Sometimes you need to push.
Sissy Gordon’s father died in custody at Mount Druitt Police Station. The cops got a fine, Sissy’s family got $9,000 and noone is allowed to speak about it. Sissy is about to become a lawyer but tonight lawyers and the law are beside the point. Tonight the night is dirty and heavy, and the moon is swollen and bright. Everyone knows that on nights like this things happen.
Nakkiah Lui’s This Heaven is about a family who find themselves at a flash point of oppression, loss, love and anger. Lui turns the streets and parks of Mount Druitt into a fierce public forum where the essential matters of what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad are up for grabs. At the centre of it is the question: does doing nothing make you as complicit as the perpetrators?
Lui grew up in the Mount Druitt Aboriginal community. This Heaven is her first play. In the time she wrote it she was an associate playwright at Belvoir, she won the inaugural Dreaming Award and she was finishing her law degree. She then won the inaugural Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright’s Award. This Heaven is about balancing worlds.
By Nakkiah Lui
Director Lee Lewis
Set & Costume Designer Sophie Fletcher with Alice Babidge
Lighting Designer Luiz Pampolha
Composer Steve Francis
Sound Designer Nate Edmondson
Production Manager Neil Fisher
Stage Manager Khym Scott
The final scenes are tragic and breathtakingly affecting. That it should come to this.John McCallum | The Australian
Lee Lewis’s production is carefully developed and stark, played in a charcoal black space. Smoke – real smoke – is pumped into the room as the play comes to its climax, adding to the incendiary mood. The performances Lewis draws from her cast are perfectly in tune with the play, especially those of Tessa Rose, as Robert’s widow Joan, and Joshua Anderson as the pragmatic young copper operating on instinct and fear.Jason Blake | The Sydney Morning Herald
The tragedy of an Aboriginal death in custody is all too common and so there’s a real poignancy to the anger, frustration and helplessness the protagonists display. And a real tension in Lee Lewis’s direction and effective use of movement as things head to a grim conclusion.Chris Hook | The Daily Telegraph
There are some fantastic performances and the direction by Lee Lewis is sharp and bold, but the night belongs to Lui and her astonishing debut.Benjamin Neutze | Time Out
Tough stuff – enthralling and exciting.Diana Simmonds | Stage Noise