Due to essential network maintenance, access to some online services including the viewing of digital images will be temporarily unavailable between 8 pm and 10 pm AEST on Tuesday, 17 September 2019. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Brendan Cowell’s The Sublime packs more than a punch. It pummels preconceived high notions about who we are as a sporting nation into a corner and leaves them bruised with a headache and a desperate need to reassess what just happened. Two brothers, footy pros, take along a young girl athlete to a post-season Thailand bash. The party, booze fuelled and predatory in nature, ends in rape. Interweaving the monologues of three central characters Cowell’s darkly funny parody dives headlong into the overlay of violence in footy codes and violence against women.
The gutsy move to spell out the blatant and casual misogyny, exposes how deeply ingrained, deeply rooted and unacknowledged the violence sits — how it permeates not just social and legal transgression in players and teams, but the gameplay itself. Even more daringly, Cowell lets a female character blur the lines, exploiting the rape allegations for her own financial benefit, while the real victim is left to suffer the consequences unacknowledged. The play exposes how fandom, regardless of gender, ignores the innate violence of the game. A deep look into the Australian sporting soul, it’s not nice to look at but it is compelling.