Introduce us to YOU. What’s your inventive background? What introduced you to playwriting?
Playwriting solely got here onto my radar after I obtained concerned with MTC’s First Stage program again in 2019. Co-run by EWF, First Stage brings in a bunch of creatives from associated (i.e. rival) artwork types to work on their first play.
I got here into this system from a TV writing background—I completed my Bachelor of Screenwriting at VCA in 2016 and managed to get quasi-regular work writing on a couple of ABC comedies (e.g. ‘Get Krack!n’ & ‘The Weekly’).
I actually loved the contrasting freedom playwriting gave me to seek out my very own authorial voice. Except you’re the showrunner, plenty of TV writing is about matching the voice set by the creator.
First Stage was a possibility to finesse my very own specific voice, and I ended up with ‘Lame’ – a 20-minute play about two mates who suspect their disabilities have all of a sudden change into “cool” after they’re invited to their former high-school-bully’s home get together. After that I used to be a part of MTC’s Cybec Electrical program, creating an early excerpt of the play that might change into ‘Telethon Child’.
I feel my expertise in TV informs my playwriting follow rather a lot. Writing to match the tone of a selected creator, pitching jokes within the voice of a longtime comic – this form of ghostwriting helped me change into extra malleable in my writing, which hopefully helps me preserve my characters distinct.
What’s your play about?
‘Telethon Child’ kicks off at a convention held by Huge Pharma multinational Geneuris.
Because the world’s main professional in a hyper-niche genetic dysfunction, ‘Doc’ is there to compete for the Geneuris Orphan Prize – a prestigious endowment to proceed analysis into an ‘orphan illness’ (a real FDA designation given to ailments so uncommon that there’s no monetary incentive to develop remedies).
To assist his presentation Doc invitations Sam, a former pediatric affected person of his dwelling with the dysfunction. Now in his 20s, Sam is a charismatic influencer adept at leveraging his incapacity and manipulating abled individuals into opening their pockets.
However when Sam makes a transfer on the DILF-y physician he’s crushed on for years, it ignites a murky debate into medical ethics, commerce and the blurry line between medical curiosity and sexual attraction.
Why do you wish to inform this story on a stage at the moment?
As somebody born with a uncommon dysfunction who was typically paraded about in entrance of scholar docs as a ‘fascinating case examine’, I grew up intimately aware of the spectacle of medication – of being stared at, examined, prodded and pathologised.
I used to be additionally aware of the spectacle of charity drives. Whereas I used to be by no means photogenic sufficient to be a Channel 7 Telethon Child myself, I might all the time run into these youngster stars at Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth and champagne with jealousy on the airtime they obtained.
Partly, penning this play was a means for me to unpack the impact these duelling experiences had on me – my physique picture, my intercourse life, my ambition, my narcissism. It additionally turned an experiment in affording extra humanity and nuance to the docs I encountered.
We’re conditioned to place docs on pedestals; turning them into these purely-altruistic, fashionable saints. I feel this does a disservice to their humanity as a lot because it does to sufferers. Sufferers aren’t merely faulty tissue samples, docs aren’t merely pious angels on earth – we’re all simply people that should receives a commission / get laid.
Opening up some nuance into the well being supplier / client divide feels related at the moment as a result of the pandemic compelled so many wholesome & abled individuals to contemplate themselves inside a medicalized system for the primary time.
It was so attention-grabbing to see individuals expressing model loyalty to specific Huge Pharma corps, e.g. Pfizer as a standing image, AZ as an underdog badge of honour. It’s plain that Huge Pharma corps like Pfizer do save lives. Docs save lives, too.
It felt well timed to ask the query: simply how a lot particular remedy and leeway ought to we afford a company, or an individual, simply because they’re within the life-saving enterprise?
What was the method like penning this play?
Growing an early excerpt of this work via Cybec Electrical in 2020 was the very last thing I did earlier than the primary Melbourne lockdown. The performing arts evaporated, and I misplaced all my momentum for a 12 months.
Then once more, this stretch wasn’t completely unproductive – like many individuals I adopted a thousand docs and scientists on Twitter. It was an info-overload on daily basis, however snippets of the medical trade’s practices and strategies and rivalries and cattiness and loftiness and exploitation (giving and receiving) obtained caught in my unconscious.
I began investigating awards just like the Prix Galien and the Pfizer Analysis Prize, side-by-side with a significant binge-watch of Shark Tank. Straight away the form of play crystallised and your complete first draft tumbled out in a day.
What has been inspiring you latterly? Give us a life advice, ANY advice.
I’m endlessly impressed ( / motivated as a result of white-hot inventive jealousy) by my good friend Vidya Rajan, so naturally seeing her phenomenal adaptation of Trying For Alibrandi at Malthouse final week moved me to tears and had me plotting which traditional Aussie textual content I might adapt if I might.