Saturday, 28 April 2007

The first project: 7-Needs For 7-ON

On Wednesday December 6th 2006, Nick Marchand, Artistic Director of the Griffin Theatre, launched the 2007 program. Along with the other exciting new Australian plays was 7-Needs. This project incorporates 7 ten minute pieces scattered throughout the year with a final production that brings all 7 together.

7-ON Playwright Verity Laughton made the following speech to introduce both the plays and the group.

"We’re a group of seven people writing primarily for theatre. We’re all based in NSW. Between us we’ve had more than 147 pieces of writing produced for mainstage drama, television, radio, community theatre, theatre for young people, youth theatre, dance, video, film, puppetry, theatre of image, physical theatre, and musicals; we’ve won more than 30 awards between us, our time in the business adds up to 126 years and our work has been produced in fifteen countries.

So we’re claiming provenance.

We’re a group of very different writers. We don’t think or act or write much like each other. But, in these tough times, we’ve decided to make a commitment to each others’ art and to each others’ careers.We got together towards the end of 2005.

We put together a credo. We have seven points to our credo.

It’d take too long to read it now but there are seven points to it and they are in shorthand as follows:
We want a space in the theatre environment for writer-initiated projects, and we want to place the writer at the centre of that space.

We want – not readings, workshops, script development programs but – productions. Seven of them. At least. On stage.

We want to choose our collaborators.

We claim the risk-taker’s right to fail.

We want diversity – of form, style and subject matter.

And lastly, what people see shapes their vision of what is possible. This is an extraordinary opportunity, and responsibility, for a playwright. We’re claiming it.

7 NEEDS FOR 7 ON is based on Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs. Maslow was a twentieth century psychologist who believed that basic needs must be met before human beings can evolve. He devised a hierarchy of human needs that are physiological. social and lastly, spiritual. They can be tabulated in a number of ways.

For our purposes we have separated them into seven.We sat around a table at the Old Fitz (we meet every six or so weeks in a different theatre foyer – watch our for a theatre near you!) and pulled small scraps of paper with the following ‘needs’ written on them out of the nearest thing we could find to a hat – namely a rather well-used plastic bag. We then wrote a ten minute piece based on that need – they are food, shelter, sex, safety, belonging, respect, and spirit. We could write what we wanted – believe me, the results are all VERY different.

They are going to be staged one by one throughout 2007, culminating with a final staging of the whole lot together. Come along for the ride!"

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