MTC Season 2011 opens with the world premiere of Don Parties On, the sequel to David Williamson’slandmark hit Don’s Party.
It is especially fitting to present this production on Williamson’s 40th anniversary as a playwright.
“I’m honoured to be involved in the world premiere season of Don Parties On. This landmark theatre event is a momentous occasion for Australian theatre on the eve of David Williamson’s fortieth anniversary as a playwright,” says Producer, Rachel Healy in a recent interview with The Daily Telegraph. “Don Parties On is fresh, topical and relevant, a story told by characters we already love. I’m delighted to be collaborating with Melbourne Theatre Company in bringing Don Parties On to Sydney and to be working with such an incredible creative team”.
In 1971, Don’s Party was the play in which the young Williamson found his satirical line and length. The original production was set on the night of the 1969 Federal Election at Don’s house, where he, his mates and their long-suffering wives drank and argued through a long night in which the failed promise of their lives uncannily mirrored the thwarted Labor victory.
Don Parties Onis set on 21 August 2010, the night of our recent Federal Election and, of course, yet another election night party at Don’s place. Over the decades, as he and his friends watched governments come and go, they have also closely followed the incoming results from each other’s lives: the tallies of luck and misfortune, the unexpected swings for and against. And through it all, the lesson that this crowd of superannuated Baby Boomers never seemed to learn is that politics and strong personalities should never be mixed with alcohol.
Forty years ago, an aggressive young playwright muscled his way onto the scene with a clutch of time-defining plays, including Don’s Party. With his sequel, Don Parties On, Williamson celebrates four decades of telling the tribe their story.
“The circumstances of this election alerted my dramatic instincts,” says Williamson. “The toppling of Kevin, the rise of the Lycra Kid, and the Labor party’s back down on just about everything important made me feel big issues were at stake, and that the result was going to be close. It was going to be a night of drama, both for the nation and for Don’s old friends.”
As funny, provocative and moving as the original, Don Parties On again holds a mirror up to Australian society. How far have we come in four decades? What have we made of our personal lives? And what lessons will be passed on to the next generation?
David Williamson is one of Australia’s most loved playwrights and an MTC favourite. His expansive career crosses both theatre and the silver screen. Some of his major works include: Don’s Party, Siren, The Department, Dead White Males, The Club, Travelling North, The Perfectionist, Emerald City, Money and Friends, Brilliant Lies and Let the Sunshine. Williamson has won four AFI awards and the Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE award eleven times. He has received honorary Doctorates of Literature from the University of Sydney (1988), Monash University (1990), Swinburne University of Technology (1996) and the University of Queensland (2004).
Don Parties On opens Thursday 13 January, 2011 at 8pm at the Arts Centre, Playhouse bookings 8688 0800 or mtc.com.au and has Robyn Nevin directing a sensational cast including Diane Craig, Georgia Flood, Darren Gilshenan, Robert Grubb, Frankie J. Holden, Sue Jones, Tracy Mann, Nikki Shiels and Garry McDonald.