Elegy by Douglas Rintoul

Words = Tim Photos = Courtesy of Gasworks Arts Park

What: Elegy

Where: Gasworks Arts Park

When: 22 January - 6 February


Written by Douglas Rintoul

Directed by John Kachoyan

Performed by Nick Simpson-Deeks



“Some stories are more powerful than others,” is the realisation a refugee has while telling his story to border protection agents. He knows that if his story is good he will be allowed to stay, but he doesn't tell it anyway.

Elegy is not told by a refugee, it is told by a white man with a neat haircut and hipster threads. He tells us the story of a gay refugee, fleeing after the 'liberation' of Iraq gave rise to militia killings of gay men and women.


Nick Simpson-Deeks is the only performer, a charismatic and likeable presence. He doesn't pretend to understand the real hardships of being a refugee, and this takes the pressure off the audience to do the same. Empathy then seeps in and we are taken on a tragic but romantic journey with political depth. In a chaotic blitz of time we are told the story of the unnamed refugee and his lover J. We hear about how they went swimming for the first time, we learn how to charge a mobile with a pair of domestic batteries; and we learn how the couple's names got onto the list. Devised by Rintoul using real life testimonies, the play allows us to question Australia's current political discourse on marriage equality and refugee rights.

It is simple and powerful theatre, a gripping story, well written and skilfully put together.

It is a part of Midsumma and on at Gasworks Arts Park, Albert Park until Feb 6.

Price: $25 Full, $20 Concession

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