After their acclaimed 2021 production of Ulster American, Outhouse Theatre Co will be presenting the Sydney premiere of Will Arbery’s Pulitzer Prize finalist, Heroes of the Fourth Turning.

Set days after the 2017 white-supremacist riots in Charlottesville, four old friends gather to celebrate their mentor, as they are recently inducted as president of their small Catholic alma mater in Wyoming.

As the story progresses spiritual chaos descends, revealing the divisions between the friends’ beliefs, country, and themselves.

Director Craig Baldwin says: “At the centre of the play is the question of ‘What do we do for our love for people who we disagree with’ or ‘How can we love our fellow humans when we hate everything they stand for?’

“I think that the play really starts to examine that question and really make a case for the idea that there is more to us than our ideology, our politics, our religion that maybe we can see humanity in each other even when we fundamentally disagree with each other.”

Will Arbery’s storytelling creates this dialogue using solely right-wing characters in the production. Baldwin says: “It puts a group of people on stage who you probably have never seen on stage in this way before… An entirely right wing, conservative Catholic group of characters on stage. And since the playwright grew up around those characters, he’s done it authentically.”

“He’s challenging you not necessarily to empathise with them, but he’s challenging you to love them. Which, I think is an outrageous thing to say, but I think what he means is to love the humanity in them, and the person underneath all that ideology.”

Heroes of the Fourth Turning also explores the impact of the Trump Administration at the time. “There’s a variety of point of view on Trump. And it’s interesting because when you introduce an idea like Trump it tells you a lot about everyone else, because everyone has such strong reactions to Trump that you learn about through their reaction” says Baldwin.

As well as its 2020 Pulitzer Prize nomination for Drama, Heroes of the Fourth Turning has won several awards including the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Playwright Award, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play.

Heroes of the Fourth Turning will be performed at the Seymour Centre from March 31st – April 23rd, 2022. Tickets can be purchased here.