See article in its original context here by Andrew Fuhrmann for Time Out Melbourne.
Patricia Cornelius on the problem of men and men’s problems.
Few contemporary playwrights can frame a provocation like multi-award-winning playwright Patricia Cornelius. Her latest work, Savages, debuting in August at Melbourne’s fortyfivedownstairs, is a furious study in male wretchedness.
It takes for inspiration the death of Dianne Brimble on the Pacific Sky cruise liner. Brimble died from an overdose of the liquid drug fantasy, but not before she was made an object of sexual sport for a group of eight men from Adelaide.
“There’s no way that you could see this play and not recognise that case,” says Cornelius. “I did as much research into Dianne Brimble’s death as I could.”
The play is also informed by the many scandals involving sporting teams and sexual assault, especially on tour. What is at issue for Cornelius is the release of a savage sense of male entitlement.
“These are men adrift,” says Cornelius, “away from the homeland. There is a sense of being free to do whatever you want. There is a sense that the trip ‑ that life itself ‑ owes you.”
A writer with a highly expressive poetic style, if also politically direct , Cornelius is not interested in naturalistic portraiture. And yet, empathy is at the heart of this project.
“How do you present people who are unloveable?” she asks.