The Business

By Jonathan Gavin
Director Cristabel Sved
Based on Vassa Zheleznova by Maxim Gorky
From a literal translation by Karen Vickery

  • Venue Upstairs Theatre
  • Dates 23 Apr – 29 May 2011

    In 1909 Maxim Gorky wrote Vassa Zheleznova, a savage comedy about a Russian family at war over money, entitlement and the march of progress. But Vassa Zheleznova also relates to one of the great Australian themes: how we hauled ourselves out of our working class past and set out on the road to a relaxed and comfortable future.

    Jonathan Gavin is one of Australian playwriting’s best-kept secrets. The Business is his transplantation of Gorky’s wonderful monster into the engine room of modern Australia: the small business.

    Our central character is a woman who grew up poor, clawed her way out, and built an empire in the outer suburbs. But her salad days in middle Australia are under threat. The world is accelerating into the future, her husband is on his last legs, and the kids smell blood. Now is the time for a spectacular generational showdown over who gets the prize.

    Following her charismatic turn in Gethsemane in 2009, Sarah Peirse returns to Belvoir to play the redoubtable matriarch of The Business. Cristabel Sved makes her directorial debut Upstairs with this gripping family battle which asks what all the hard work is for.


    Writer Jonathan Gavin
    Based on Vassa Zheleznova by Maxim Gorky
    From a literal translation by Karen Vickery
    Director Cristabel Sved
    Set Designer Victoria Lamb
    Costume Designer Stephen Curtis
    Lighting Designer Verity Hampson
    Composer & Sound Designer Max Lyandvert
    Dramaturg Eamon Flack
    Stage Manager Mark Lowrey
    Assistant Stage Manager Edwina Guinness


    Kate Box
    Grant Dodwell
    Thomas Henning
    Jody Kennedy
    Russell Kiefel
    John Leary
    Sarah Peirse
    Samantha Young


    Keep up to date with the latest news at Belvoir