As we approach opening night for The House on the Lake , playwright Aidan Fennessy talks about the particular nuances of writing a crime narrative.
My ambition when writing this play was twofold; engage an audience with an intricate narrative and to challenge myself as a writer to achieve this using only two actors and one setting. I was also keen on playing with genre. I began with a hunch about where the idea would lead but found myself in numerous cul-de-sacs during the drafting process, due to the fact that in a narrative like this, you need to mask a lot of information but not too much as you risk leaving the audience too far behind for too long. It’s also a narrative that relies as much on what is said as what is not said. Crime narrative will always, eventually, concern itself with the truth and theatre is the perfect platform in which to examine the binary oppositions of truth and lying. The great paradox of theatre is that it is a tightly constructed lie designed to reveal truth. It’s an elaborate con. The thriller used to be the real estate of theatre until film stole it in the latter part of the 20th Century. But, like any audience, the task here is to track just when, what, who, how and why. Just as in real life, our psychic, social, emotional and sometimes physical survival depends on our ability to detect lies as well as the truth. It’s been estimated that we can now expect to be lied to between 10 and 200 times on any given day. In this early part of the 21st Century you could be forgiven for thinking that lying has reached epidemic proportions. Lying is the new black. I hope you enjoy this production and thankyou for supporting new Australian theatre.
Aidan’s play Brutopia won the 2010 Griffin Award and his Chilling and Killing My Annabel Lee was part of Griffin’s 1999 season. His plays have been produced by Melbourne Theatre Company, Queensland Theatre Company, Griffin Theatre, HotHouse, Playbox, Rock Surfers Theatre and Black Swan State Theatre Company.