October 25, 2011
Some time ago, an American colleague dropped me a line to suggest that I get to know Ross Mueller and his plays. Reading his work, I was struck by the lyricism of his words and the diversity of form from one piece to another. Newly installed as the Artistic Director at Geelong’s Courthouse ARTS, the jovial and insightful Mueller etched out some time in his schedule to talk with me about a range of topics, including his process, his experience with overseas residencies, and how being an Artistic Director is impacting his work as a writer.
“When (audiences) are coming to a new work, it is important to give them something they haven’t expected, and that they are treated with respect.”
I read four of your plays; Zebra!, A Beautiful Gesture, Construction of the Human Heart, and, Concussion, and was struck by how stylistically different each one was. Can you tell me a bit about your process? Where do you start? And how do you find your way to the form?
When I approach a new work, I’m looking at story first. I come to find my way to the form through the content.
I feel that in theatre we have the opportunity to play with form more than you do in some other mediums. It’s about a community experience of taking an audience on a journey into a different world. (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…)
July 23, 2011
Chatting with me by phone from her Footscray, VIC home, Shannon Murdoch was game enough to be my first ‘guinea pig’ for The Australian Theatre Project. We talked day jobs, new play development, and her recent Yale Drama Series Award.
“When The New York Times was trying to figure out where Footscray was, I knew life was not going to be the same.”
How do you describe your style?
I guess it is sort of a heightened realism. I don’t think about it when I’m writing, but it’s realism in a heightened emotional state. (more…)