Our September picks for tertiary study
7 Sep 2015
John Kachoyan - AustralianPlays.org Literary Manager
The two plays I have chosen this month both come from Melbourne-based, male playwrights - and the synchronicity stops there… Where Matt Cameron’s poetic Tear From a Glass Eye is mystical, atmospheric and mysterious, Gareth Ellis’ A View of Concrete is, as its title suggests, dystopic and urban. Both have wonderful, strong worlds and feature strong and crisp texts, evocative and powerful in their different ways, and equally potent as theatrical experiences.
Matt Cameron’s Tear From a Glass Eye premiered at Playbox in Melbourne (in a co-production with Cameron’s company, Neonheart). It was directed by Simon Phillips and was an enormous hit for the company. It went on to be produced by the Gate in London, which led to Cameron’s nomination in London’s Evening Standard Awards. Set in the desert - in the wild and weird landscape that is at the heart of our country - this is an absurdist love story, in which Cameron examines the damage and strangeness of love. Full of rich, evocative and poetic text, this is a corker for those who love their theatre heightened and lush. A detailed discussion of Cameron’s themes and ambitions in this work is contained in What I wrote: Matt Cameron.
Gareth Ellis’ A View of Concrete was premiered at Malthouse Theatre after it won the Wal Cherry Play of the Year in 2004 (Tear From a Glass Eye also won this award). At first sight, this is a grungy, dystopian naturalist piece and, while all of these descriptors are absolutely accurate, they miss what is central about this play: that it is really, really funny as well. It opens with one of the finest monologues I know in Australian playwrighting - light, fanciful and delicate, but very painful - and then careers into a crazy mess of drug addiction and crime. Ellis’ voice is strong and evocative in this work, and deceptively poetic. This has wonderful roles for twenty-something actors and a huge challenge for design and direction. If you’re looking for something a bit ‘street’, then this could be your answer. Smart, captivating and unequivocally tough.
Tom Healey, Literary Manager