Our June picks for tertiary study
John Kachoyan - AustralianPlays.org Literary Manager
Michael Gow and Angela Betzien are writers that I include constantly in my recommendations. Why? Because they write brilliant, smart and really moving stuff. While their styles (and generations) are very different, they are both astute observers not only of dialogue and manners, but of the more complex territory of politics and zeitgeist. Across all of their plays there is a strong, sometimes truly critical voice about the way we, as a society behave but, at the same time, there is a powerful connection to (and empathy for) who we are.
Betzien’s THE DARK ROOM is a tangled web of narratives. A group of characters in the Northern Territory in a hotel way out off the beaten track work their way through their own dark nights of the soul. Only it’s not the same night, or the same time. This epic and poetic work is harrowingly intense. It demands strong, emotional and tightly focused performances and inventive direction and design. This is a cracker piece for a hungry group of actors!!
Gow’s THE FORTUNES OF RICHARD MAHONY is a great big, old-fashioned epic! Based on Henry Handel Richardson’s original novel about the Eureka Stockade in 19th Century Ballarat, Gow has fashioned a large-cast, full-length work of real epic scope and political power. Despite the fact that it is faithful to Richardson’s novel, it has a strongly modern feel to it. This is partly to do with a sense of modernity in the language, but largely it is Gow’s beautiful artistry; his sense for what sits at the heart of our experience as humans and as Australians that speaks so eloquently here. This is a marvelous chance for a large cast, big palette production with massive group scenes and beautifully-etched roles for all, from the huge title role to the small characters who only appear fleetingly
Tom Healey, Literary Manager