loaf of dread beneath the bough
Saturday, Sydney turned on one of those balmy March days that make you
think that summer will last forever.
had purchased tickets to the 2 pm session of David Williamson's latest
play, Corporate Vibes, and stashed a six-pack of cider and some
goodies in a backpack. As we walked down to the Opera House, sunlight
played on the blue-green waters of the harbour and big, well-formed
white cumulous clouds were piled high on the horizon.
The Club and Don's Party loom like that on the horizon
of the Australian theatre. I loved Travelling North and vaguely
enjoyed After the Ball ... but I came away from Corporate
Vibes with a crick in my tail, feeling dissatisfied.
walked to the gardens and sat under the old fig tree looking out over
the harbour. Joadja had packed crusty white rolls and a pot of fresh
pesto, banana cake, and nectarines. The second cider tasted better than
laid back and half dozed off, watching the sunlight filter through the
canopy and I wondering whether David wasn't using some nifty new software
to hold up his mirror to Australian society.
like the new Adobe PlayWriter 1.0 (installed for Australian English).
do it logically set up the theme template. Select Major Theme
from the menu: Work Within The System to Change It ... yeah, good, connects
with this new mood about civilising capitalism. Very George Soros, Ralston
Saul, Lindsay Tanner.
up the Sub-themes (check boxes here): Aboriginality, Architectural Controversy,
Corporate Rivalry, Reconciliation.
down the Message menu, select a message (Love One Another ... hmmm,
the cast of characters: Let's see: Autocratic Developer (check that
box this is Sydney); Milquetoast CEO (definitely); New Wave Aboriginal
Woman (make her the human resources officer who doesn't want to stripmine
people bit contrived, but pregnant with possibility); Frustrated
Salesman (make him a nice Soth Efrican that'll get a few laughs
north of the harbour); Award Winning Architect with Vision and a Social
Conscience (hmmm, marginal, unlikely, very 60s ... but maybe if I make
him a woman); Shallow Marketing Manager (why not? they'll all know one
of them); Feisty EEO Officer (Feisty! Jesus, I hate that adjective.
I thought this was the Australian English version. Still, the plot demands
it, and it'll give me another strong female character).
step: Character Depth. Two choices here: Apply to All or Individually
Configure ... Aw bugger it ... Apply to All. Pull the slider over to
three ... now ... Plotline ...
in the result it was all very professional and entertaining. It had
some cleverly written lines and a few laughs, but it certainly wasn't
"Razor sharp" as some dingbat wrote in the Tele.
theatre has fallen into quietist piety", Joadja said suddenly,
"I don't understand it really. We're living in the midst of extraordinary
drama. There's the tragedy of nations disintegrating in a welter of
ethnic cleansing, the black comedy of the Olympic bid with the politicians
and the IOC wallowing in luxury, the historical high farce of the Australian
prime ministers grovelling to the Indonesian regime, there's the stolen
generation and the desperate fight to defend the ecosystems and the
rampage of the greedheads and all we get are these homilies about loving
one another. All this amiable, balanced, witty hokum -- theatre you
could take John and Janet Howard to without having to worry about a
scene afterwards ... What we have here is the theatrical equivalent
of Bob Carr's steady-as-she-goes managerialism. There are too many playwrights
and not enough fucking dramatists."
great!" I said "That needs to be said. Write it down. Life
is stranger than fiction. Have you got a working title?"
about Relaxed and Comfortable?", Joadja muttered, and that
was how we left it.