This year’s National Play Festival playwrights answer Five Questions about playwriting craft and writing inspirations.
One Woman. Four Men. She could be with any of them; on a date at the Gold Coast, watching a suburban football match, moving into an apartment in Albert Park, or at forty, happily married with a nine-year-old son living in Campsie.
Steve Rodger’s searing investigation of domestic violence King of Pigs was developed at our National Script Workshop in March 2016. We talk to Steve Rodgers about his play King Of Pigs, ‘fire in the belly’ plays and gender bias.
This play deals with a very hot topic, was there a specific incident that triggered you to write a play about it?
It’s always a lot of stuff, normally personal, mostly social, sometimes political… this one has been brewing a long time, but mainly it’s about now, being a father of two daughters and a son, and knowing the opportunities and playing field for my daughters isn’t equal. And beyond that, I’m gutted by daily news feeds detailing women dying at the hands of men.
The play’s structure is very specific, with a single female actor confronting four different male actors in numerous scenarios, why not have four female actors as well?
Truthfully, it frightens the hell out of me, the play replicating the gender bias that exists… but it somehow doesn’t let us off the hook. What this one Woman goes through in the play – the one Actress must also experience – and I feel like it thumps home how systemic, universal, and ingrained male power is – how it transcends culture and race and class – this one woman could have been with any of these men, from all walks of life, but it actually doesn’t matter – she’s still treated as unequal, or other.
There is a lot of darkness and ethical dissonance in this piece which any sensitive person will find confronting, could you help us understand the light and clarity the piece invites us into as well?
The play believes in romance, and love, and attraction, and women and men having fun, and non-binary positions – and evolutionary we’re still really young on this planet, and the change in the last 200 years, let alone the last 40 000 years, has been immense, between the sexes, and who knows? The human experience has a long way to go.
Is it fair to say that this is a play for Men specifically?
It’s a play very much about men because I’m a man, but I hope it’s about all of us, a bit.
This play seems to have a more intensely focused theme than usual. Is it fair to say it is a ‘fire in the belly’ play?
Yeah, it’s what I hate about it. I hate political plays. I’m into blurred human drama, where right and wrong are grey, where individual psychology rules the dialogue, and character motivations are suspect… and then I realized that’s what this is… there’s no neat answer thematically to this thing I’ve tried to write… We’ve got a problem.
Wednesday 27 July, 2pm
Saturday 30 July, 4pm