The Apologists

Theatre, Drama
A red-headed woman peering through a torn hole in a newspaper
Photograph: Supplied/Old 505 Theatre

Time Out says

Ever felt riled that a public apology was totally disingenuous? You'll be intrigued by this play

In the age of social media there’s nowhere to hide when you say the wrong thing. It’s just as easy to broadcast an apology, but whether or not you really mean it is also up for fierce debate. That crucible is at the thorny heart of an exciting new play opening at the Old 505, The Apologists.

Written by a trio of female playwrights – Lucinda Burnett (Correspondence), Cordelia O’Neill (No Place for a Woman) and Iskandar Sharazuddin (The Lift of Cardboard) – it’s also helmed by esteemed director Jane Moriarty and performed by Gabrielle Scawthorn (The Killing Fields, The Village Bike). Scawthorn takes on multiple roles, including a government minister who makes a racist comment to a doctor when her kid is rushed to hospital, a travel writer who is blamed for a suicide after a particularly poisonous review, and an NGO worker demanding a proper apology from her disingenuous CEO.

Shining a light on gender inequity, racism and other major topics that go to our public and personal responsibilities, the show is sure to provide food for thought. “In many ways, the public apology is the ultimate act of solo performance,” Scawthorn says. “We are constantly deconstructing the authenticity of this act, the way one might deconstruct a piece of theatre. The public apology is a performative reckoning in the age of performative politics.”


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