This is journalism. It’s the best we can do with the information available.
On 22 July 2005, an innocent electrician – Jean Charles de Menezes – was shot seven times in the head by police officers at Stockwell tube station. Media coverage of the killing is at the heart of Oh Well Never Mind Bye.
James Fisher’s news team, Charlotte, George and Finn, are struggling to write up the day’s events in time for the evening deadline. When police shoot a man dead at Stockwell underground station, their responsibility to report the truth is tested by political pressure, professional rivalry, career expediency and personal resentment.
Written after extensive research and interviews with working journalists, this timely, provocative and often humorous play is set in a fictional newsroom. The team is caught between the need to report the truth and pressure to toe the line.
Director Gary Abrahams is a writer/ director and actor and has always wanted to be involved in a theater life. he started his life in South Africa but studied at NIDA:
"I grew up in suburban Johannesburg, South Africa- at a time when boys played rugby and girls took home economics. Two years into an Arts Degree I came on holiday to Oz with a mate and on a whim decided to audition for NIDA and VCA. I got into VCA and two months later I’d packed my bags and moved to Melbourne. I was 19. After VCA I worked as an actor in theatre and TV (now and then) before moving to London for about 4 years. It was there I started making my own work, and when VISA issues became a bit too tricky to ignore I returned to Melbourne and VCA to undertake a Masters Degree in theatre making."
His work is very important to him and when asked how he prepares for his working day he said: " Dream and fantasize while lying in bed. I enjoy allowing myself intricate imaginary journeys into the work I’d like to create and the artist I’d like to be. "
In describing what he does on a daily basis, he answered: " I just say I’m a theatre maker. If they seem genuinely interested I’ll go into further detail. I’m getting to a point where I no longer feel I need to try and justify what I do to more corporate minded professionals. I think having spent a bit of time in Europe and New York has helped me with that- theatre is such a part of the culture there that no-one blinks an eye when you tell them what you do."
And the best piece of advice he was ever given: " I don’t think I have ever been ‘given’ advice. I glean it from all the interviews, biographies and articles I read about my favourite artists. It really boils down to having the courage to forge your own path and playing by your own rules. There’s no point trying to play by the rules you perceive to be in play- they change too often and they’re made by a world that doesn’t know you…yet."
A political drama exploring the rise of “churnalism” in the 24-hour news cycle, set against the backdrop of the 2005 terrorist attacks in London. Oh Well Never Mind Bye can be seen October/ November 2010 at Red Stitch ActorsTheatre.