How to make theatre in a land where people try to reassure you with the phrase, “no dramas”? How does the assumption that a lack of drama is good affect what theatre companies do with Australia’s playwrights? I have tried to answer that in this State of Play essay at australianplays.org
Visit, read and cause a scene if you should care to
Andrew Bovell’s Platform Paper, Putting Words in their Mouths: the playwright and screenwriter at work, was published in August this year, and I’ve finally made the time to read it. Andrew is one of Australia’s finest dramatists, and is as generous, thoughtful and intelligent a person as you would hope to meet.
His essay on his work and his life at work reflects these qualities. There is so much to love in the 74 pages published by Currency House, but here are five of my responses. Continue reading “5 Things I Learned from Andrew Bovell’s Putting Words in Their Mouths”
I’m a dual citizen of Australia and the allegedly United Kingdom. However, for the time being I’m back in Melbourne with my young family after over a decade in London, and I’m returning to the idea that I am, for better or worse and wherever I reside, an Australian playwright. This is where I was born and became established as a writer. I learned an incredible amount being – and remaining, I hope – in London’s industry, but wandering around what is now my local park has got me thinking about how our environments might shape our attitudes to the most basic of things without our consciously knowing it.
For I have to say, some plays that fly for audiences in Australia seem to be impenetrable for audiences in the UK. In my time reading for UK theatre companies, I listened to other readers express their incomprehension at some writing from Australia that I loved (and knew that others in Australia also valued). There’s a book by the drama critic most important to the New Wave of 1970s Australian drama, Katharine Brisbane, that goes by the name, Not Wrong Just Different, the title taken from one of her reviews where she celebrated a newly-emerging and self-conscious difference in Australian drama. What contributes to this difference?
And, so, my tiny hypothesis is to do with trees.
That’s right. Trees. But why? Continue reading “Comparing Trees to Plays (a few thoughts #8)”
Story of the Red Mountains, commissioned by NIDA, premiered at Sydney’s Carriageworks in 2012. Tom Healey introduces the play, now available for download.
It’s a play dear to me for all sorts of reasons. I got to work with the wonderful Anthony Skuse during its development with second-year NIDA students. The production gave me the chance to reunite with director, Tim Roseman, with whom I had worked with on productions at Theatre 503.
Set on the night of the referendum to ban communism and anyone “who may become a communist” in Australia, 1951, it’s a large cast play, juggling hope, politics and violence. (Does this dynamic ever go out of fashion?)
I’m extremely pleased to share the news that my play, Keith, will be one of the plays featured at this year’s National Play Festival at the Adelaide Festival Centre in Australia. Playwriting Australia’s annual event really is on the bucket list of every playwright born or living in Australia.
More information about the Festival, the other plays and participants can be found here: http://www.pwa.org.au/npf-2015-homepage/