‘We are very excited to present three of the nations most accomplished writers for our 2012 Cybec Readings in the Lawler. They are all three very idiosyncratic visions and all at different stages of their development. Come along and find out what they’re all about,’ said MTC Associate Director Aidan Fennessy.
As well as being an established and celebrated actor, Kate Mulvany is a rising star of Australian playwriting and made her MTC mainstage debut in January this year with The Seed. Her play The Rasputin Affair depicts the legend of the Mad Monk’s assassination. For Mulvany, who has always been obsessed with Russian history, it wasn't a stretch at all for Rasputin to became a character she wanted to explore onstage. His final night, in particular, holds fascination for Mulvany because, she says, it was just such a bizarre, farcical sequence of events. However, the more she found our own politicians being influenced by religion and its figureheads, the more she saw the correlation between the two worlds. So her inspiration has been both historical and modern politics.
"Russian history and politics is incredibly complicated and layered," she says. "The trick with The Rasputin Affair was to avoid getting too bogged down in the minutiae of historical detail and instead endeavour to make the play a clear, character-driven piece that is still truthful in its storytelling. And funny. Humour is everything, especially in pieces dealing with politics and mortality. If an audience can find humour in the darkness, they tend to take in the lessons that go with it a little more readily too."
Since 2009, the Cybec Readings have been supported by The Cybec Foundation and are, simply stated, a platform in assisting young people get off to a good start. The three (Kate Mulvany, Richard Flanagan and Daniel Keene) young and emerging playwrights chosen for MTC's programme are offered rehearsed play readings which give them the chance to develop their work by having it directed and read by professional artists in front of a live audience.
Mulvany's involvement with the programme has been an ongoing and supportive one. "I've been developing The Rasputin Affair for a couple of years for MTC and it has reached the stage that it is ready for public viewing and response as part of its growth," she explains. "The Cybec Readings offer the perfect platform for this, and I was thrilled to be asked."
As a playwright, Mulvany finds that political manipulation is a theme that entices as well as family – first and foremost, she states – and Religion. So it is not surprising that this play covers all three. However, playwrights are (and must be, I feel) curious individuals thus life itself becomes a never ending fount of inspiration. "Every single person has not just one but several stories in them," she says. "That's inspiring to me. And so I ask a lot of questions from as many people as I can in order to fill my soul with stories."
The Rasputin Affair will tickle your funny bone but also raises many thought provoking questions about the political arena and its leaders. Mulvany hopes that audiences go home having had a good laugh as well as being reminded to remain vigilant towards 'always, always, always' asking questions of those who lead us.
Discover the latest works-in-progress by three exceptional Australian playwrights and play your part in their development at MTC’s 2012 Cybec Readings. Kate Mulvany, Richard Flanagan and Daniel Keene will have their plays publicly read on 27, 28 and 29 September, 7pm at Southbank Theatre, The Lawler.
The Cybec Readings are proudly funded by The Cybec Foundation. The Curtain and The Rasputin Affair are MTC commissions.
The Rasputin Affair Thursday 27 September 2012 at 7pm Ronnie Gospers Friday 28 September 2012 at 7pmThe Curtain Saturday 29 September 2012 at 7pmVenue Southbank Theatre, The Lawler Tickets Adult $10 (or 3 plays for $24*) / Under 30s $5 Bookings Southbank Theatre Box Office 8688 0800, mtc.com.au or at the door