Playwright David Williamson reflects on Emerald City and the parallels it has with his own life.
Emerald City has undeniable links to my own life. In 1979, my wife Kristin and I made the long car journey up the Hume Highway from Melbourne to Sydney, in a second-hand Volvo station wagon stacked with three kids, our suitcases and a large panting and flatulent dog. We were relocating from Melbourne to Sydney. As in the play, Kristin was dubious about the change having been brought up, as all Melbournians were, to believe that “Sydney was in interesting place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.” The Calvinistic Melbournians believed Sydney to be a place of mindless hedonism and loud brash behaviour. Kristin’s mother Hope had a particular aversion to a species of Sydney ladies she called “Bondi Blondes.” I, on the other hand, had always found Sydney exciting. My earliest memory is not from Melbourne but from a sunlight Sydney backyard with bright flowers and birdsong from a parental visit to Sydney relatives. Something in my young brain responded to the subtropical abundance of the city.
As always stereotypes are partially accurate but reality is always far more complex as the protagonists of the play discover, and the play is less a tale of two cities but the more enduring story of the eternal juggling we all do to balance ambition with integrity, lust with loyalty, and selfishness with compassion.
I am thrilled that Lee is bringing the play to life again with such a brilliant cast. Having worked with Lee before on Rupert for the Melbourne Theatre Company I know firsthand just how talented she is.
I am sure that I will squirm in my seat as the play brings back uncomfortable memories of my own far from perfect behaviour, but I’m sure I’ll be thrilled at the creativity that Lee and her cast bring to bear on my words.
David Williamson’s Emerald City plays until 6 December. To book, click here.