Awards awards ~ theatre notes

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Awards awards

I almost forgot to report the winners of the RE Ross Trust Play Award, which were announced at a glittering dinner before the assembled literati of Melbourne on Monday night. The occasion was the announcement of the winners of the Premier's Literary Awards, but we snuck in on their sequinned coat-tails. Such occasions do make me think of Dorothy Parker's report on Literary Rotarians, in which she claimed to have attended a literary gathering after drinking a cup of tea that "tasted very strange".

"When I came to my senses," reports Mrs Parker, "I was in the brilliantly lighted banquet hall of one of the large hotels....By pleading a return of that old black cholera of mine, I got away before the speeches, the songs, and the probable donning of paper hats and marching around the room in lockstep. I looked with deep interest the next morning [different times: Ed] for the bookmen's and bookwomen's accounts of the event. One and all, they declared there had never been so glamorous and brilliant a function. They wrote of it as they write of every other literary gathering - as if it were one of those parties that used to occur just before Rome fell. From that day to this, I have never touched another cup of tea."

But I digress. Unlike Mrs Parker, I was obliged to stay for the speeches, which were judiciously placed between courses and were also nicely short. I enjoyed Richard Flanagan putting a spanner in the works by damning corrupt state government in front of a very uncomfortable looking Premier Brumby, and enthusiastically clapped all the winners. In short, I was a good little Rotarian. And I clapped very hard for the RE Ross Trust Award winners, whom you can read, with judges report, here. After all, as one of the judges, I agreed heartily with the decisions.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps dear Judge, in congratulating all the winners, it might be polite next time, to request the administrators of this award contact the almost 36 other entrants that they did not get shortlisted.

This way, they could clear their minds and steel themselves bracefully and cheeringly think of those who were judged better in their own private hell, before they hear in company of those that did get shortlisted.

True, there is nothing worse than a sore loser, but then again is there anything worse than a poorly judged process?

Your thoughts?

anonymous non shortlisted playwright

Alison Croggon said...

I'm a bit surprised that you weren't contacted before the annoucement, anonymous playwright. But it would be something to take up with the State Library, which administered the award, rather than the judges, who just read the plays. Perhaps, because this is not an award that announces a shortlist, the administrators wanted to keep the tinder dry for the night - word has a way of getting out - but I'm not privy to how those decisions were reached. It does sound a little unfair.

As the far as the judging was concerned, the process was a dream - my co-judges were excellent, and we had frank, interesting and wide ranging discussions about all the plays. I wouldn't feel too bad about not making the cut, because it's not just fatuous buttering to say that in this case the standard was encouragingly high.

Anonymous said...

awesome winners but though

has barry dickens been made a living treasure yet?

Kevin Summers said...

As one who missed out I can only add that I was heartened by the sensitive and considered words of the judges. Of course it would be good if the Library could post a "Dear John" letter (email) but one can assume that nothing in the days preceeding the Award night means it's time to hit the Vat 69.
I'm in the fortunate situation of being able to turn to a large and talented group of my peers to workshop and refine the play ... perhaps even to conclude it to my satisfaction. If one believes in one's work then missing out on some funding is but a small hurdle to jump.