Advertisements for myself ~ theatre notes

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Advertisements for myself

Things might have been quiet on TN (aside from the shenanigans on the Baal comment thread) but that doesn't mean that Ms TN has been idle. No, indeed: life in all its glorious variety has been getting in the way of all my plans. All the same, I have seen quite a bit of theatre, which I hope to write about when I manage the requisite time-wrangling. Watch this space...

Meanwhile, a couple of notes about AC-related activity:

* Some of you might be interested in a piece that appeared yesterday on the ABC website The Drum, which springs off the all-male Miles Franklin shortlist to wonder why literary writing is still so dominated by men. Many of the comments illustrate precisely why this might be the case, but ho hum.

* Meanwhile, on October 16, I'm running a two-hour workshop on poetic form for Australian Poetry at the Wheeler Centre. Basically the idea is to get down and dirty in the poetic workshop, looking under the hood of the machine to see what makes it work. Details and booking here.


DS said...

There'll always be people who dismiss these discussions re: the representation of women in literary fields as 'the sisterhood' having yet another whinge. And, as I think you point out in your piece on The Drum, no one is saying 'Oh, it's all very sexist and we need a quota for shortlists, longlists and we need to start giving the prizes to men and women in alternate years . . . ' But the sorts of statistics that have been emerging recently from literary journals all around the world - and from women playwrights who have started crunching their own numbers (have a read of Therese Rebeck's 'Laura Pels Keynote Address) - warrants at least a few moments wherein all of us who care about this stuff can pause and take stock. What is so threatening in wanting to say, 'Hey, can we at least take a look at what might be happening here?' We need to talk about this stuff, and we need to be able to talk about it without people coming up with reactive statements like 'have you ever thought that maybe women just aren't as good'. We have to get down below the layers of the publishing, theatre and other industries - look beyond who or what is rising to the surface and start to look at how writers are developed and nurtured and edited and marketed etc etc etc. So . . . I suppose what I'm trying to say with that little rant is 'let's keep asking questions' - so great that your piece did that.

And on a related matter, it amazed me that there wasn't the same sort of questions being asked last year when the Patrick White Playwrights' Award came up with a male only shortlist. I'm sure they'd argue that the selection process is 'blind' but I'm aware, anecdotally, of judges being aware on at least one occasion of which submitted play belonged to which playwright. Let's face it - it's a relatively small industry and it would be difficult to find judges who had absolutely no idea of who was developing/working on what. I'll be interested to see who makes this year's shortlist (which comes out in a couple of days, I believe).

Alison Croggon said...

There's been quite a bit of good comment (obviously not in the comment sections) on this issue, all with the sense of "here we go again". Lucy Tartan's comment is well worth checking out.

The only way forward, so far as I can see, requires quite a lot of hard work and commitment. But yes, the first thing is to attempt to see why. Then to get out of the syndrome where we are forced to repeat ourselves ad nauseam (I'm quite sure that the major weapon used against feminists is that one of boring them to death by making them repeat the basics over and over again) and attempt to identify strategies that work, which includes those that are working. Very good to see Porn.Cake last night, for instance.

Jana said...

Dear Alison,

just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your post for The Drum, and how shocked I was at the comments. When you think about these issues for a long time in an intellectually rigorous environment, it can come as a total surprise to realise that large numbers of people have no understanding, nor interest in understanding, the complexity of the issue or of the argument.

Still, I'm sure many people read it and thought about it more deeply, without commenting. They were probably put off by the tone of the comments...

Alison Croggon said...

Jana, thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Sadly, I wasn't shocked by the comments, because that seems to be the tone any time this subject is raised online in the larger sitess. It's one of the reliable lightning conductors.