News & views
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.