannah Lombardelli.
Presented by Owl Farm and Sunburnt Country in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre
Cast: Scott Ainslie. Lucy Conway. Rob Gilbert. Gareth Glen. Anthony Houghton. James Marlowe. Rachel Waring.

The world premiere of a new play

Anniversary Autumn 2010 – Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Finborough Theatre
Sundays and Mondays, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22 November 2010

" Does this land turn us savage? Until we tame it, yes. Our country was taken away from us there and we will take it back here…”

How far will a man go to call a place ‘home’? In a land of immigrants, who are the dispossessed?

1840. A ship is wrecked on the uncharted coast of colonial Australia. On evidence of a female survivor, Angus Mitchell, an enterprising Scottish immigrant, is employed to search for her amongst the Aboriginal tribes of a wild and foreign land, beyond the new boundaries of his own civilisation. But does a savage land turn a man savage? And what exactly is Mitchell hunting for? A real woman, a myth or some kind of redemption? As the search becomes ever more desperate, Mitchell must choose between his humanity and the land he desperately seeks to make his home.

The Captive is a stark and poetic tale of the dispossessed struggling to find a homeland, and the savagery with which they impose their ideas of civilisation on an ancient land and its people.

Playwright Ben Ellis is a critically acclaimed playwright and television writer. He has recently completed writing attachments in New York, Paris and the National Theatre Studio. A trained anthropological historian, Ellis is most famous for his provocative award-winning plays, Falling Petals – winner of the New York City New Dramatists Award and the Wal Cherry Award, and shortlisted for the Victoria Premier’s Award and the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award and These People which was shortlisted for the New South Wales and Queensland Premier’s Award. Other plays include 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover and 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover at Christmas (Bush Theatre, Latitude Festival and National Tour), The Final Shot (Theatre 503, starring Susannah York), Beneath Us (Chashama 217 New York and The Production Company), Poet No.7 (Theatre 503 and Dublin International Fringe Festival), Falling Petals (Malthouse Melbourne, New Theatre Sydney, Black Swan Theatre Perth, BATS Wellington), Kafka’s Metamorphosis (adaptation for Sydney Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne), These People (Sydney Theatre Company) and Post Felicity (Playbox Theatre Company) which was winner of the Patrick White Playwright Award and Malcolm Robertson Prize.

Director John Kachoyan is a former Resident Assistant Director at the Finborough Theatre where he directed The Delicate Lines for 2010’s Vibrant – An Anniversary Festival of Finborough Playwrights and Daniel MacIvor’s His Greatness. He was also Assistant Director on James Graham’s The Man and The Notebook of Trigorin. He trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Sydney. Other directing includes The Commandments (Cock Tavern), a new adaptation of Marivaux’s La Dispute (Soho Theatre, Old Red Lion Theatre and Edinburgh Festival), Lilly, Alta (Bridewell Theatre), Never Swim Alone, This Is A Play (Darlinghurst Theatre, Sydney) and White Biting Dog (Hart House Theatre, Toronto). Work as Assistant Director includes Snatch Paradise (Edinburgh Festival), The Berry Man and Hypatia (Theatre Royal, Hobart). John has also tutored at the Central School of Speech and Drama and the University of Sydney.

Scott Ainslie’s credits include Witchcraft and A Letter to England (Finborough Theatre), Measure for Measure and Seven Deadly Sins (Arcola Theatre), Old Wives’ Tales (Shakespeare’s Globe) and on film Citizen V Kane, Little Deaths and Zombie Diaries. Lucy Conway’s credits include Jamie the Saxt (Finborough Theatre), Henry IV Part I and II, Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe), Frankenstein (National Tour), Henry V (Riverside Studios) and on television Londoners and The Virgin Queen. Robert Gilbert’s credits include Blood and Gifts (National Theatre), on film, Gulliver’s Travels and on television The Academy. Gareth Glen’s credits include What Every Woman Knows and Jamie the Saxt (Finborough Theatre), A View from the Bridge (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh), The Real Thing (Bristol Old Vic), on film On the Verge and on television Foyles War, Holby City, Taggart and Casualty. Anthony Houghton’s credits include Murder on Air (Royal and Derngate Theatres, Northampton), The Hollow, The Play What I Wrote (National Tour), Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo (Lyric Hammersmith), Conversations with My Father (The Old Vic), on film The Marlowe Report and on television Poirot. James Marlowe’s credits include When We Meet Again (BAC), Jackajack (National Tour) and White Boy (National Youth Theatre). Rachel Waring’s credits in training include The Rimers of Eldritch, Road The House of Bernarda Alba and on film Keep Calm and Carry On and Dead Good Friend.

The Press on The Captive
“The Captive is well cast, well directed and well acted - a poignant and important piece of theatre which bodes well for IronBark’s Australian Theatre Festival in 2011.” Conor McGlone, Australian Times

“This is next door to incredible: a full-length, complex play, from London-based Australian Ben Ellis, performed at a high standard on a small stage set-up for another show. John Kachoyan’s production inventively accommodates Ellis’s story, which stretches across miles of Australian coast, on a stage designed for Noah Haidle’s Saturn Returns.” Timothy Ramsden, Reviewsgate

“A clever, thoughtful and – largely thanks to the intimate staging – touching play.” Sans Taste

“Nail-biting, trigger-finger tension.” Timothy Ramsden, Reviewsgate

“This is serious, sensitive stuff and Mitchell’s land is described as ‘red, red – blood and bone,’ which begs the controversial question, is modern day Australia founded on the blood of its natives?” Conor McGlone, Australian Times

“Ben Ellis’ thoughtful work explores race, religion, the rights of man and language.” Conor McGlone, Australian Times

“Writer Ben Ellis explores a crucial part of Australian history and delivers a tale, much of which is based on truth (plus the obligatory splash of imagination for the sake of storytelling), with an epic arc.” Skye Crawford Fringe Review

“This is a show worthy of the Almeida, Royal Court or the National. Though it is highly commendable of the Finborough to programme dynamic new Australian work, it begs the question as to why our funded institutions have let The Captive go unseen. Ellis is based in London and this is a world premiere of his work.” Skye Crawford Fringe Review

“The Captive is dark, unforgiving and challenging work and I look forward to seeing this compelling piece of theatre in a full run. It is selling out fast but if you can get a ticket this time around do so without hesitation. This is nothing short of exquisite theatre and a must see.” Skye Crawford Fringe Review

“A beautifully delivered soliloquy by Scott Ainslie in fading light which is genuinely moving in such a small space and a final revelation which is both funny and shocking.” Sans Taste

“A smoothly political Anthony Houghton” Timothy Ramsden, Reviewsgate

“The intense Gareth Glen” Timothy Ramsden, Reviewsgate

“Scott Ainslie, particularly impressive in a speech where he composes the impact of events in his mind" Timothy Ramsden, Reviewsgate

“Scott Ainslie playing explorer William Ross evokes humanity at its cruellest with he delivers his characters impassioned speech depicting the moments leading up to his untimely death.” Skye Crawford Fringe Review

“John Kachoyan is a young director to watch. His ability to extract, a certain and very present energy from his actors is a rare quality. Putting on decent Australian work in London is a rarity and to see English and Scots performers transporting their audience so convincingly to the Australian bushland in the 19th Century, especially in a space as tiny as the ever chameleon-like Finborough stage is a real treat!” Skye Crawford Fringe Review

“The true hero of this production of The Captive is the sound design, from the immeasurably talented George Dennis.” Skye Crawford Fringe Review

“Coupled with Christopher Nairne’s ingenious lighting design, the rough raw astonishing beauty of the yet to chartered Australian bush soundly resonates in the space.” Skye Crawford Fringe Review