Publication Details

C. McKinnon, 'Hurt', 2012, 26 August - Presented by Parnassus Den at SBW Stable Theatre, Kings Cross, Sydney.



Research Background

Post-dramatic theatre performance often investigates social traumatic events using diverse theatrical strategies, yet for many main-stage theatre companies investigating similar topics, the three-act realist play, with swift dialogue exchanges and coherent albeit unstable subjects, is still the dominant textual and theatrical mode. This research aims to investigate and disrupt the three-act theatrical realist form, and the idea of coherent subjectivity, to reinterpret and represent the effects of trauma on human beings, and their understanding of what it means to live and die.

Research Contribution

This research uses first-person poetic sequences and fragmented dialogue to investigate trauma and near-death events. The waiting room is employed as metaphor for change and transformation. In particular, the ‘internal worlds’ of characters are juxtaposed with interaction between characters; possible intent contrasted with consequential action; morality set alongside immorality. This text creates a study of the potential of traumatic and near-death events to disrupt patterns of speech and thought, and through its form, seeks to question the notion of coherent subjectivity. In doing so, this research aims to deepen our understanding of the fragile social world we inhabit.

Research Significance

The writing of Hurt, as part of The Hurt Trilogy, was funded by the Australia Council for the Arts, in the Established Writer’s category. This play was shortlisted for the 2011 Rodney Seaborn Award. A production of Hurt directed by Sarah Goodes was presented by Parnassus Den, SBW Stables Theatre, Sydney.


Link to publisher version (URL)

Parnassus’ Den


Hurt from The Hurt Trilogy

The modern world is full of new technologies, fast cars, fast foods, fast internet speeds but does our focus on the politics of the now means we lose the opportunity to set current dilemmas against more philosophical questions about what it means to be human?

The Hurt Trilogy project queries whether our moral choices are important or whether we our lives are simply accidents being played out? Each of the plays examines whether, when faced with death—our own or the death of someone we love— ‘truths’ about our actions can be grasped? And more broadly, how shall we live and die?

Hurt, the first play of the trilogy, explores the concept of moral choice. Three people— Mel, Dominic, and Alex—await news about an injured child. In seeking to come to terms with the potential loss of a young life are Dominic, Mel, and Alex able to reveal previously hidden truths? Or, do they lay blame on each other, pushing already fractious relationships into darker territory?

Hurteflyer.jpg (76 kB)
Hurt e-flyer