The isthisyours? production team have taken David Williamson’s classic The Club and given it a female makeover, well, given themselves male make-overs as the all-female cast take the piss out of the chauvinism that existed in the testosterone-dripping world of football – circa 70s Melbourne. The play has a few shows left to see this week, in the meantime, I caught up (via email – he is in sunny Queensland, lucky bastard!) with writer David Williamson to get his take on the project and on the problems with toxic masculinity.
Joy – It must be gratifying to have a work re-imagined in such a bold new interpretation in 2018, is this the first time that that has happened with one of your older plays?
David – I get lots of revivals of older plays but up till now I haven’t had such a radical re- imagining as this.
Joy – Did your family who saw the show at the Belvoir feel that the current production did the story justice, if not what did they see as faults?
David - My son Jonathan and his family thoroughly enjoyed the re-interpretation. They commented on how the all- female cast worked so hard and were so talented and funny. If they saw faults they didn’t pass them on to me.
Joy – Toxic masculinity didn’t exist as a concept when the original Club was written, how do you think it can be effectively stamped out, especially in regard to violence against women?
David - One would like to think that toxic masculinity could be eradicated by an increased awareness of how much damage it does to women, but it doesn’t seem to be that simple. Men have seemingly got better at mouthing the right attitudes (or platitudes), but the regular eruption of yet another piece of appalling behavior towards females by sporting males would be seen to suggest there’s a fair way to go.
Joy – What do you see as fundamental differences (if any) in the way men and women approach theatre writing/making?
David – Good writing is good writing irrespective of gender, but if one can generalize (and one probably can’t), a lot of male writing, as with The Club, is acutely observant and aware of power and status struggles which consume so much of male life and energy. Female writing tends to acknowledge that co operation and connection is sometimes possible.
Joy – What is next for you theatre or writing-wise?
David – I have two plays written, which are scheduled for future production and I’m excited by them. I tend to think that wisdom does accumulate with age and that I’m more able to see the nuances and vicissitudes of human behavior more clearly these days. What writers offer of value, above all else, is insight into human motives, and I think we often make a mistake in endlessly searching for the new kid on the block and ignoring the accumulation of wisdom in our elder statepersons.
That will be it from thebuzzfromsydney until after Christmas, so special thanks to David Williamson and many happy returns for the Festive Season from me to all my readers and your loved ones, take care and travel safe!
There are still some tickets left for the last two shows, for more information see: https://belvoir.com.au/25a/the-club/