In a remote English farmhouse at the end of the nineteenth century, a young woman witnesses the blinding light of an oil lamp for the first time before running into the midwinter night. She’s sacrificing the world she knows and the man she loves to build a better life for the daughter she’s soon to have. So begins the story of May and Amy.
Written by Ella Hickson – one of Britain’s most exciting and boundary-pushing playwrights – Oil explores the deeply relatable bond between a mother and daughter, mapped against the rise and fall of two of modernity’s most powerful players: crude oil and the British Empire. Hickson sends her protagonists on a gripping quest from the Industrial Age in Europe, to the Middle East in the 1920s, through to our present moment and into the future, as she asks the question: how much is too much?
Featuring Brooke Satchwell in her STC debut with an ensemble cast of Jing-Xuan Chan, Callan Colley, Charlotte Friels and Anne Tenney, Oil sets small lives adrift in the huge tides of history and wonders what’s left when colonialism, fossil fuels and individualism are allowed to burn unchecked.
Directed by STC Associate Director Paige Rattray (The Lifespan of a Fact, Blithe Spirit) and presented in the Wharf’s new in-the-round configuration, this production promises an epic, globe-trotting, century-crossing night of theatrical magic.