Art & Design

   

Joanna Murray-Smith’s The Gift

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A week away from the opening of Joanna Murray-Smith’s latest creation; The Gift, Murray-Smith is pleased to say it’s already been picked up for a run on Broadway, even though no boards have been trod. Having had her work performed internationally for over fifteen years is a feat in itself, but to secure staging sight unseen, well that’s a rarity for even the most accomplished Australian playwright.

Obvious talent aside, Murray-Smith puts a lot of her success overseas to overcoming the ‘tyranny of distance’, a problem many Australian theatre makers suffer given how far removed Australia is geographically from the theatre epicentres of New York and London’s West End. By her admission, she has spent a considerable amount of time meeting people “a lot of stuff happens when you meet people, you network, they have a face to your work. It’s far more affective then just sending them a play in the post.”

It is this face time that has seen Murray-Smith’s Honours first public appearance realised as a reading with Meryl Streep, Sam Waterston and Kyra Sedgewick (created whilst studying writing at Columbia University), Scene’s from a Marriage to be directed by Trevor Nunn, starring Imogen Stubbs and saw Annette Bening and David Arquette at the Geffen Playhouse in Murray-Smith’s most controversial piece to date The Female of the Species famously described by Germaine Greer as ‘anti-feminist’.

When asked about the culture of theatre in Australia today though, Murray-Smith is excited as emerging theatre makers now have the means to access a lot more work. “Now is a much more exciting and dynamic time for young writers and directors, as with theatre or any art form you define yourself against what you see.”

The Gift promises a continued exploration of the themes that have resonated throughout most of Murray-Smith’s work; middle class discontent and the role of the outsider threatens to undermine established bourgeois sensibilities, all unfolding like a tense domestic psychological thriller. “It uses the conventions of a thriller to effect significant, profound and personal psychological change, the first act ends on a definite cliff hanger.”

The Gift opens 28th May (runs until the 9th of July by popular demand).
MTC Theatre, Sumner, 140 Southbank Blvd
Directed by Maria Aitken
Bookings: The MTC Theatre Box Office 8688 0800 or www.mtc.com.au


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