Knife’s edge comedy STAY WOKE by Aran Thangaratnam opens Malthouse Theatre’s 2022 season

A new play about two brothers, Niv and Sai, heading to the mountains for a party weekend to bury the hatchet on a lifelong rivalry.

Big brother Niv has gone vegan. He’s madly in love, he’s starting his own business, and seems to have finally found himself after years as the black sheep of the family. In an attempt to reconcile their differences, Niv invites golden child Sai and his new girlfriend Kate on a ski trip where they can put the past aside for the sake of family.

But when party banter turns political, Kate stumbles into a minefield, and finds herself the focal point of an all-out war.

Stay Woke will be the first play performed in The Malthouse’s Beckett Theatre in over two years, following the cancellations of Season 2020 and the hugely successful season of Because The Night (2021) that took over the entirety of The Malthouse building.

Said Malthouse Theatre Artist in Residence and Stay Woke Director Bridget Balodis

Stay Woke is such an exciting play to return to the Beckett with; it’s so contemporary in its references and so fearless in its desire to tackle issues like white fragility, weaponised wokeness, and cultural appropriation. In rehearsals I keep thinking about comedians like Alok Vaid-Menon and Hannah Gadsby— it’s a knife’s edge comedy, and even though the play has a big heart, no one is safe from scrutiny.

Writer Aran Thangaratnam was a participant of Malthouse Theatre’s Malcolm Robertson Writers Program in 2020, which commissions two early career playwrights each year to write a full-length play, and enabled him to develop Stay Woke. Aran joins an illustrious group of prior recipients of the Malcolm Robertson Writer’s Program, including Osamah Sami & Janice Muller, Jada Alberts, Emilie Collyer, Michele Lee, Zoë Coombs Marr, Nakkiah Lui, Declan Greene and Lally Katz, with Malthouse Theatre presenting many of these plays including Australian Realness, Good Muslim Boy, Going Down and Blaque Showgirls.

This original comedy stars Green Room Award-winning Dushan Phillips (Red Stitch Actors’ Ensemble) and newcomer Kaivu Suvarna as the two brothers, alongside Rose Adams and Brooke Lee.

Funny and feisty, Stay Woke is all about the bitter warfare behind brotherly love.

Tickets on sale now at

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator, and is the current Deputy Editor-in-Chief of She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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