A rehearsed reading 


Through four different wars,  and the stories of four different veterans,  this deeply moving contemporary Australian play explores the unchanging, cyclic horror of armed conflict, the unnatural stress it places on the soldiers at the front line and how that bleeds into their civilian lives, traumatically affecting not only the combatants, but all those who love them.

Harry is gay but he is also a soldier who volunteers to fight in WW1. His passion for automobiles leads to a meeting a with a French soldier who is also enamoured with this new form of transport. Tom is a lad from the country who has to endure and live with his experiences on the Kokoda Trail and whose tragedy plays out on those at home. Dave is conscripted into the military and sent to Vietnam, where he finds a political conscience. Alan comes from a family of military men who give unquestioning loyalty to the army. 

Each finds a brotherhood in the army but also has to struggle with the demons of PTSD, as do their partners. Mother, Donna, Louisa, Joyce are women whose attitudes reflect their times: Donna has the anti-war fervour of the late 1960s; Joyce is a stoic, hard-working woman of WW2; whilst Louise reflects a more questioning, challenging society.

The play moves through time and space. Each of the four soldiers, in the uniform of their time, are part of the same unit, representing  the camaraderie hat these men find in the army.

Finding war incomprehensible, playwright Deborah Mulhall visited many battlefields and interviewed many soldiers. This play explores what motivates the foot soldier even as they are fully aware of the horror and futility of war. By looking at participation in four different wars, she reveals how the nature of that experience never actually changes.

Breathless was shortlisted for the 2019 Silver Gull Play Award.

CONTENT WARNING: this play is historically, politically and socially reflective of attitudes of the day and includes racial slurs that could trigger or offend

Creative team

Director Shondelle Pratt
Lighting Designer Nathan Edwards
Stage Manager Claire Miller


Aslam Abdus-Samad, Luke Carson
Lexie Dent, Rocco Forrester-Sach
Zoran Jevtik, Emma Louise
Peter Maple, Catherine McGraffin
Neil Parikh, Chloe Tobin

dates & times

Anzac Day
Sun 25 April 2pm



Please note: New Theatre is a general admission theatre and seat selection is done on a first-come-first-serve basis. As per NSW Public Health COVID-19 guidelines, we now running at 100% capacity (148 patrons). Face masks are not mandatory but strongly recommended. If you have any concerns, please contact our Theatre Manager

“A concise yet brilliant and absorbing theatre production” Absolute Theatre

Main image: © Ray Arellano