On the first night of Brisbane Festival 2023, Playlab Theatre opened its new work Unconditional, written by and starring Seán Dowling and Cameron Hurry.

Directed by Brian Lucas, with dramaturgy by Ian Lawson, Dowling and Hurry’s sharp script follows a married couple as one of them begins to transition, ultimately asking whether love can truly be without conditions.


Seán Dowling and Cameron Hurry in Unconditional. Photo supplied

Unconditional is a two-hander, told largely through alternating, duelling monologues, delivered direct to the audience. Crafted as answers to the unheard questions of a counsellor, these monologues slowly unravel the pains and priorities of the two people in the marriage: one who has recently come out as a transgender woman and begun to transition, and one who is struggling to come to terms with his partner’s identity.

Both characters are striving to justify themselves and their position to the counsellor as they unpick their love story up to this point, share anecdotes from the life they have built together, and reflect on their own separate pasts. Over the course of the play, through mixed metaphors and miscommunications and increased introspection, the monologues become a dialogue...