Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Brand Spanking New + short plays

Vanessa and Verity have both taken part - along with a positive embarrassment of new, established and emerging writers in the New Theatre's Brand Spanking New season of short plays. We met some great people, we thrashed our plays around a bit, we had fun. One of the things that was the most fun was simply the task to write something within a short period of time, to have it cast, produced, seen, enjoyed, to have learned from it and then...to move on.

We can get so stuck in the muddy muddy endless process of writing and rewriting and trying to sell a play over such a long period of time because let's face it, opportunities have shrunk over the last ten years. Well, they've shrunk and expanded. The independent scene is quite wild really with a plethora of work being self-produced, or co-produced with teams of new, young, energetic producers. And it's great - a tussle of striving minds and generosities of spirit and attitude all in the interest of making art. But main-stage opportunities have definitely decreased. There are only a very few playwrights in Australia who might write a play a year, learn from that and write another one the year after. Which is what you have to do to practice and practice and practice your craft.

This isn't meant to be a whinge. It's just meant to be a noting. Nothing can change until the macro situation of theatre companies being forced to rely on box office for such an enormous percentage of their budget changes. And that's a policy struggle and also a societal one, because the majority of the Australian population don't feel it to be a priority.

Until that happens adventurous new work - or work that doesn't rake in a big box office, which means work that is unaccompanied by a brand of some kind whether that is the brand of the actor or the writer - will be discriminated against in favour of work that, while hopefully is excellent, also contributes to the bottom line. (Tho' we know that fortunately there are exceptions to this from time to time...)

In the meantime - in, on and out. It was great!

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