Presented by Sydney Theatre Company
A world-premiere adaptation of Australia's first Chinese-language novel, a historical frontier adventure and a morality tale for the ages.
Set sail with this epic gold rush drama that sprawls across Qing Dynasty China, to Victoria's nineteenth century goldfields, and the laneways of Melbourne's Chinatown. One of Australia's most exciting, versatile, and provocative playwrights, Anchuli Felicia King returns to STC to uncover this historical story of love, sex, adventure, and two worlds colliding.
Originally published in 1910, The Poison of Polygamy was Australia's first ever novel by a Chinese Australian author, Wong Shee Ping. It tells the story of Sleep-sick – an opportunistic young man from Guangdong who has his sights set on amassing a fortune in Australia's goldfields. He leaves behind his faithful but long-suffering wife Ma (Merlynn Tong) and sets out across the sea to try his luck.
Along the way, he charms and cheats an eccentric cast of characters until he meets his match: the seductive and cunning Tsiu Hei (Kimie Tsukakoshi). Will Sleep-sick keep his promise to Ma? Or are the temptations of wealth, beautiful women and opium too much to bear?
Take a look into a slice of Australian history that is rarely seen on stage. Also featuring Ray Chong Nee, The Poison of Polygamy is a frontier story, a morality tale for the ages, and a rollicking, horse-drawn escapade.
A play by Anchuli Felicia King
Based on the novel by Wong Shee Ping, Translated by Ely Finch
Directed by Courtney Stewart
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The Wharf is Sydney Theatre Company's home base located in Walsh Bay. Alongside our administrative and creative areas, we have two theatres in which we present our work — Wharf 1 Theatre and Wharf 2 Theatre. Visitors to The Wharf can also soak in the sweeping views of Sydney Harbour at The Theatre Bar at the End of the Wharf.
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