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The prominence and vehemence of public debate about Hannie Rayson’s Two Brothers has renewed the public interest in the power of contemporary Australian theatre. Not since the 1970s has there been such mainstream media attention on the work and role of Australian playwrights.
Power Plays capitalises on this moment of renewed and heightened interest by investigating the why and the how of eight contemporary Australian playwrights: Andrew Bovell, Patricia Cornelius, Reg Cribb, Ben Ellis, Wesley Enoch, Hannie Rayson, Stephen Sewell and Katherine Thomson. These writers are passionate about the theatre as a forum for public discussion and they interrogate current issues in their work. Their plays reflect the passing show of cultural, political and economic life in Australia, telling audiences something critical about what is going on: this is the state of play, this is what we are.
The author has conducted extensive interviews with these writers and offers an extended analysis of some of their recent plays.