Presented with University of Melbourne Arts and Culture | A Belvoir St Theatre and Kurinji Co-Production

Counting and Cracking

எண்ணிக்கை, இல்லையேல் கையோங்கு ගණන් නොගන්නේ නම් ගණන් කරන්න

By S.Shakthidharan with Eamon Flack

  • Theatre
  • Premiere
  • Sitting
Buy tickets$55 — $107
Assistive ListeningAssisted ListeningAudio Described ToursAudio DescriptionCaptioningCaptioningWheelchair AccessibleWheelchair Access
A slideshow of production images from Counting and Cracking

Counting and Cracking

A vibrant, three-act epic follows four generations over five decades from Colombo to Australia and tests the complex strength of family love.

It begins with Radha and her son Siddartha on the banks of Sydney’s Georges River, scattering Radha’s mother’s ashes—their final, physical link to Sri Lanka’s turbulent history. Then an unexpected call from Colombo brings the past rushing back.

Counting and Cracking is a true family saga that follows four generations from 1956 to 2004—through family secrets, love and upheaval.

Nineteen performers from six countries play 50 different characters. Incense swirls. Bare feet crisscross the sandy stage. Wisecracking Tamil and Sinhalese intertwines with English, in communal acts of translation.

Apah, Rhada’s grandfather, wants equality but is taught early on that democracy is “the counting of heads, within certain limits, and the cracking of heads beyond those limits.” By the end, we’ve learned the deep truths behind that Colombo mystery, on the other end of the line.

It's a story about reconciliation: between parents and children, between neighbours and enemies, between your new home and your old home, between society and its institutions.

Artistic Team

Writer and Associate Director

S. Shakthidharan

Director and Associate Writer

Eamon Flack


Rodney Afif, Prakash Belawadi, Antonythasan Jesuthasan, Nadie Kammallaweera, Ahi Karunaharan, Abbie-Lee Lewis, Gandhi McIntyre, Radhika Mudaliyar, Shiv Palekar, Dushan Philips, Sukhbir Singh Walia, Kaivu Suvarna, Nipuni Sharada, Rajan Velu, Sukania Venugopal, Senuri Chandrani


Kranti Kiran Mudigonda, Janakan Raj, Venkhatesh Sritharan

Costume and Cultural Advisor, Choreographer


Set and Costume Designer

Dale Ferguson

Lighting Designer

Damien Cooper

Sound Designer and Composer

Stefan Gregory


A Belvoir St Theatre Production

Co-produced with Kurinji

Originally Co-Produced with Co-Curious

Co-commissioned by Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals Inc, Sydney Festival, Adelaide Festival and Belvoir St Theatre.

RISING and the University of Melbourne would like to acknowledge Sri Lankan Airlines, The Bowness Family Foundation, Linda Herd and Fiona Menzies for their generous support.

Belvoir Theatre thanks Playking Foundation and Penelope Seidler for their support of Counting and Cracking’s Melbourne season, and to the visionary individuals who have made a landmark contribution to Australian theatre.

Image Credits

Brett Boardman, 2019

Brett Boardman