Last night I attended the UK play Damages by Steve Thompson at the New Theatre Sydney. This is set in the editorial office of a UK tabloid newspaper late at night before the deadline. The staff have to deal with issues of ethics, the public interest, the law and their own tangled personal relationships, while under the clock to get the presses rolling.
The cast of Michael Briggs, Alan Faulkner, Pamela Jikiemi and Matt Rossner do an excellent job, as did the set designer. The play does loose a bit in the translation from the UK, with some references to English locations having less resonance in Australia.
The play would make an entertaining and thought provoking night out for those in the media and the law. Even those working on web sites will find something relevant in this. Perhaps the New Theatre should have updated the setting of the play to the offices of a web publisher, like Crikey.com. The minute details of what goes on in a newspaper office otherwise may seem a little "last century" to a 21st Century Internet audience.
While on the subject of new media, this is an area which the New Theatre is yet to explore. Perhaps they could start with a dramatization of the Royal Commission into the Australian Wheat Board (formally know as the "Inquiry into certain Australian companies in relation to the UN Oil-For-Food Programme"). That would provide a ready made script , which some of the New Theatre actors have already performed for current affairs TV programs in reenactments of the hearings. The courtroom could be reproduced on stage and the large video screens which were part of the courtroom could display TV coverage of the events to provide context.
The projection technique was used to effect for the play "SHADOW OF THE EAGLE" By George Blazevic and Ingle Knight. The play was set in Labor Prime Minister, John Curtin's wartime office. A screen projected 1930s style newsreels to provide a context for the confrontation with General Douglas MacArthur.
I wrote "While on the subject of new media, this is an area which the New Theatre is yet to explore. Perhaps they could start with a dramatization of the Royal Commission into the Australian Wheat Board ...".
But have just noticed that such a play has already been produced, "Deeply Offensive & Utterly Untrue" and performed only a couple of kilometers from the New Theatre, at the CarriageWorks.
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