Care Instructions

Aphids' Care Instructions (thumbnail), photo Yatzek

I’m just a pink sand crab (laughter)
harmless, don’t worry, I go back to where I came from
but not unchanged not
change, brave and factual alteration alteration
brave and factual alteration change



The coarse things are a sign for the finer
the coarse things
and synthetics,

Washing! Your washing! Bring out your washing!
Bring out your washing! Like ‘bring out your dead!’ …

Who remembers the thirteenth godmother from The Sleeping Beauty: the uninvited guest, by whose curse the princess was fated to fall asleep for a hundred years? Now she washes, waiting for her chance to ‘make another better wish’, when, finally, the royal child awakens. Care Instructions delves into rhyme and sing-song to consider the materials, size and cut of remorse. Set in a mythical laundromat, it celebrates the transformative effects of poetry in polyphony, and the allusive charge of piles of washing. Whether as a lone voice or a chorus of knowing women, this potently original work takes up delicate questions about the need to renounce judgement, and discover one’s capacity for self-reliance.

Creative Team

  • Writer Cynthia Troup
  • Director Margaret Cameron
  • Performers Jane Bayly, Liz Jones, Caroline Lee
  • Music David Young
  • Lighting Design Danny Pettingill
  • Video Eugene Schlusser
  • Set Design Margaret Cameron with the company
  • Producer David Young, an Aphids production

Premiere season: Melbourne, La Mama Courthouse Theatre, 2008.

Script published by Aphids, 2009.

Aphids' Care Instructions, photo Yatzek
Aphids' Care Instructions, photo Yatzek

Press & Reviews

… It’s visceral, it’s jam-packed with ideas, allusions to half the dramatic literature of the last five hundred years, pertinent, impertinent, deep and yet very, very funny.
3MBS FM 103.5
Cynthia Troup’s whirl of words unleashes an unstoppable force, teasingly irreverent, fuelled with the spirit of Gertrude Stein and James Joyce.
Malthouse Theatre
Troup’s text, drawing on these [modernist] traditions, is scored as accurately as music, and demands a similar kind of listening.
The Australian

Performance History

31 October–8 November: (video installation) Melbourne, Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts Reading Room
14 August: Holstebro, Odin Theatret, part of the Transit VI International Festival Theatre-Women-On the Periphery
7–26 July: Melbourne, Malthouse Tower Theatre
5 July: (reading) Melbourne, Athenaeum Library, part of the PEN Melbourne Winter Salon
19–29 November: Melbourne, La Mama Courthouse Theatre
21–23 October: Melbourne, La Mama Theatre, part of La Mama’s 40th Anniversary Explorations series of new work in progress

Further Reading

Care Instructions program, Malthouse Theatre (2009); read here

Care Instructions program, La Mama Courthouse Theatre (2008); read here

Cass, Adam, ‘The Writer for Performance’ [interview with Cynthia Troup], in La Mama: Celebrating 50 Years of the La Mama Theatre Company (Melbourne: The Miegunyah Press, 2017), pp. 180–85

Croggon, Alison, ‘Everything Comes Out in the Wash’ [review], The Australian, 13 July 2009; read here

_____‘Review: Care Instructions’, Theatre Notes, 23 November 2008; read here

Troup, Cynthia, ‘Unravelling Care Instructions’, interview [recorded 2010, unpublished], edited by Peter Shaw, 2011

Wells, Simonne-Michelle, ‘Care Instructions’ [review], Australian Stage Online, 20 July 2009;
read here

Woodhead, Cameron, ‘Fantasy Laundry is Awash with Streams of Consciousness’ [review], The Age, 24 November 2008