'Imagine if characters from Ancient Greek tragedies were detained in an Australian offshore processing centre. How can the parallels between Greek tragic plots and contemporary reality expose what Foley calls ‘a failed aspiration to civilisation’? These are the concepts at the heart of The Centre, a play exploring the research question: How can the Ancient Greek tragic tradition explore contemporary experiences of asylum seekers in detention?
'Tragic theatre is a space to challenge societal and political motivations by either reimagining or condemning the current expression of humanity. Tragedy as a genre attempts to prevent or modify behaviours that impede personal freedoms and cause irrevocable harm. The pre-polisconstruct of the hearth, or hestia in the Ancient Greek, can be viewed as an external manifestation of the innate human impulse towards connectivity and belonging; in other words Ancient Greek tragedy promotes a hestian notion that ‘to be is to belong’. This ontological positioning suggests that to be without home—without a sense of belonging—is to be without the fullness of being. In this way, a pre-polis reading of Ancient Greek tragedy positions homelessness as the most tragic condition. Detention centres, then, can be seen as a denial of home, a denial of belonging and therefore a denial of selfhood.
'The Centre has been inspired by Euripides’ The Heracleidae, The Trojan Women and Medea, and Aeschylus’ Agamemnon. The play merges the characters and storylines from these ancient texts with contemporary events to expose the current situation in Australian offshore processing centres.' (Publication abstract)
Dedication: Dedicated to the thousands of refugees
still being inhumanely detained
The action is set in an Australian offshore detention processing centre, and on the surrounding island.