Multi award winning playwright and director, Aidan Fennesy, is set to make his long awaited return to Red Stitch Theatre with his own play, The Way Things Work – a topical and wicked satire about men, power, bribery and blackmail and the lengths they’ll go.  An apt overview when we understand that the idea for the play began during the Howard era.

“It seemed to me that we had entered an especially ‘male’ dominated period in politics if you can even say that,” says Fennesy. “We went to war for the most spurious of reasons. Economically, big business was booming on the back of mining and culturally we once again sat and watched the rise of the super heroes; muscle bound head kickers (mostly from the private sector, Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark etc) whose own individual moral compasses save the world by again proving that ‘might is right’.”

aidan-2 Featuring Joe Petruzzi and Peter Houghton, The Way things Work, seems  to be not only a testosterone fueled journey into the domain we have come to expect as ‘mans’ but really does seek to explore the phenomenon that is ‘man’ and what that equates to. Not big on messages in plays (“Who am I to tell an audience how to suck eggs?”) Fennesy was, however, interested in discovering what lurks within the muck of corruption – how it works, why it works and what its effects are. “Corruption comes at a cost and in this play I’m looking at both the winners and losers.”

Fennesy not only writes to challenge, prod and reveal but he also writes for actors and the stage – and that is a big deal.

“If it works I’m interested in anything live, ” he says. “I do believe in the primacy of the actor on stage. And of course I’m interested in new, original narratives. Adaptations as a class of ‘work’ generally bore me senseless and are usually lazy marketing exercises trading off established ‘names’. More often than not I see no need for them. But, happy to be surprised”

Fennesy has had a long and versatile career in what is ostensibly a fickle industry. With plays being produced at MTC, QTC, Griffin, Malthouse, Playbox, Hothouse and many more, his career spans decades. Fennesy has also received the Wal Cherry Award; was short-listed for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award; won the Barry, Griffin and People’s Choice awards. He is a dramaturg, actor, and one time associate director at MTC. With plays that have garnered rave reviews, Fennesy is currently writing a new work for MTC and will be directing a new work in Hobart.  “Apart from that, ” he says, “I’ll be dipping my toe into the world of prose for adults and for children.”

The Way Things Work is a relevant, contemporary, character driven piece promising wit and grit.

Says Fennesy: “If you like watching brilliant performances and having a serious laugh then come along. If you don’t then I’m sure there’s something old and irrelevant being trotted out again that you won’t find at all challenging.”

January 31 – March 5