Inspired by the story of the Muslim convert and ill-starred adventurer David Hicks, Patricia Cornelius’s bleakly funny drama pits a young man’s search for meaning against the corrosive cynicism that regards faith in anything – religion, politics, one’s country, even love – as a sign of weakness or the first step on the road to another kick in the arse.
Gary is a wayward young bloke who slaughters chooks at an abattoir. His empathy for the doomed creatures marks him as a more sensitive soul than his co-workers – who bait him mercilessly – but when he’s out with best mates Aldo and Chunk, Gary is no better or worse than any of them.
He meets Denise, a young woman with big but vague dreams. For a moment, Gary thinks he has found what he has been looking for. It’s love, but is it enough?
The birth of a child comes as a grim reality check for Sarah, but Gary’s yearning to find meaning in life – to invest in something bigger than himself – becomes more acute. Degrading jobs and the death of a friend amplify his feelings of emptiness until, after watching a group of Muslim men praying at work, everything becomes clear.
The Call doesn’t seek to explain away Hicks or make a cautionary example of him. What it does do – very effectively – is demonstrate how our society fails to create a sense of belonging. If no routes for fulfilment are apparent, we shouldn’t be surprised at what directions people take on their own.
Tickets are available online and from the Bookshop, Mullumbimby.
If not sold out, tickets will also be available at the door.