July 28, 2011
It was late night for Christine Evans, and morning the next day for me when we spoke – she in her Providence, Rhode Island home, and I in Sydney. I was particularly keen to get Christine’s insights on the differences and similarities between Australian and American theatre because she has been living in the U.S. for over a decade, which gives her a unique cultural vantage point. Not only did she tell me about Australian theatre, but she gave me new glimpses into my own native culture, from her “in-between” perspective.
“Making the transition has forced me to be an internationalist. I feel that I don’t quite belong anywhere. It is the collisions between things that really catch my ear and eye now.”
How long have you been in the U.S. and what brought you there?
I have been here nearly 11 years. I moved over here to do the MFA in Playwriting at Brown, thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship. After the MFA, I had only been here two years, and I felt that I was only starting to get my feet, (more…)
July 23, 2011
With kids on school holidays, Hilary Bell had a full schedule when I asked her if she’d talk with me for this project. Undeterred, Hilary offered up her kitchen table as a place for a chat. Over tea and cake, she told me about her love of Sondheim, her experiences at Julliard, what it was like growing up in a theatrical family, and why being a part of 7-On is so important to her.
“Being a playwright is always ultimately collaborative because you don’t write just for yourself, but for the many interpretations that come between you and the audience; but, there is a period where you can sit in your room for many months with no one to talk to. While I enjoy that, I am at a point where I am looking to work with dancers, and painters, and aerial acrobats, and see what else theatre can be.”
I am struck by the uniqueness of your style. It hardly seems to fit easily into a “category.” Do you have a way of describing your style?
For a long time, my aim was to never repeat what I had done. That was not because I wanted to dazzle and be brilliant, but to see what was out there and explore different possibilities. (more…)
July 23, 2011
I kept hearing praise for Patricia Cornelius’s play Do Not Go Gentle. After it won this year’s prestigious New South Wales Premier Literary Prize, I was determined to get my hands on a copy of the script. In true theatrical small-world form, it was a colleague from the States who put me in touch with Patricia. I ended up having this lively, animated phone conversation with her.
“People can sneer at the notion of theatre as a political tool, but it has to be part of the fabric, trying to shift and contest notions that are out there.”
Did you begin your career in theatre as a playwright, or did you start out in other roles in the theatre?
I worked as an actor for some time. It took me by surprise that I started to write. For a long time, I didn’t have the audacity to call myself a writer. I called myself an actor who wrote a bit. (more…)