Tuesday, 19 June 2012

A Tuesday grab-bag

First up, a bit of shameless promotion: A reading of Good With Maps on 24 June at 5:00 pm at the Griffin Theatre.

Good With Maps at is one of my monologues-cum-performance essays. I wrote it for myself to present—which I have done, and will continue to do. But I'm also interested in exploring the possibility of the piece having a double life, hence this Parnassus Den reading, directed by Kate Gaul, with actor Heather Mitchell reading the work. Here’s some info about the piece:

When the world map was full of gaps, the Amazon topped the list of places unknown to western explorers. In 2012 are there any ‘unknowns’ left? On a trip to the Amazon, the writer ponders this and other questions as she struggles to deal with her father’s journey through Parkinson’s disease towards what is perhaps our last great unknown. If that makes Good with Maps sound grim, it’s not. Yes, it’s sad and confronting in parts, but it’s also funny and thoughtful and celebrates the power of reading and literature to transport us to places both real and imagined.

Moving on … yes, they’ve shifted them to the State Library, but the only real change I could see in the allegedly revamped NSW Premier’s Literary Awards was that the price tag had jumped to $100 per entry. In many, maybe most cases, this fee will be paid by the writers. Sigh. Also on the matter of revamped awards, this time the Richard Burton Award. I’ve been thinking about this full-length play produced in the last 3 years to be eligible thing, and what it says. And I think it says: hey, we’re sticking with the status quo, we’re happy with the status quo; we’re only interested in the same writers as everyone else, the writers other companies are already programming and producing. Not only that, but if you unpack that requirement a bit more, it gets worse. Given all the current discussion about the under-representation of women playwrights and how hard it is for them to get their work on (not to mention other 'diversities' we see far too little of on our stages), then to have this last 3-years thing is not only going along with the status quo, but actually compounding it!

On a happier note, I saw Lachlan Philpott’s Truck Stop the other week. What a great piece of writing it is. (I really liked the direction too.) Tight, terse, deftly structured, it mashes down-to-earth teenage sound-bytes with the poetry of theatre. If I were a judge, I’d have given it a playwriting prize, no question.

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