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THANKS for the in­for­ma­tive ar­ti­cle on Aus­tralian theatre (‘‘Hooked on Classics’’, May 25-26. I’ve no prob­lem with adap­ta­tions per se, but if di­rec­tor Si­mon Stone sees other peo­ple’s work as some­thing to be ‘‘raped’’ and ‘‘pil­laged’’, I wouldn’t want him within a bull’s roar of my weekly shop­ping lists, let alone Shake­speare, Ib­sen or Arthur Miller. Helen Jack­son Hig­gins, ACT THE ar­ti­cle ‘‘Class Ac­tion’’ (May 11-12) was about a so-called in­no­va­tive group of Melbourne in­de­pen­dent theatre com­pa­nies in­volved in Melbourne Theatre Com­pany’s ‘‘ground­break­ing’’ Neon Fes­ti­val of In­de­pen­dent Theatre. But when you look at the works listed in the ar­ti­cle that make up th­ese groups’ reper­toires, the names are all rather fa­mil­iar and safe: Ib­sen, Ten­nessee Wil­liams, Medea, Oedi­pus Rex — all pieces from the canon. An­other is The

Story of O, based on a French erotic novel. Th­ese are all be­ing used as the ba­sis for the groups’ ‘‘new’’ work. There is not much ev­i­dence of the real cre­ativ­ity in­volved in writ­ing new sto­ries from scratch — new nar­ra­tives, en­tirely from the writ­ers’ own imag­i­na­tions. In­stead, most of the plays to be pre­sented re­ex­am­ine al­ready lauded reper­toire or bor­row from the no­to­ri­ety of oth­ers — in other words, old rep with a new twist. When are we go­ing to see writ­ing that gen­uinely re­flects the sto­ries of our time? Karen Wil­sher Mont Al­bert, Vic­to­ria HELEN Garner has pro­vided an in­sight to the dilem­mas faced by the writ­ers and the judges (usu­ally fel­low writ­ers) who be­come en­meshed in the web of lit­er­ary awards (‘‘The los­ing game of writ­ing books to win’’, May 18-19). She should be re­as­sured that most book lovers ap­pear to be loyal to their favourite au­thors, re­gard­less of of­fi­cial ac­co­lades, wel­come as they may be: the bond be­tween reader and writer is in­tan­gi­ble, per­sonal and non-ne­go­tiable. Garner may yearn for the time when ‘‘doc­tors and lawyers’’ no longer feel the need to con­fide that ‘‘my wife’s read all your books’’, but his­tory is on her side. As the years pass, more and more of the doc­tors and lawyers will be women. Pamela Chip­pin­dall Wool­lahra, NSW FAR be it for me to comment, in re­sponse to Adam Bain’s let­ter (May 25-26), on Steven Fry’s phys­iog­nomy, but we do have a run­ci­ble spoon. It com­bines the fea­tures of a spoon in that it has a bowl­shaped part and a fork in that the front of the bowl bears three small teeth. It is mainly used for ex­tract­ing pick­les or chut­ney from a jar. The teeth cap­ture the more solid parts while the spoon lifts the more fluid part. It works very well and might well be used for eat­ing ‘‘mince and slices of quince’’. Eric Walsh Mount Pleas­ant, Western Aus­tralia To be con­sid­ered for pub­li­ca­tion, let­ters must con­tain an ad­dress and tele­phone num­ber for ver­i­fi­ca­tion. Let­ters may be edited for length and clar­ity.

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