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Playwright Patricia Cornelius is savaging stereotypes

See article in its original context here by Simon Plant for Herald Sun.

CAN a woman write a tough play about modern Australian men?

Patricia Cornelius has been asked that question during the writing of her latest play Savages.

“Some people have even asked me, ‘Do you have the right?’,” the award-winning playwright says.

See article in its original context here by Simon Plant for Herald Sun.

Her reply: “My job as a playwright is to write character. The gender is immaterial.”

She scoffs at “some male writers” who claim not to write about women because they don’t understand them.

“I think, ‘Come on, that is just bulls—‘. Henry James wrote beautifully for women. You don’t write for women because you’re not interested.”

Cornelius is perhaps best known for 2010’s Do Not Go Gentle (winner of the 2011 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Drama).

Savages, opening this week, portrays “four ordinary men who go beyond the pale” and unpacks the dark side of mateship.

“I’ve chosen blokes who are around 40, that difficult time when you’re realising the dreams you dreamt of as a young man are not going to come true.”

She also takes a frank look at the sexual behaviour of male packs – wayward sportsmen come to mind.

“Hopefully, these are full-bodied and funny and full of contradictions,” she says. “That way, when the situation turns sour, your feelings are more complex.

“By the end of the play, you certainly know what they’re capable of and what they’re about to do. You feel the tragedy of it.”



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