Αυστραλός θεατρικός συγγραφέας εμπνέεται από αρχαίες ελληνικές τραγωδίες


Tom Holloway

  • Οι αρχαίες ελληνικές τραγωδίες αποτελούν σημεία αναφοράς των έργων του Αυστραλού, ανερχόμενου θεατρικού συγγραφέα, Τομ Χόλογουεϊ (Tom Holloway), σύμφωνα με δημοσίευμα της εφημερίδας «The Sydney Morning Herald» .
  • Το νέο έργο του Τομ Χόλογουεϊ, με τίτλο «Love Me Tender», παρουσιάζεται στο Belvoir St Theatre του Σίδνεϊ και είναι εμπνευσμένο από την τραγωδία του Ευριπίδη, Ιφιγένεια εν Αυλίδι.
  • Το έργο επικεντρώνεται στη σχέση ενός πατέρα με την κόρη του και στη σύγκρουση μεταξύ της ευθύνης ενός πολιτικού ηγέτη απέναντι στην οικογένειά του και απέναντι στην κοινότητα.
  • Όπως επισημαίνει ο ίδιος ο Τομ Χόλογουεϊ, «ο Ευριπίδης, ο Αισχύλος, ο Σοφοκλής χρησιμοποιούσαν προϋπάρχοντες μύθους και ιστορίες, για να μιλήσουν για τα ζητήματα της εποχής τους» . Κάτι ανάλογο κάνει και ο ίδιος, καθώς η θεματολογία των αρχαίων εξακολουθεί να είναι επίκαιρη και βαθύτατα ανθρώπινη. [ΑΠΕ- ΜΠΕ]

Drama from ancient Greece, via Tasmania

The Sydney Morning Herald, March 19, 2010

Thinking big ... Tom Holloway and Matthew Lutton.
Thinking big … Tom Holloway and Matthew Lutton. Photo: Heidrum Lohr

A rising young playwright makes classic themes resonate again, writes Adam Fulton.

Tom Holloway is on the move and it’s not just his upward trajectory as a young, awarded playwright. He moved to Oslo about a year ago after marrying a Norwegian he met during a stopover in Singapore and has since returned regularly to Australia.

He’s planning to move back for good later in the year but, with his sights set on Melbourne and his Tasmanian roots running deep, flights to and fro will be likely.

The sense of motion is amplified as he discusses Love Me Tender, which opens tomorrow at Belvoir St Theatre under the direction of Matthew Lutton, another young theatre maker turning heads. Holloway, 31, has just left a plane from London, where he was doing theatre work, and is in Brisbane en route to another flight. The background cacophony features bustling voices and a screaming baby and his voice drops out and in on a mobile phone as he makes his way.

»It’s all a bit mad-packed at the moment,» he says, almost breathless at points but thoughtful and affable the entire route.

Holloway’s profile has risen steadily since his first full-length play, Beyond the Neck, set against Tasmania’s Port Arthur massacre, was staged at a London festival and in Tasmania in 2007. It won the Awgie Award from the Australian Writers’ Guild for best stage play and had a season last year at Belvoir St Downstairs. The follow-up, Don’t Say the Words, marked his first collaboration with Lutton and was shortlisted for last year’s Premier’s Literary Awards. Commissions for Bell Shakespeare and Melbourne Theatre Company are among his current work and he has written a libretto for an opera in Munich.

»Suddenly it’s kind of all taken off this year,» he says.

Holloway has drawn from the Greek tragedy Iphigenia at Aulis by Euripides for the dialogue-rich Love Me Tender, centring on family relations and conflicting responsibilities. He first looked to the ancients for 2008’s Don’t Say the Words, drawing from Aeschylus, but his approach came more by chance than design.

»I had a short play and wanted something to extend it – wanted a narrative structure to try to explore it more – and that led to Don’t Say the Words,» he says. »And I kind of accidentally found a process that I really enjoyed – in that sense of doing something ‘inspired by’. These works are in no way adaptations.

»Euripides, Aeschylus, Sophocles, they were all writing using existing myth and stories to talk about contemporary issues … So the thinking in that gives me the freedom to go back and do the same thing, basically.»

The ancient themes – such as flawed characters inhabiting a world of grey morality – resonate as strongly now. »They’re deeply human,» Holloway says. The stories have been told a multitude of times – »whether it’s a parody in The Simpsons or the latest action flick» – so audiences are often familiar with them, even if not consciously. »It lets you be very free in what you do on the stage.»

But the Greek tragedies didn’t resonate much with Holloway when he was doing his arts degree. »I did incredibly badly … writing these plays I got to go back and do the work I should have done when I was at university … They actually mean something to me now.»

He also studied in NIDA’s playwriting studio in Sydney and in London. He had become interested in theatre at high school. »Then, after school, I pretended that I was a great actor for a while – and realised I was a shithouse actor and almost kind of fell into playwriting,» he says. »But now I love it.»

Love Me Tender, set in a stylised Australian backyard, explores notions of family, love, aspirations and how what Holloway calls »the sexualisation of culture» is influencing childhood. It also delves into the effects of bushfire on the Australian psyche – an element almost inevitable given Holloway was writing the play in Melbourne the weekend of the Black Saturday bushfires last year. »There was no getting away from it.»

At the play’s heart is a father-daughter relationship and the man’s struggle between responsibility to his family and, as a civic leader, to his community – echoing a Greek leader’s dilemma between family and his battle-ready navy in the Euripides work.

In Love Me Tender, five actors – Colin Moody, Belinda McClory, Arky Michael, Kris McQuade and Luke Hewitt – carry the dialogue. But that was Lutton’s call. Holloway’s script intentionally leaves open the number in the cast; it does not name characters or attribute what is said to specific ones. It also leaves out stage directions.

»I purposefully, completely left it up to Matt [Lutton],» he says. »It was in some ways an offer to him to go crazy, go wild [with] what happens.»

Lutton, the 25-year-old director of Perth’s ThinIce Productions, says the playwright »uses simple words to articulate extraordinary events» in the piece.

The pair were brought together by the Griffin Theatre Company’s chief, Nick Marchand, for Don’t Say the Words – a Griffin co-production, as is the latest work – and they hit it off, leading to what Holloway calls today’s »very warm working relationship».

»I felt like he took my play and created this world that I couldn’t have seen but yet came from my play,» Holloway says of Lutton, admiring how »he’s not afraid to think big». The pair have other projects planned for next year – including the Munich opera, The Secret Life of Words – and beyond.

Meanwhile, Holloway is likely to be on the move. A trip home is among the first priorities. The past year was »the longest I’ve ever been out of Tasmania in my life. And I feel it,» he says. »I think Tasmanians feel very uniquely Tasmanian. So I need to get my Tasmania fix soon.»

Love Me Tender opens tomorrow and runs until April 11 at Belvoir St Theatre.

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