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Read an excerpt from The Almighty Sometimes


The winner of both the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award Prize for Drama and a NSW Premier’s Literary Award in 2019, Kendall Feaver’s The Almighty Sometimes has opened at Melbourne Theatre Company. Heralded for its sensitivity and empathy, the production provides audiences with touching insights into the relationship between a mother and her daughter, mental illness and the need for honest discussion about independence.

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To celebrate the debut Melbourne season of the production, The Wheeler Centre and Melbourne Theatre Company are pleased to publish an extract of this Victorian Premier’s Literary Award-winning play by Kendall Feaver here.



VIVIENNE: (reading) When the girl was old enough to walk, she began to float, two or three inches above the ground, and then higher and higher until her head hit the ceiling and her mother had to buy an extra-extendable ladder just to bring her down. “You must keep it a secret,” the neighbours said, so the mother tied a piece of string from the girl’s hand to her own, and let down the bottom of every skirt, so no one could see the space between the shoes and the floor. One day, the mother forgot to lock the kitchen drawer, and the girl found a knife, a big knife, the best knife, for old bread and tough legs of ham, and she dragged it down her body, top to bottom, opening herself like a leather bag. She stepped out of her skin and kicked it away, where it hit the wall – splat! – and slithered to the ground. The mother tried to catch her daughter but there was nothing there to hold on to. “Look up, look up, look up,” the little girl said, and she flew around her mother, and did somersaults in the air, and walked along the clothesline, and made silly faces at the window, while the mother cried, and the skin turned to slush in her hands.



At the beginning of each act of The Almighty Sometimes is one of the stories written by the play’s central character, Anna (Max McKenna, in their debut for Melbourne Theatre Company), when she was a child. Rich in description with an undercurrent of darkness, Anna is shocked at how ‘advanced’ the writing is for an eight-year-old girl. After finding boxes of her stories in her mother’s bedroom, they form the catalyst for wanting to discover who she is without the medication she’s been on for seven years for an unidentified mental health condition. Are the pills stifling her talent? Who is the real Anna? Newly 18, her wish to come off her medication to take up a writing career pits her against her mother, Renee (Nadine Garner), her psychiatrist, Vivienne (Louisa Mignone), and her new boyfriend, Oliver (Karl Richmond).

Playwright Kendall Feaver spoke to dozens of mental health professionals, carers, parents, partners and support workers of those living with a mental illness to ground Anna’s story in ‘a multitude of real experiences’. Her most significant discovery in writing the play was the ‘depth of love’ she discovered in those she spoke to, that a mother’s unconditional love for a child was ‘unfathomable’ and as ‘borderline magical as everything we don’t yet understand about the inner workings of the human brain’. The result is a tender coming-of-age story about an 18-year-old girl asking for those around her to believe in her, and those in her orbit finding it hard to let her go.


‘Bold, insightful and compassionate’ (Limelight), the multi-award-winning The Almighty Sometimes runs until 18 May at Southbank Theatre, The Sumner.

Tickets available from the Melbourne Theatre Company website.

To purchase a copy of the script from Currency Press enter the promo code feaver20 for 20% off the RRP $24.99. Offer ends 18 May 2024.

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