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Raw emotions take hold as Naked & Screaming premieres at La Boite


After announcing a huge slate of programming for Act 1 of its 2021 season late last year, La Boite Theatre Company is set to stage its first production of the season, with Naked & Screaming premiering at Roundhouse Theatre at Kelvin Grove on Saturday.

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Based on a script by multi-award-winning playwright Mark Rogers and directed by La Boite creative producer Sanja Simic, Naked & Screaming has been described as an electrifying psychological thrill ride.

It follows the journey of new parents Emily and Simon, whose relationship begins to unravel when Simon travels overseas for work and Emily is left alone with their child.

The play is centred entirely around the performances of its two leads – acclaimed Queensland actors Emily Burton (Single Asian Female) and Jackson McGovern (Death of a Salesman) – and with its exploration of themes including the effects of isolation and strained relationships and minimal cast, in some respects it seems perfectly timed to fit the current social climate.

Rogers, who won the prestigious Griffin Award for New Australian Playwriting for his chamber-play Superheroes in 2019, acknowledged how well some of the subject matter fit the current social climate but said the timing was purely coincidental.

“I’ve joked with [director and creative producer] Sanja [Simic] that I’ve sort of written a COVID play without really writing a COVID play,” Rogers said.

Rogers started writing the script for Naked & Screaming two-and-a-half years ago, nine months after becoming a first-time father himself.

“it’s really a play about what isolation can do to a couple when you’re under the immense pressure of what it’s like to have a kid,” Rogers told InQueensland.

“Having a kid is tough and although I think people say that a lot – they say it’s hard, and it does get easier – I don’t think people talk much about quite how hard it is.

“I wanted to do that in this play and I wanted to use the pressure of having a new kid to look at the way in which people in relationships can come to talk to each other.”

Although the script was partly inspired by his own experiences and insights as a new father, Rogers was quick to clarify it was by no means autobiographical.

“But it does stem from my experience and our experiences as a family, I guess,” he said.

“It’s maybe a nightmare scenario and in no way is it a true story but it comes from a true place for me. When our kid was nine months old, my partner and I went on an ill-advised trip to New Zealand and we were trying to travel like we were in our early 20s still, we were trying to stuff every day and never take a rest and hauling our kid around with us the entire time.

“It was just got harder and harder as the two weeks went on.  We had to have some really frank and tough conversations about what our roles were shaping up to be as parents.”

Rogers said he has intentionally intended to create a piece of theatre that had a degree of subjectivity to it and would spark discussions between audience members after they had seen it.

“That’s my goal and it might not come out that way but I hope so. The type of theatre that tells you how to feel about it, where you come out of it with one very simple message and feeling exactly the same thing as everybody else who went in there, I love that type of theatre.

“But to me, that’s musical theatre, that’s big, strong, powerful and tragic plays and as much as I love that stuff, I’m also interested in stuff that worms its way inside you a little bit and that opens up cracks in you and makes you see things differently.”

Naked & Screaming runs from February 6-27.  Visit La Boite’s website for more information or to purchase tickets.

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