Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Bertolt Brecht's epic morality tale about the ravages of war is given a unique twist by Queensland Theatre Company Artistic Director Wesley Enoch and Paula Nazarski in a dazzling new translation.
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Mother Courage & Her Children

Venue Playhouse, QPAC
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Dates From 25 May to 16 Jun 2013

Archived Event

This is a past event. Tickets are not available for this event.
User Reviews

Bertolt Brecht's epic morality tale about the ravages of war is given a unique twist by Queensland Theatre Company Artistic Director Wesley Enoch and Paula Nazarski in a dazzling new translation.

Instead of the 'Thirty Years' War of 1600s Europe, this near-future incarnation of the age-old story is set against the bleak backdrop of a post-apocalyptic desert where Mad Max might be at home – an Australia ravaged by devastating conflict, where life is cheap but business is still business. Ursula Yovich is the titular canteen-wagon mistress, shrewdly driving hard bargains as she shepherds her brood of three through this unforgiving, harsh wilderness. With an all-Indigenous cast, this fresh spin on Brecht's play delicately folds in themes of land ownership, the impact of mining and the stolen generation.

Preview Performances
Saturday 25 May, 7.30pm
Monday 27 May, 6.30pm
Tuesday 28 May, 6.30pm

Please note this performance contains references to death and war.

Audio Described Performances Audio Described Performances

A Glass Half Full


The Australian

Australian Stage

Stage Milk

Stage Whisper

Australian Arts Review

Green Room

Brisbane Times

Read some of the schools feedback

Mother Courage was amazing!!! Wesley Enoch you must be very proud - my students stood and clapped and clapped and clapped and they have only just now stopped talking about it as I have shooed them off to bed. QTC a job well done! - Kirsten Burgess, Monto SHS

Students' responses to the challenges, language and cultural context is so interesting - I agree. Tonight a girl laughed at a key dramatic moment. It wasn't appropriate but it showed how challenged she must have felt by the palpable tension of the moment. The whole play was so poignant and relevant to the experiences of indigenous peoples in Australia and elsewhere in the world. I again felt the sadness and shame of how white privilege plays out. So much to process and think about... - Kylie Readman, USC

Mother Courage Causes Consternation
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2:27 PM - 10/11/2013
By Bob de Verteuil
Queensland Theatre Company’s production of “Mother Courage and her Children” provides a different theatre experience. Bertolt Brecht wrote the play in 1939 in Europe with World War II in the air. Welsey Enoch and Paula Nazarski translated this, with an indigenous take, to the future in an Australia where warring mining companies destroy the environment. The play spans a few years and centres on the fortunes of an aboriginal mother who makes a living by traveling around country selling whatever (including alcohol, food, boots and clothes) to whomever, mainly those involved in the war. As is the Brecht style, everything is full on, leaving little to the imagination. The audience is told what is going on all the way. Song is added in sufficient doses to give cause to wonder if this is a musical while exposing some excellent singers and musicians amongst the cast. Exaggerated randomness abounds. As well as providing a commentary on war, standard life lessons are interspersed almost as add ons. Frankness is front and centre. Punches are left unpulled, be it in humour or violence, death or desire. The characters share the blunt intensity of the background in which they are set with the exception of Mother Courage. She seems perfectly portrayed as someone who can be as hard or as soft as the situation demands snaring the only setting in which subtlety can be savoured. I was thankful to have attended this production. I left amazed at the unlikeness to any previous show, touched by its moments of tenderness and jarred by its harsh depiction of a world to come. Presumably the timing to coincide with AFL’s indigenous weekend of footy and wider indigenous awareness activities was no accident. As a person with limited exposure to Australian indigenous culture, I wondered how it would be taken in by the indigenous community. While it seemed that all the key players, including the dozen actors, were indigenous, I was unable to ascertain whether it aimed at laughter, criticism, learning or simply reflecting their reality. My superficial enjoyment would no doubt be replaced by other emotions in those more deeply affected.
Brilliant Performance
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8:20 PM - 8/06/2013
By Colin Trail
After seeing the performance I have to reflect on the other 2 productions I have seen before over the past years. Firstly, the Berliner Ensemble who the piece was written for by Brecht, the Public Theater in New York with Meryl Streep in the lead and not this version and i can say without a doubt this production can be rank in the 2nd to the Berliner Ensemble. The performance was touching and ran the emotional line that Brecht always talk and write about being and Brecht fan and understand the dark nature of his writings i can say it was spot on with the emotion and the plight of people suffering. Thank you for such a brilliant performance i will surely be back before the closing to see it again.

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Presented By QPAC & Queensland Theatre Company
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