Local playwright makes a stand

Local playwright makes a stand
Rhonda Dredge

Over 50-year-olds are on the hit list in a dystopian play #No Exemptions that opens at La Mama theatre in April.

Local playwright Angela Buckingham is taking a stand on climate change and pushing it as far as she can go.


We think of climate change as a big issue but at the end of the day the consequences will be two people looking at each other in a room.


She has the playwright’s sense of dramatic. What happens if one of the women is over 50 and outside is a gang led by her son?

The sense of disaster over the past few years with bushfires and the pandemic has made the issue more pressing, Angela said.

In the past, dystopian stories focused on the world left after a nuclear attack. Now climate change is the horror on everyone’s minds.

“It takes a year to write a play,” she told Inner City News. “Why not write  about an important issue? It comes from deep anxiety. Are we doing enough?”

As a local, Angela expects some kickback for her stance, but she’s prepared for any flack, having moved to Carlton to be close to the theatre in 2019.

She’d lived here before as a young film studies graduate and was attracted by her deep interest in getting stories out to the public.

After a stint in Berlin, she was ready to make an impact.

“I think Berlin has a darker tone because of the weight of history,” she said, “but there are funny bits.”

#No Exemptions deals with the way global issues impinge on relationships.

The plays opens with two women in a dark apartment lit by just a few bands of light. The women are hiding from the gangs that have taken over the city. It’s survival of the fittest.

There’s no food or water. Democracy has collapsed. The young have the advantage. Over 50-year-olds are on their hit list.

One of the women, played by Caroline Bock, wants to see her son before she dies.

He is the leader of one of the gangs.

Angela believes in making a stand. She’s written two non-fiction children’s books that ferret through history for overlooked women. Their titles: Courageous Queens and Powerful Princesses get the point across.

Angela lives in Grattan St with her family and is careful about protecting them from those riled up by issues. “There’s a saying in Polish: the devil will hear.”

The play is being directed by Susie Dee and performed by Shift Theatre.


Image: Angela Buckingham at the new La Mama theatre

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