Shakespeare thrusting his bony thespian fingers back through time and teaching us important lessons about fratricide.
Allow me to get momentarily real at you. Right now my fingers are like emotion tubes directly into my heart/insecurity centre. I’m going to dredge up some of the crunk lining my aorta and feed it directly into this blog. So, if you can’t deal with the reality, you might want to step back and open LOLcats. I’ve been questioning my life again, my purpose. Why I sacrifice a bunch of stuff (read: all my freaking money, all of it) for my writing. Am I writing the right thing? Should I be trying to get a job on Neighbours? Should I get a pet Emu?
Longtime readers of this blog might remember that I write theatre. Do you want to know the question I’m most commonly asked about being a playwright? Is it:
a) You must be really creatively fulfilled?
b) How soon can I give you money?
c) Why don’t you write for film or television?
If you guessed A, you and me are probably going to be great friends. We’ll probably get each other, and spend beautiful summer nights sharing some bottles of wine under the stars, talking about art and commitment and dissing on Derrida. If you guessed B then I’d like to request you take me on a helicopter ride.
|I’m so rich, my helicopter doesn’t make spacial sense. Mwahahaha.
But if you chose C, then you are 100% correct.
Theatre is seen as a lesser version of its more popular cousins, television and film. Sometimes people are even enlightened enough to appreciate theatre as some kind of ancient grandfather of these new mediums. Even amongst artistic types, theatre is seen as contesting with performance poetry as the practice which will get you the least money or respect. There even seems to be a feeling at acting schools that performing theatre is a kind of test-run before you get that lucrative audition with Home and Away.
But why am I a playwright? Because I stone-cold love writing theatre. There is a feeling of privilege and morbid delight I get when I hand that script over and see people reading my ridiculous words. There is a artistic kinship that I’ve never experienced in any other form, that is formed by the collaboration between writer, director, actors, designer, musicians etc.
And theatre is a unique artform. It’s not a lo-fi film. It’s not a novel read out loud. It’s not autobiography with friends. It’s a vivid, unique and exciting style of storytelling. The experience of sitting in a theatre and watching people perform live is entirely different to any other medium. It’s so alive. I’m addicted to the feeling of people sitting in a room cacking there goddamn faces off with laugher. Plus, I really enjoy that it’s an artistic form that you traditionally drink alcohol with.
LACK OF STARS:
Holy crap, have you seen any theatre lately? 90% of it is bat shittingly awful. I understand that I’m at a distinct disadvantage – I don’t want to think, feel or have my horizons expanded. If your play is about cancer or Bulgarian hooker ennui, or features nude gents flinging faeces at my face to forcefully enlighten me about capitalism, then I am out of that theatre. I’ll go and look at some ducks and think about how much I appreciate my family or something. Shit, man. Calm the shit down. And don’t even get me started on how goddamn awful most monologues are.
|‘It’s just so… raw’.
And unfairly, this is what most people associate with theatre. And this is what I fight against. Historically speaking, this wasn’t even what theatre did for the most part. The Greeks were stupid into comedies. Aristophanes has some plays WHICH STILL MAKE ME LAUGH. I mean, the excessive dildo humour really wears itself out by the fourth act, but maybe dildos were funnier in Ancient Greece. If I had a time machine, I’d deliver that dude a freaking vibrator. He’d lose his shit. And then write a play about it. And the undead king of the stage himself, William H Shakespeare? He wrote a bunch of goddamn comedies. But what do you usually study? Tragedies.
There is a lot of wonderful theatre out there. Some of it classic – I’m a huge Stoppard fanboy. I love Australian theatre – Lally Katz is a personal hero of mine. And some of my peers in Australian theatre at the moment are truly and astoundingly funny and talented. Check out Ali Sebastian Wolf or Alex Cullen when you get the chance. And I’m extraordinarily lucky enough to have gathered a bunch of awesome, talented people to be in a little theatre collective with me, which we call Sexy Tales Comedy Collective.
I don’t know what this says about me. Am I arrogant enough to truly believe my writing is better than 90% of all the other theatre out there? That I can redeem theatre with my unique brand of absurd comedy epics? Not… publicly. I don’t have a shirt which reads ‘My theatre is better than yours’. And not really. Because when it all boils down, I don’t write to change or influence or really achieve any goal. I write because I love it. I would write if there wasn’t anyone reading or watching. I would write into the void. The question is, would the void write back?
I’ve kind of lost my train of thought. What have we learnt? Do what you love. Even if it doesn’t make you money.