A weird but inescapable fact— making theatre is to cause a huge group of artists with a huge variety of skills and creative drives to come together to produce a single, comprehensive, cohesive piece of art.  It’s a miracle that not more blood is spilt over it.Read More →

  The word theatre comes from the Greeks. It means the seeing place. It is the place people come to see the truth about life and the social situation. — Stella Adler I was reading an article about the 2014 film “Selma”, a Black rights film. The director was saying that the release of his film could not have been more timely, with the latest round of civil unrest regarding violence against black people in America. The Black Lives Matter movement had by then caught the attention of American and world media. He did not claim to have designed the film to coincide with the tumult,Read More →

“One must never place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn’t going to go off. It’s wrong to make promises you don’t mean to keep.” —Anton Chekhov, 1860-1904 Good Old Chekhov’s Gun Theory. It mostly works on the principle that everything within a story should be necessary to the telling of it.  Gun on stage?—someone gets shot for sure.Read More →

A good few years ago, an Australian dramaturg I know stated the obvious (dramaturgs are good at that, and, damn it, someone has to do it); love first, then disaster, he said with power and panache as if it were a profound elemental truth of the world in general. I’m going unpack what the statement means, and then I’m going to point out the obvious—we don’t use this piece of advice enough when we are writing.Read More →

There is a drive toward “Excellence in the Arts”, and there probably should be. I do find the phrase slightly bothersome though.  It’s just that ‘excellence’ in creative expression is utterly relative and subjective.   You could go to the best opera with the best opera singers in the best opera house in your best opera frock or suit, expecting ‘Excellence with a capital E from Art with a capital A’, and yet walk away feeling empty and unmoved.  You could go to a community project with all kinds of ‘non-excellent’ theatre practice going on, yet be moved to tears and uplifted to heaven. SoRead More →

A friend of mine is leaving town. She’s going to live at the other end of the country. I’ve known her, and worked with her on and off, since 1994. She is still reasonably young, and she’s off for a fresh start. Tonight some of her nearest and dearest friends organised a huge farewell theatrical event in which all kinds of people could go up on the stage and make an impact statement—big, small or ludicrous— about how this artist had changed their lives. The resulting bonanza made it clear; artists can and do leave very big footprints within their community.Read More →