MONDAY MUSINGS WITH PATRICIA CORNELIUS
See article in its original context here by Theatre Alive.
Multi award-winning playwright Patricia Cornelius is the author of numerous plays, screenplays and even a novel. But did you know she initially trained to be an actor?
For this week’s Monday Musings, she discusses her new work, her approach to writing and her history with Melbourne Workers Theatre.
1)Firstly, tell us about Savages. How did the idea come about?
Most of my work takes some kind of issue with gender. Savages is an investigation of men in a pack. It looks at the possible triggers for their anger, and embitterment and basic disappointment with their lives. The number of incidents in the media concerning men in groups in teams, on holidays, in the street, and their terrible behaviour, mostly towards women, made me interested in taking a good hard look at them.
2) Did you always want to be a playwright? What path did you follow to get to where you are today?
My first real introduction to theatre was as a student at Rusden College. I wanted to be a very fine actor and began gradually writing plays so I could be in them. The playwriting took over as I became more confident about the craft. The path for me was to form a company so that you almost give yourself an apprenticeship of sorts. Get your plays on. Small venues with like-minded friends.
3) What does a typical day involve for you?
If I’m working on a new play, my day is mostly centred around my desk and the garden and the kitchen. I write, I pull some weeds, I reward myself with food.
4) Tell us about the Melbourne Workers Theatre, of which you are a founding member.
MWT was where I cut my teeth as a playwright. It was a company that was vibrant and full of zeal. It wanted to make theatre about class and gender and race. It was an important company which made exciting work and introduced many fabulous theatre makers to the industry.
5) Who inspires you? Who are your theatrical heroes?
I’m inspired by many of my fellow playwrights. I read or see their work and am often overwhelmed by their craft and vision.
6) What advice do you have for aspiring playwrights?
Don’t get stuck in endless workshops and reading and developments. Get the play on anywhere you can. La Mama is wonderful! And then write the next one and then the next one.
Savages is playing at fortyfivedownstairs until 8 September.