On Writers

David Williamson – "Rupert"

Melbourne Theatre Company, director Lee Lewis.
Running time 90 minutes.
24th August – 28th September 2013.

David Williamson's "Rupert" is monumental. The stage play exhibits a life twisted by the corruption of power; with every success Murdoch's life becomes, more and more, a satanical frolic. The style of drama is episodic, a series of kinetic tableaux, a dramatic burlesque, insulting, defamatory, derisive. The acting is very good, while this form of stage-work makes little call on acting skills, so the players can enjoy exaggeration of the caricatures, the three Packers' fat-paunched greed, say, or the snarling Margaret Thatcher slaughtering the Belgrano, or Ronald Reagan thugging through the Central Americas.I recall years back, talking of the successes of onetime Pram Factory Theatre members, Max Gillies saying, ‘Yes, but all our best work came after leaving the Collective.' Williamson left the Pram Factory while Gillies worked on, but the taunting and fearless courage of this work owes much to Williamson's stage-time in Carlton.

Murdoch appears as his current self, so is ever in charge, as in life, and alongside his young and developing self, the youngster excited by power and influence, from whom the old and grotesque ghoul has grown.