Written by Greg McGee (an ex Otago, Junior All Black and NZ Universities team in the 1970s), Foreskin's Lament was a play performed throughout the turbulent times of the early 1980s in New Zealand.
Although rugby has moved on since the ugly Springbok tour of 1981 and the rise of professionalism in the mid 1990s, the ugly side of rugby culture in NZ sometimes rears it's head, as it does in this play. Particularly sexism and homophobia, which to my mind are still rampant in some areas of the land.
The play, set in 1976, circles around the circumstances of a violent club rugby match that has fatal consequences. It premiered at the time of New Zealand's most politcally turbulent period, and Greg McGee was a brave writer to put it forward, particularly when a conflicted New Zealand public was dealing with a major national identity crisis.
I can see why it would have hit such a visceral nerve, particularly because it not only asks questions of the characters within the play, but questions the audience in a confrontational way (if directed boldly).
Update: March 2011
A theatre company in Wellington called StageCraft will put this production on at the Gryphon Theatre in May of 2011. I've been waiting to see a production of this for some time but sadly will still be out of the country when it's performed. Still to anyone in Wellington, I would recommend going along to see it. And if anyone is willing to write a review of Foreskin's Lament for this blog, I would be very grateful!