MTC Literary Director, Chris Mead

Cybec Electric | Enjoying the Ride

Imagine seeing your favourite play in the early stages of its development. What if Romeo and Juliet had originally ended differently? How would the extended draft of Joanna Murray-Smith’s Honour read? Did the characterisation of John Proctor in The Crucible change much from Arthur Miller’s early drafts?

After announcing MTC’s 2016 Cybec Electric series earlier this month, we wanted to share a few words from MTC Literary Director Chris Mead who spoke about the daring nature of play readings at one of our previous Cybec Electric Opening Nights. He spoke so eloquently about this fragile and exciting moment in the creative process that we wanted to share an excerpt of his speech here;

While it may be true that MTC has no problem these days with four letter words (thank you Mike Bartlett) I’d like to talk briefly about a scary eleven letter word: play reading.

With changes coming as late as 5.38 this evening, play readings seem to give actors shelter – the script is in their hand – but the actors are still expected, and are busting a gut, to act, not read – no looking down! Working with what seems like a finished product but with many discoveries still to be made, we ask that you meet the ambition of the work with the dynamism of your imagination.

I often feel terrible vertigo before a play reading – it’s the fertile but awful tension between the planned and the accomplished, the moment and the whole, the remembered and the real, the living and the dead – especially when history is so present in these plays.

Theatre privileges the voice, voices, of reckoning, of dignity, of power – in all their ingenuity, silliness, contrariness, fury and joy. Here, we fail again, we fail better. And we’re doing it together.

So, grab hold of a neighbour, and enjoy the ride.

Learn more about each of the plays included in this year’s Cybec Electric, running from 25 February – 5 March at Southbank Theatre, The Lawler. Tickets start at $5 for U30s, with 4-play passes also available. Book now

Published on 2 February 2016

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