Carleton Players present Timberlake Wertenbaker’s “Our Country’s Good”

May 1, 2017

The Carleton Players will present British playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker’s award-winning drama, “Our Country’s Good,” based on the true story of the founding of Sydney, Australia as a penal colony in 1788. Performances of “Our Country’s Good” are Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings May 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, and 13 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 7 at 2 p.m. in the Weitz Center for Creativity Theater. Reservations are suggested and can be made online at https://apps.carleton.edu/curricular/thea/calendar/tickets/.

Directed by Carleton theater professor Roger Bechtel, “Our Country’s Good” is a powerful historical drama about the power of theater. The play, written in 1988 and adapted from the Thomas Keneally novel “The Playmaker,” depicts the class system in a convict camp and discusses themes such as sexuality, punishment, the judicial system, and the idea that it is possible for “theatre to be a humanizing force.”

The play pits the sadistic Major Robbie Ross against Admiral Arthur Phillip and Lieutenant Ralph Clark, who together help the convicts transcend their prison experience by performing a play. “Our Country’s Good” was written with the idea of doubling in mind, needing only ten actors for twenty-two roles. Performers change costumes on stage; a wig and military uniform jacket marking the only differences between an officer and a convict. At turns dramatic and comic, “Our Country’s Good” is ultimately an impassioned expression of the redemptive power of art. 

“Our Country’s Good” was awarded the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for Play of the Year in 1988 and nominated for numerous Tony Awards in 1991; that same year the play was named Best Foreign Play by the New York Drama Critics’ Circle.

This event is sponsored by the Carleton College Department of Theater and Dance. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4531. The Weitz Center for Creativity is located at Third and College Streets in Northfield.