The Removalists

by David Williamson

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

In the Australian play The Removalists, Kenny Carter is killed by a police officer. Kenny, depicted as a high-spirited and humorous but physically aggressive young man, is married to Fiona.

A conflict within a suburban Melbourne police station is played out between the veteran, Sergeant Dan Simonds, and the young rookie, Constable Neville Ross. The two men have polar opposite views of human nature and police procedures.

Fiona Carter, Kenny’s wife, is a naive young woman. Part of the action is concerned with Kenny’s physical abuse of her and Fiona’s apparent passive acceptance of the abuse.

Kate Mason (or Kate Le Page), Fiona’s older sister, has married into the upper middle class and developed a superior attitude and expensive tastes. Her efforts to intervene in Fiona’s marriage by filing a police report inadvertently cause Kenny’s death when the police officers’ participation in teaching him a lesson, rather than conduct an official investigation, disintegrates into brutality.

Rob is the removalist (better known as a moving man in the U.S.) working in Fiona’s apartment. As he tries to focus on his work, his indifference to Kenny’s plight and reluctance to interfere with the police make him complicit in Kenny’s death.

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