WORLD PREMIERE: THE HOTEL HIBISCUS BY ROBERT COCKBURN ZENITH THEATRE, CHATSWOOD 19-27 OCTOBER
Who would believe that the Australian Government had an involvement in the death of 15,000 innocent people? Robert Cockburn’s The Hotel Hibiscus is an Australian political thriller that questions our complicity and silence in a war crime that occurred just 20 years ago.
Sent secretly to a Pacific island off Papua New Guinea to run a dirty war for an Australian gold mine, Colonel Chris Baulkham falls in love with Dr Patty Carmichael, a 30 year-old academic woman whom he fools into providing his cover.
As Patty clears up her late father’s hotel, the Colonel is cleaning up the war crimes of his foreign minister’s failed war. Colonel Baulkham plays the puppeteer, juggling his and Patty’s worlds as she and her staff risk their lives unknowingly in aid of his work. Politics becomes dangerously personal and the strings begin to tangle as Patty uncovers the inconceivable truth.
The play was inspired by conflict in the 1990s surrounding the control of an Australian mine on Papua New Guinea’s Bougainville Island, in which an astonishing 15,000 civilians – or nearly 10% of the population – were killed. By uncovering the misuse of soldiers for political and corporate greed, Cockburn’s work reveals how decent people can become complicit in crimes against humanity.
Robert Cockburn reported on this conflict for The Times, the BBC, the ABC and to Amnesty International after investigating the army’s murder of a young bus driver. Hauntingly, within weeks of Epicentre’s decision to perform the play, the United States Supreme Court gave survivors of the conflict in Bougainville permission to bring an unprecedented action for ‘genocide’ and ‘crimes against humanity’ against mining giant Rio Tinto Zinc.
As The Hotel Hibiscus goes on stage, difficult questions are being asked of RTZ and those in power in Australia who turned a blind eye to the people of Bougainville, choosing to stay silent while thousands died.
Hotel Hibiscus is directed by Greg Friend and stars Dominic McDonald, Amanda Jermyn, Billy McPherson, Colin Huxley, Sopa Enari, Charlotte Hazzard and Sudanese refugee Mandela Mathia in his stage debut.
Epicentre Theatre Company presents
THE HOTEL HIBISCUS by Robert Cockburn
18-27 October Zenith Theatre, Chatswood
Railway and McIntosh Streets Chatswood (near Chatswood Station)
Performances: Fri 19th 8pm, Sat 20th 8pm, Sun 21st 5pm, Thu 25th 8pm, Fri 26th 8pm, Sat 27th 2pm and 8pm.
Tickets $28 / $20 conc. Bookings ??? or online http://www.epicentretheatre.org.au
Media: for more information, interviews, images, cast details etc, contact Geoff Sirmai
Watchdog Communications (02) 9345 0360 mob: 0412 669 272 firstname.lastname@example.org