Participants: Max Gillies, Laurence Strangio, Matthew Delbridge.
Identified audience members involved in the discussion: Jack Hibberd, Anne Radvansky, Tom Considine, Angela O’Brien
Chair: Paul Monaghan
We shall begin our next session. I’m Paul Monaghan, and my role is to say very little. Our first speaker is Max Gillies, and there’s a nice image up there of Max in A Stretch of the Imagination, by Jack Hibberd, which I’m sure some of you will recognise. Recently Max gave me a dvd of a production in Chinese which is, well, ‘interesting’… Most of you will recognise that Max was an important player in the APG at the Pram Factory from 1970 to 1980, and continues to be a formidable force in Australian theatre today. Max was a student on campus at Melbourne and Monash universities from 1959 to 1969, and was in fact a senior lecturer in drama and theatre at a secondary teacher’s college, a precursor to the Drama School at the Victorian College of the Arts, and to what became the School of Creative Arts, which has gone through many manifestations – and is now, in fact, the former School of Creative Arts, in that it has recently been abolished. Max received an Order of Australia medal in 1990 for his services to the performing arts. According to his cv, he began performing Monk O’Neill from Stretch at the age of thirty-five, did another at 50 and is contemplating a further exploration of the role at sixty-five, which we presume is still many years in the future … Thanks Max.
Thanks Paul. I first played Monk O’Neill when I was in my mid thirties and then again when I was fifty and I’ve been talking seriously about doing it again in the near future. In fact we were talking about doing it this year.
But before talking about Stretch, I’d like to say something about Hibberd’s earlier playWhite with Wire Wheels (WWWW), and this morning’s session following Susie Dee’s production [of WWWW] that we saw last night [at the Union Theatre, University of Melbourne]. The session was a rare experience: not simply a discussion about a text and a performance, but one between people who have been wrestling with it now, and those who had first done so forty years ago; actors, directors and audience in both cases. A conversation across the theatre from the actors to the audience, bridging time, regarding a text that we’ve happily discovered retains its pertinence.
Re-reading many of the other plays that are the subject of this symposium, youthful plays written in the late sixties, like WWWW, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover they have not lost their impact. They remain as satisfying as they seemed originally – the exuberance in the language, the boldness of the theatrical impulse, the urgency of their social response and their intoxicating satire. Yesterday I compared their cultural significance with the school of painting that blossomed in outer Melbourne in the immediate post-war years – Nolan, Boyd, Tucker, Hester and Percival. This was a body of work that gave us a new vision of ourselves and a means of comprehending it. In a sense these painters created modern Australian art, making possible all that followed (and without which it would be unimaginable). At the same time their fresh vitality is undiminished.
A similar sort of creative big bang happens in script-writing and play-making at the end of the 1960s, producing a new aesthetic – sufficient to sustain the form for another generation and beyond. Although there had been Australian plays written since before Federation, they had largely been derivative and less than a handful had any lasting impact. After what this Symposium is calling the ‘New Wave’, Australian theatre has never been the same. This morning, David Kendall recounted his ‘shock of recognition’ on first reading WWWW, and the urgency of his need to find a way to convey that to an audience.
The APG at the Pram Factory was, in a way, the laboratory for the theatre that grew out of this moment. And the last time I can remember a conversation like the one we had this morning was at the Pram Factory in the early 1970s. We shared a common interest in ideas, process, theory, [even though there was an inherent suspicion of the place of the director, as a number of speakers said this morning, a suspicion that was not necessarily ideological; history had taught us to be wary of authority and not to grant it too easily. Theatre (particularly in it’s familiar British form) was notorious in this respect. Of course Vietnam and conscription were two big issues locally that became the focus a lot of this and brought out the anti-authoritarian impulse. I think the production last night shows triumphantly how an appropriate director with the right material can be critical.
Jack said something this morning about WWWW that will help me to come to Stretch of the Imagination. What gives a play-text multiple future possibilities is a quality of incompleteness. A sense that the playwright has not provided us with all of the ‘facts’. An exercise of the imagination is fundamental to the play’s realisation (for both performers and audience). The characters in WWWW apprehend a disturbing mystery and the audience last night was freshly troubled by it, confused by it, worried by it. The ‘issues’ that it deals with (gender and class) remain problematic.
Bill Garner touched another resonant nerve for me – his discovery in the APG that ‘personality was performance’, that one could become by ‘performing’ oneself’ as a character’. Now I’ve spent a lot of my professional life essaying politicians, partly out of a fascination with people who live themselves out on a public stage – for whom their performance is their identity. I have a weird fascination with politicians. (I heard somebody on the radio this morning arguing with a talkback host that the one thing you had to say about John Howard, whatever else you thought about him, was that he was the most direct and honest speaker [laughter]. There’s somebody out there who still buys that, someone for whom John Howard is still believable.)
These reflections are germane to my understanding of Jack’s A Stretch of the Imagination. It is a play about performance and personality – about the performance of personality.
I can still remember the impact this play had on me when I first read it. Clearly it was a spontaneous piece of writing – not something that had been worked over or gone back on. Written in a couple of bursts (possibly over the course of a single weekend) its basic diurnal structure contained within its stream of poetic consciousness the self-dramatisation of the hermit Monk O’Neill. (Possibly a case of arrested development – or of development arrested by age and arrogance.) The casting requirement was for one actor only, and Jack had given a copy each to me and Peter Cummins to read.
Whilst I found it rich in theatrical possibility and ebullient wordplay, I remember finding the idea of performing it problematic on two counts. Unaccountable as it now seems to me, I felt I was too young to be able to do justice to the piece. (Patently silly – the author was younger than I was). Of more significance was a conundrum: why should an audience willingly sit for two hours attending to the solipsistic monologue of a comprehensive misanthrope? More pertinently, how could this apparently impossible task be accomplished? Although on the face of it, the piece had formal similarities to the prose monologues of Samuel Beckett, the protagonist reeked of Aussie male swagger, intellectual arrogance, and an indifference to the rest of humanity which bordered on contempt. However one might make theatrical sense of it, the difficulty would surely remain: an audience would understandably react against such sustained provocation. (And notwithstanding the fact that countless productions have found a variety of theatrical answers, I feel this remains the most difficult hurdle to a more comprehensive acceptance of “Stretch”).
In the event I was happy that Peter Cummins didn’t share my reluctance and Jack directed him in the first production. It was one of the most memorable productions in the decade of the APG at the Pram Factory – in a style I’d loosely characterise as poetic naturalism. (In my mind Peter’s Monk is definitive.) Within six months Jack would direct Peter again in a second production, this time more abstract, more overtly theatrical, retaining much of what had been improvised in the rehearsal room. In offering two such divergent stage interpretations Jack could not have signalled more clearly that his project fundamentally differed from Beckett’s. (By prescribing every minute detail of the staging of his plays, Beckett attempted to preserve them in aspic.)
In 1976 the APG took Jack’s production of his play A Toast to Melba to the Adelaide Festival. Having arrived in town a week before opening, we had five nights to take in as many of the Festival offerings as we cared to. Aspects of Max Wall was my first choice. It turned out to be something of a revelation and I cancelled my bookings for the rest of the week, returning every night for another dose of Max Wall. A veteran of the music halls, now in his 70s, Wall had had great success at the Edinburgh Festival with his solo show. The first half was an informal, apparently spontaneous talk to us, as if doing his club act, chatting to latecomers as they were sent past the front row, bantering with the band – standard vaudeville shtick. The second half was an extended routine in his clown persona, Professor Wolefsky. Black tailcoat, tights, big black boots, walking bum-out, a typically English grotesque, he would sit at the piano stool, continually interrupting himself. Commenting on his performance, sharing philosophical asides and theatrical commentary in a manner we’d now call post-modern, deconstructing his act while performing it. It becomes a brilliant commentary on the histrionic arts and the theatrical knights of the time, Gielgud, Richardson and above all Olivier (with whom he’d worked in John Osborne’s The Entertainer). Breaking off in the middle of a line, he would explain what he was up to – drawing attention to the timbre of his voice, explaining the elements of stagecraft (projection, breath control, etc) comparing and contrasting his own style with that of the luminaries. The entire evening became a satirical meditation on the nature of performance and (most illuminating to me) paying close attention to the complicity of the audience.
[Alistair Cook had said of Wall, ‘he has destroyed the art of acting. It takes him only a couple of hours to reduce what we used to call the living theatre to a writhing mass of phonies unmasked.’ The show ‘should be recommended only to enthusiastic sadists. No decent man or woman who cherishes the “theat-ah” will have anything to do with (Max Wall.) On the other hand, if you never have time to go to the theatre, you can see everything now playing in the London theatre in one evening. And laugh yourself sick into the bargain.’]
Wall used to say his greatest influences had been the great clowns Grock and Groucho. If previously mine had been Chaplin and Danny Kaye, Max Wall had become another. After a studying him for four nights in Adelaide, it was suddenly clear to me how “Stretch” might be doable.
I’ve already said my initial apprehension about performing Stretch was based on an apparent conundrum: how could one keep an audience happily engaged for two hours with the solipsistic fantasies of a defiantly misanthropic recluse? Monk’s denial of society was absolute and extended to the whole of nature. (To make One Tree Hill a congenial place to live, his first impulse had been to chop the tree down.) For good measure he was also prone to waves of mawkish sentimentality. What pleasure/satisfaction could an audience get from two hours in the presence of such selfish self-indulgence? What high moral satisfaction could there be in attending on the slow physical disintegration of such a life-denying creature? After seeing Max Wall’s show, these questions suddenly became irrelevant. Stretch need not be a ‘one-way’ experience. On the contrary, ‘meta-conversation’ with this character offered endless possibilities.
My Monk O’Neill would be a combination of the Wall I saw in Adelaide and various people I’d known who existed somewhere on a spectrum with self-absorption at one end and schizophrenia at the other, in the range from mild eccentricity to paranoid ferocity. This Monk would be familiar to an urban theatre audience – typically encountered on a park bench, at a bus shelter or under a bridge. His conversation would be with the voices in his head except when, randomly, with passers-by. For this Monk, the distinction between the real and the imaginary would not exist. Put him in a play, on a stage, and the theatre audience similarly would be enjoined or ignored. Monk O’Neill could be two things in one – a demented social isolate in ‘real’ life, and a vaudevillian in the theatre, an actor before an audience.
By the nineteen seventies it had long been a truism that fourth-wall naturalism had put theatre in a straitjacket, with American cinema reinforcing the problem. Three decades later the dominant mode for an audience at a drama is still voyeuristic, that of the Peeping Tom, the perv. Looking through a door or a window (or a rectangle cut out of a wall of black cardboard). I’ve always inclined to the more robust model that revels in theatricality, offering an implied conversation between performer and audience. Monk O’Neill’s mind with its imagined voices and its violent mood swings suggested a very rich conversation of this kind.
The first part of Monk O’Neill’s day is an extended physical burlesque. Getting his body going, bit by bit. The calves have cramp. The eyes have cataracts. His legs lock, “running round the oval”. He imagines a heroic sporting past. With his engine up and running he becomes conscious of his environment. Is it Wimmera flat and vast, the heat beginning to become oppressive, or is it auditorium-sized, contained and artificially lit? The answer is as irrelevant as the question is meaningless. Worried by the prospect of things hotting up, he inspects the thermometer on his umbrella, not the ‘sun’ in the ‘sky’. The vaudevillian, having achieved mobility in pantomime, and having arranged with front-of-house to hold latecomers till this point, and then direct them down the side aisle from the back of the theatre across the front of the stage to their seats, he has programmed a fruitful focus for his paranoia. Recognising them as enemies (invaders of his space, intruders), he fetches his rifle from his hut, lines them up and stalks them, finger on the trigger till they ‘disappear’ by taking their seats. He decides he must have been mistaken. He reassures himself – ‘Nothing . . . An emu on heat! … Thought I might have been threatened with a visitor. Several years since I had a visitor.’ (But only one evening ago that he’d had an audience, and tomorrow evening he’ll go through precisely the same routine.)
[Editor’s note: What is not at all evident in this transcript is the ‘performance’ that was taking pace throughout this talk by Max Gillies. He was constantly on the point of performing some of the text, which kept the audience on edge, as we were all very much waiting to see the iconic performance of Monk O’Neill (and in many cases, waiting to see it again after a long time). But he teased us with this expectation, almost began to read, paused, digressed, came back to the text as if about to perform, stopped, and so on. Finally, to great amusement, he read one line, and stopped altogether. He finished with the following:]
I was fascinated by dramatic theory, the Verfremdungseffekte, psychoanalysis and epistemology and so on, and obsessively concerned with schizophrenia, mind games, mistaken identity and disguise plots. All are useful referents for Stretch. Although I don’t believe I’d yet encountered Lacan, a very juicy field. For all that, however, I learned more about how to read and how to perform Jack’s play by spending four or five nights with Max Wall.
[After the talk by Max Gillies, there was a short performance entitled STRETCH x 2: Jack Hibberd’s “A Stretch of the Imagination” (episodes from a recreation-in-progress)[v.2.0], devised and directed by Laurence Strangio, and performed by Matthew Delbridge with digital technology. A first version of this performance at La Mama theatre, Carlton, a few months earlier had included John Flaus .]
To kick off the discussion, I will make a comment. Earlier someone said that, as they were watching WWWW last night, and they felt they were seeing something of the past through the prism that is our own inner selves, but also the prism of the present production. And I was also thinking about this. There was a lot of slipping between past and present going on, and then to top it off there was a slight gurgle of a baby over there at one point, it was a beautiful moment pointing to the future. Let’s have some questions from the floor.
[To Lawrence Strangio, in regard to his adaptation] The question is, what on earth were you doing there … why do that with the script [of Stretch]?
We really loved the script, that might not be apparent, but we did. The inception of this came from working with students, who off their own batt did a version of the script, because it was set for them to do, and there was more than one person playing Monk, and a dialogue started to happen. They weren’t dealing with the stage directions at all, just the dialogue happening amongst the lines, like amongst the characters within Monk’s character. And not that specific idea, but from this notion … Matt and I started to talk about it, and we talked about the language being more important than the performance of it as a museum piece, and we talked about the dialogue between the stage direction and the textual action. We started to cut more and more from the script, and with the stage directions being read out, we decided there was no need for those [stage] actions to take place on the stage anymore. And then once the words were there and visible on stage [through digital projections] then their original contextual form was no longer required either. So then we went back to the word play going on inside the script and found more and more word play – some of which may have been originally intended and some of which we may have read into it. And then we created that first performance, and John [Flaus] couldn’t be here for the performance in this Symposium, we started thinking about ways of doing it with John on screen and that became impossible to work against the screen version of John, so we decided to put it all on the screen and decided to have this performance that was on top of that performance. And we get further and further away from the original …
What would John have done if he were here?
Well, we would probably have been very lazy and done it exactly the same as we did it at La Mama … In the La Mama version John was doing live all that you saw on the screen, like a kind of DJ …
One of the exciting things was recreating that original work that we did with John, and that generates a whole new bunch of material that obviously came from the script etcetera but it’s this sort of ongoing evolving artefact that actually isn’t and shouldn’t be complete.
And I don’t think that this version is better than the other version. And I don’t think the other version is better than the original way of performing the play. Those terms are irrelevant in this context, for me this is just another way of looking at it. I think you said, Anne [Radvansky], something like watching the play at La Mama was like watching Jack’s brain.…
Audience member (Anne Radvansky)
I actually thought that, and this is going to be brutal, but I felt that this particular version lost something that the other one had in the intimacy of La Mama
And that was the tactility of having the stand which was an emergent catalogue, not of Monk O’Neill, it was a critique of Jack [Hibberd] and his foibles and his brilliance, and that is like the ultimate post-modern performance, in that you actually saw the thing that it piggy-backed on. And so the relationship with text as you were speeding through it was very funny. In this version a lot of that humour was lost, that’s just a personal view. And I found that enlightening.
And that was always the danger of looking at it this way. I mean we couldn’t have done it the way we did it then, I mean there would have been nothing to look at, and theatrically we could not have done it with John on screen and then Matt live, and then John on screen and so on. Performance wise, all John’s actions followed what Matt was doing. And to reverse that …
Yes, for people who did not see the La Mama version, the thing o the white board that you saw there was obsession with the body, medical stuff, complaints and punning, you know, Jack’s love of the pun. The puns were building to explosion point. And that was really lovely.
Well in the La Mama creation there really were more visual puns and there was a big table full of objects and the stage directions were played with through the objects which were visual puns or allusions. I quite enjoyed it, and I think the presence of John was major and we missed that today, and the substitute was pretty corny, quite frankly I don’t really know why it was there … and what you did in La Mama was give a resonance to the stage directions … And a lot of my friends were deeply offended by this and thought it was treachery, but I didn’t mind.
I always enjoyed the fact that the stage directions had their own lights, even when I read the play and I read it long before I ever got to see a production, at the instance of Peter Corrigan, and it was one of those things where I actually enjoyed the language of the stage directions, and I always wondered how you would substitute for that in performance. And so the possibility of playing with that –
Well it’s a paradox what you are doing with the text, of the original text with the stage directions. In the second production I ignored all those … so it was postmodern irony.
When someone watches a production of the play, they wouldn’t know that in your stage directions when you say adenoids the stage direction says that he says that ‘adenoidally’. The stage directions are so beautifully written, they are just a work all by themselves even though they don’t exist without the text.
And to hear John [Flaus] say ‘adenoidally’, it was gorgeous.
Are there any other questions or comments?
This is going to sound really crass but when you performed the play, Max, and it says he urinates on stage, did you actually take a piss?
No, other people have, and I think probably Peter was the first to do it
Peter [Cummins] did it in the first production
Yes Peter used to work up to it.
Yes I trained his bladder.
As I remember it from the audience it was painful to sit through because you realised that somebody had been holding this in for some time. I’m sure I will seem old-fashioned, or maybe not in this context, but I had this weird notion that if you were performing you should be making it up, that you don’t get drunk to play a drunk, that sort of idea. However, what I did, and I was very pleased with this, was that I had a machine made with a little foot pedal and a piece of hose went into this tank from outside and you were controlling the flow of water with your foot, so the audience would hear a very health stream, or trickle if that is what you needed, and you could orchestrate it, you could mime, and it was a lovely thing to mime, because you could make it a long or short and you could insert pauses where Jack had indicated pauses.
Through a process of trial and error, David Kendall when I directed him, worked out that if he had two bears at the pub across the road at six O’clock he would then need a pee at the appropriate place. But that’s a typical David story.
On the same point there was a political resonance with urinating a few years later. I think it was Andrew Morgan, the comedian, who used to stand at St. Kilda Junction with a wine cask bladder up his trousers, and of course this was when there were a lot of wine casks in 1972 when all these Australian plays were opening, and he used to urinate on an image of Jeff Kennett during an entire change of traffic lights, during Kennett’s period, so you did have a resonance with some political activism later on with that pissing in public.
Max you said there might be another performance, so do you have in mind any possibilities that you hadn’t thought of in previous productions?
What I didn’t get around to saying was that in the two plays I did before, I worked with a different director in each case and I had some discussion about this, mainly with myself, whether to work on it as a pick-up-where-we-left-off with the last director or to essay a new one. And I think I favour that, to work with a new perspective on it, because although it’s a solo performance piece, it should be a productive combination of different ideas and I don’t flatter myself that I have a completely new frame or new way of looking at it. In fact one of the virtues that I would hope I’d bring to it is the memory of the performance, and in fact of the two performances that I did, to some extent, in that evolution of the character, ‘my Monk’ as I knew or thought of him then, he wasn’t a completely different character when I knew him at fifty and he certainly isn’t now. It is a text that won’t lie down and never feels like it’s finished. And often the longer you’re away from it the more you pine for it in some sense. It’s like a friend, an old sparring partner. And that’s why I think it would be good to work on it with someone else, because I know so much about it already.
Well Max, this is a related question. When I saw the play I was astonished by that crystalline quality of the writing, and I thought what a great education it is for young actors to play the role, to come up to the challenge. The first time you did it, did it put acting muscles on you doing those stretches?
Yes I thought it is a very physical play. The first time I did it I was more conscious of the physicality of it. I relaxed more when I was fifty and I thought I’d overdone the physicality of it the first time. When I looked back I thought: did I need to demonstrate everything? No you don’t have to do that. It’s a sort of ‘less is more’ process. I don’t think of it as a more naturalistic performance, but I certainly thought of it as more integrated with myself as a performer. Relax a bit, trust it.
I thought the first one was more physical, but to me you were much more tortured. There was a lot of internal pain. And the second one was more like a carnival. It was more clownish, in a good sense.
Yes well I hope in a good sense, because I also thought, to me there wasn’t so much physical agony, that every moment of his life was either inducing pain or controlling pain, different sorts of pain, so it certainly was part of the idea. I think the second one, the other big thing we did in the second one was that Denis Moore and I, because I’d remembered things that happened in that first production, where we did it as written with two separate acts and an interval, one of the things I found very difficult to do was to recover the audience to my satisfaction after the interval. And it seemed that a simple and direct thing to do was to think of the whole piece as one diurnal story, I suppose, whereas if you do it in two separate acts you’ve got one hot act and one cold act and so on, whether it’s another time or another day or whatever. But if you connect the whole thing and take everybody and go on the same journey you don’t have the problem of having a break and then coming back and saying, now this is a variation, remember what we did in the first half. There’s a sense that people are watching a variation, and it becomes a bit of an arduous task for everybody. So the second time the journey wasn’t to me a struggle with the pain at all times, but it was something about dying. And the bleak action, and it was, was to keep going until it was not possible to keep going anymore. That wasn’t about fighting your body to do it, it was something more internal, something you couldn’t act anyway.
We’ve got time for one last question.
I wanted to make a comment. I loved the performance of WWWW last night, and I’ve seen Dimboola productions of many kinds, from the professional to the , I don’t know, Sydenham local hall, but to my mind Stretch is really your great play, Jack. And I guess I love Stretch, and it has something of, well, its certainly a tragedy, and I would love to see you do it again Max, because I love the notion of a very mature performer [performing it]. And I don’t mean mature in terms of age, but in having the confidence not to fee the play has to be acted, you know, just to be able to let the tragedy and the absurd and the burlesque, just be there in performance. And you know it’s hard to have the courage to manage a text in that way, and particularly if you are a sole performer on stage, just to let the play speak in its own kind of a way, rather than feel you had to embellish.
Certainly looking back on the first production I used to think, why did I make such a meal of the effort? The performance was as much about effort as anything else. I’m not quite sure why. It seemed alright at the time, absolutely the right thing to do. And I certainly wouldn’t want to do it inert, or in a wheelchair or something [audience laughter], because the physicality is part of the enjoyment. I still want to enjoy it, the clowning is there, as you say [Jack], it’s there as a part of the play. We found we learnt that doing it in two separate halves was wrong by just playing it around the country, and finding that it was always an issue for us. And so then we got to a point where we thought alright, it’s a two-hour play, how can we make it a one and a half hour play, we discussed it with Jack, so there was a pragmatic reason for cutting it and there was a choice of which bits would be cut and which bits you couldn’t afford to leave out. And that felt sacrilegious at times, but it seemed to Dennis and I to be a very practical and necessary task we had set ourselves.
And when we played this all around Australia, I remember Jack had done it twice at the Pram Factory, and then about a year later I did it. I had always had a very positive response in Melbourne and Jack you took Peter in it to Sydney, by reports, with some difficulty.
So we took ours to Sydney, and while the Carlton/Melbourne response had been very warm and encouraging to that point for all three plays, we took it to Sydney and we were playing at the downstairs theatre there at Belvoir Street and we had the audience in a L-shape in a corner for the fire doors. And people at different points, usually in the first act, would get angry and walk through the acting space and through the fire doors, deeply offended. And people seemed to be offended by it, and the pissing into the barrel that opens the play really seemed to repel. Well, we were in a very sophisticated town, because only a year before there had been a performance by Gordon Chater ofThe Elocution of Benjamin Franklin, and what one read was that this fat old man came out and masturbated with a picture of Mick Jagger,
You weren’t camp enough!
Well, and I mean I didn’t see it for another three years, but what’s wrong by reputation with an old geezer having a piss, with his back to the audience?
You’re a paragon of bad taste, Max.
Yes, well, hmm, whatever. But Sydney audiences didn’t like us when I spat on the ants, I remember that, when I, um, yes, phlegm, when I spat on the ants, the Sydney audience, he became sympathetic to the ants, that’s the nice thing, the absolute contradiction built into every expression by Jack, and that’s part of the joy of it. So anyway, he spits on the ants, and he’s mortified, they’re his dearest friends and he’s killed them. So he spits on the ants and you know this is what the play is about, why he is spitting on them, and Sydney audiences, even in Melbourne but especially in Sydney, their immediate response was visceral, ooh, ooh! OOH! So I was dreading doing a rural tour because I thought if they [the audience] are like this in town, what are they going to be like in the country? Of course Jack would have know this, coming from where he comes from [Warracknabeal, Victoria], and why he’s written the sort of play he has, you do that exact same action to a rural audience and their reaction is not to go ‘ooh’, but to go ‘aw what?!’ It’s chalk and cheese. They recognise it as the same thing, they respond physically to it, but it says something about their consciousness.
We should leave it there. Could we thank our speakers, please.