Mugs Like Us

The Mugs Like Us Trilogy: May

by Georgia Keighery
Running time: 45 minutes
Cast: 1 female, 1 male (non-speaking role)

‘English May’ Smith was arrested in June 1921. She was a practitioner of the routine known as ‘old friend’. In broad daylight, she would fling her arms around a well-dressed gentleman and shower kisses upon him. Whilst he recovered from his embarrassment she would pick his pocket and quietly pass the contents to her partner.

Prostitutes, razor gangs, drugs, illegal alcohol: step into the criminal underworld of Sydney in the 1920s. Mugs Like Us is a compelling trilogy of one-woman plays inspired by three photographs of Dorothy Slatter, May Smith and Rae Bibby, taken just after they were arrested.

In the 1920s Sydney police began photographing the criminals they arrested, creating the city’s first collection of ‘mug shots’. Lost for almost half a century, these extraordinary images resurfaced in the 1980sand were published by historian Peter Doyle in his book Crooks Like Us. These images inspired this collaboration with Riff Raff and three emerging playwrights that imagines the people behind the pictures; why they were compelled to commit their crimes and what paths it set their futures on.

* Originally produced by Riff Raff Theatre with Lightbox Theatre
Supported by Arts Council England
Development showings at The Space – 5th-9th September 2017
Directed by Emma Sampson
Performed by Corinne Furlong

 

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