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Anna K shows “the best and worst of human society” at Malthouse

121 Arts Malthouse Anna-K Caroline Craig Kristian Gehradte
121 Arts Malthouse Anna-K Caroline Craig Kristian Gehradte Rehearsal
Kaylah Joelle Baker

Written, directed and designed by women, upcoming Malthouse Theatre production Anna K explores the life of a woman trying to live authentically in the age of social media.

Inspired by the 19th-century Leo Tolstoy novel Anna Karenina, award-winning playwright Suzie Miller’s play Anna K speaks into the backlash modern women can face in the media when they go against certain social norms.

“This production is an interrogation of how women in public roles are attacked by hostile voices intent on silencing them,” Ms Miller said.

 

“In high-profile positions women risk significantly more negative criticism than men in the same positions, and furthermore also endure violently sexualised online comments and messages intended to intimidate and shame.”

 

While the character of Anna K, played by Caroline Craig, may only be fictional, the production aims to explore recent cases of women in the media who have been demonised by the public.

The decision to make the character of Anna a top-rating television journalist has been a distinct choice, as it places her directly in the spotlight to face the wrath of social media when she leaves her husband for a younger man.

“The play delves into trolling on social media and how it pushes women in the public eye to the brink of insanity, even to where they are taking their own lives because they feel like it is the only escape,” Ms Craig said.

“It’s kind of a feminist play about being true to yourself, living your own truth and your best life and it’s about public shaming and standing up for yourself in today’s complex society.”

Noting the cleverness of the adaptation in relation to today’s social media dilemma, Ms Craig said she was “thrilled” to play the role of Anna K and be involved in a new Australian play.

“It’s exciting to support new work and to see what new work can come out of the really difficult pandemic time,” she said.

“It’s a dark and thrilling ride and goes into something I think we are all facing about where we exist not only in the real world, but also in this virtual world which can sometimes be just as powerful if not more powerful psychologically.”

Anna K is opening on Wednesday, August 17 on the Merlyn Theatre stage at The Malthouse, with previews starting from August 12. •

malthousetheatre.com.au

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