Mary Coustas steps forward as herself in a very personal Sydney Opera House show

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Mary Coustas, the celebrated Greek Australian comedian, actress, writer and creator of the iconic 90s character Effie, will premiere her most intimate show to date, This Is Personal, in the Opera House’s Playhouse from 25 – 29 May 2022. The performance on 28 May at 7.30pm will be livestreamed to audiences around the world via the Opera House’s online streaming platform, Stream.

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This Is Personal is a candid one-woman-show that combines the colourful tapestry of Coustas’ migrant upbringing in Melbourne’s suburbs and her recent experience of motherhood. Mary addresses questions from her inquisitive daughter, her answers forcing her to reflect on what she can offer from her own life experience, and more importantly, what she can’t. To help, the audience meets the characters from Mary’s family who have shaped her life – including Mary’s younger self who created the suit of armour we’ve come to know as “Effie”. Laced with Coustas’ comedic flair, This Is Personal is a kaleidoscopic exploration of love, loss, laughter and fear, and the way in which all four come to define us.

“It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes many muses to create a character that has the kind of intergenerational following that Effie has cultivated for over 35 years. With much of my work being character based, This is Personal gives me the freedom to discuss the themes we all face in this life – race, gender, belonging, and freedom of expression. Now, I feel I am ready to tackle these issues of the human condition as Mary. To step away from the puppet and expose the puppeteer,” says Mary Coustas.

As one of our national treasures, many Australians identify with Mary, having grown up with the characters she brought to stage and screen. In This Is Personal, we’ll hear more of Mary’s journey, told through her unique brand of comedic storytelling. This production is revealing and relatable, and speaks honestly about the inevitable future that approaches us all”, says Sydney Opera House Head of Contemporary Performance, Ebony Bott.

Mary Coustas has starred in multiple national tours (Wogs Out of Work, Effie the Virgin Bride) and brought powerhouse persona Effie into living rooms around Australia in the iconic sitcom Acropolis Now (for which she was awarded a Logie for Most Popular Comedy Personality in 1993) and Greeks on The Roof (Seven Network). Coustas is the author of Effie’s Guide to Being Up Yourself and critically acclaimed memoir All I Know. She is currently touring Hello Good Thanks – Better Out Than In, a reflection on the COVID-19 lockdown told from Effie’s perspective.

This Is Personal is directed by Blazey Best (Well Behaved Women, Sensitive Guys, Kings for Pigs). Her role marks the inaugural Contemporary Performance Industry Development Initiative, which is being implemented to provide pathways in the commercial performing arts sector. Recipients will be offered the opportunity to work alongside established creatives to develop their skills and increase their profile within the industry.

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Season details
Insiders presale
9am, Tuesday 8 March 2022

What’s On presale
9am, Wednesday 9 March 2022

Tickets on sale to the general public
9am, Thursday 10 March 2022

When
25 – 29 May, 2022

Where
Sydney Opera House, Playhouse

Prices
From $75 + booking fee for in theatre event
$19.99 for digital livestream of the performance on Saturday 28 May 7.30pm (including 3 day rental)

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.