In the 1930s, letters of extortion were written to the migrant Italian community in North Queensland’s cane growing districts. Mano Nera – the ‘black hand’ – was the name of the group claiming responsibility for the letters. But was Mano Nera a slick criminal organisation, or simple-minded thugs?
Either way, Mano Nera instilled fear that divided the community. Australians argued for the deportation of the Italian migrants. While the Italian community, who had bravely fled political oppression and a fast deteriorating society to make North Queensland their home, faced a choice. Would they put up with their reputation being sullied by the actions of Mano Nera’s desperate men? Or would they flight for the privileges their adopted country could offer?
Mano Nera richly evokes the tense stand-off between the British authorities and a divided Italian community desperately trying to make the most of its hard-won freedom.
Mano Nera was first presented by Queensland Theatre Company at the Bille Brown Studio in June, 2005. It was Winner of the Queensland Premier’s Drama Award in 2004-5.
"…[an] intensely visual rendering of the tribulations of a small, almost claustrophobically confined community in a harsh physical environment."
— M/C Reviews
"Winner of the  Premier's Drama Award and developed in association with the Queensland Theatre Company, Adam Grossetti's new play richly evokes the tense stand-off between the British authorities and a divided Italian community desperately trying to make the most of its hard-won freedom."
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