Melbourne Theatre Company returns to the mainstage on Thursday 11 March with the Australian premiere of Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes, an incisive #MeToo-era take on the archetypal student-teacher romance starring Dan Spielman (The Code) and Izabella Yena(Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears).
Jon is a prize-winning novelist who wants more out of life. His third marriage is going about as well as his first two, and he’s stuck at university teaching creative writing to lazy undergraduates. He’s a good teacher, but believes there’s really only one student worth his time. Annie is clever, imaginative, and a huge fan of Jon’s work. One afternoon, Jon catches himself admiring Annie in her red coat, and very soon it feels like their affair was destined from the start. But when the embers have cooled and the affair is over, who will control their narrative? As Jon brings the audience into his confidence, freely sharing his internal turmoil, Annie shows us a young woman coming into her own power. In telling the story of the two, award-winning Canadian writer Hannah Moscovitch employs her fiery wit and incisive ability to tackle complex subjects with humour and intelligence.
With MTC Associate Director Petra Kalive at the helm, this timely exploration of power, truth and desire is a captivating drama of contemporary gender politics.
Petra Kalive has previously directed Hungry Ghosts, Melbourne Talam (Green Room Award-nominated Best Director), Beached and the Cybec Electric reading of In the Kingdom of Cha for the Company, and was Assistant Director on Constellations. Her acclaimed adaptation of Peter Goldsworthy’s novel, Three Dog Night, toured nationally in 2009. Her most recent work as a director includes the much-acclaimed Taxithi (Green Room Award-nominated Best Director), which, after two sell-out seasons at fortyfivedownstairs, went on to tour. Other credits include Mirror’s Edge, her own work Oil Babies at Northcote Town Hall (shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards), and the new musical by Dean Bryant and Mathew Frank, My Brilliant Career. She was Dramaturg at Red Stitch from 2009 – 2012 and Assistant Dramaturg at Malthouse Theatre in 2010. In 2019, she completed five years as Artistic Director of Union House Theatre at the University of Melbourne.
Petra Kalive said,
Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes is an exciting and pressing new work. It is immediate and timely; deftly navigating the complexities of power in a romantic relationship. Hannah Moscovitch’s writing is surgical in its precision and the characters are flawed and complex in the best possible way. I am absolutely thrilled to be directing such a vital new text, and to work with such true talent as Dan Spielman and Izabella Yena.
Hannah Moscovitch is an acclaimed playwright whose work has been produced across Canada as well as in the United States, Britain, Ireland, Greece, Japan, Germany, Austria and Australia. Past stage work includes East of Berlin, Little One, This is War, Bunny, What a Young Wife Ought to Know, and Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story (co-created with Christian Barry and Ben Caplan). Moscovitch has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work, including the Trillium Book Award, the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play, The Nova Scotia Masterworks Award, both The Scotsman Fringe First and The Herald Angel Award at the Edinburgh Festival, and the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize administered by Yale University. She was formerly a Playwright-In-Residence at Tarragon Theatre in Toronto.