#surrealist #epic

The Natural Disaster

by Tobias Manderson-Galvin

A staggeringly funny, headlong odyssey of feminism and pacifism from MKA + Doppelgangster – world leaders in iconoclastic, political performance.

Playfully interrogating ideas of myth, heteronormativity, pacificist action, the new five dollar notes, jurisprudence, fertility, and feminismand intersections thereof The Natural Disaster is the new play from critically acclaimed, and award-winning playwright Tobias Manderson-Galvin.

The Natural Disaster is the story of an ordinary woman looking for purpose and meaning in a world where the contraceptive pill is a battle site, Harold Holt is about to disappear, and The Velvet Underground is on the stereo. It is 1967, and Therese, a house wife and legal transcription typist – from suburban Australia – asked one too many times to make bacon for her husband, decides to leave him. While drunk she handcuffs him to a radiator in their cellar, then throws all his possesions out the window. Her mother and father have taken to playing russian roulette, attending anti-war protests, and have decided to sell their possessions to join a commune, and a fire-breathing dragon has made a nest in their indoor laundry.

A sadistic policeman finds Therese’s husband and joins him in captivity, the dragon increasingly becomes a danger, and the court proceedings she is transcribing reveal more and more horrible, suppressed crimes of famous and powerful members of society. Also at work a judge keeps pushing for her to re-write his speech to sound more poetic, and keeps pestering her to go on a date with him. Her cat has begun to talk to her. Desperate for peace, Therese seeks advice from a series of fortune tellers.

Can they show her the way to halt her fate as  … ‘just’ a woman- the ingenue, the natural disaster.

The Natural Disaster is loosely adaptaed from the first surrealist text, Apollinaire’s picaresque 1903 play The Breasts of Tiresias, and subsequent opera Les mamelles de Tirésias, themselves both inversions inspired by Ancient Greek myths.


Playtime aims to identify, support and develop new talent and get queer issues out there for mainstream audiences to consider and enjoy. The LGBTQIA+ community is diverse, exciting and full of stories and ideas that deserve to be heard on the stages of performing arts venues throughout the country.
From an open call for applications four plays have been selected to participate in the staged readings. One work will be selected by an industry panel and audience feedback to go on to receive support and development to become a full scale work and be presented at Midsumma 2019.



Initially developed with support from GASWORKS ARTS as part of the PLAYTIME initiative.

Photo by David Kovalenko

& Dates


Playtime (Melbourne)
Gasworks Arts
Midsumma Festival
Jan 2018