In June 1789 in the penal colony that was later to become the city of Sydney, a marine lieutenant decides to put on a play to celebrate the king's birthday. He casts the play with the English convicts who populate this distant Australian prison camp. Few of them can read, let alone act, and the play is being produced against a background of food shortages and barbaric punishments — juxtaposed against the civilizing influence of theatrical endeavor. The "hangman," himself a convict, has been recruited along with a woman, wrongfully accused of stealing.
Even as the play is being rehearsed, he measures her for a noose
Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre - University of Houston