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T here are interesting things about David the playwright along the way but this, unfortunately, is not the core of the book. It is an anecdote which neatly captures the takeover of the theatre by the theorists. The dominance of the directors over the writers in modern theatres is often accompanied by fictions about how the dead playwrights, whose work is being destroyed, would have loved the new productions. Williamson has consistently hated the attacks directors have made on his plays. At the first London production of The Removalists he was distraught when he found that Jim Sharman had set it in a boxing ring and revved up the violence.

The living playwright told the director exactly what he thought. Williamson was on hand to tell the director what he thought. David Williamson has talked and written about the roles of the writer and the director in our theatre. What he says is important and worth listening to, though some critics have treated it as petulance. This homemade biography would have been an ideal platform for him to present his case.

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It was a lost opportunity. The book may have kept the royalties and revelations in the family but an outsider might have given us a more interesting book about Williamson the playwright. Little things offer insights which deserved greater attention. The book is full of boring Whitlam love. The drama of his sacking is again recounted though, as always, there is no consideration of why Malcolm Fraser won a fifty-three-seat majority. The incident allows Kristin to exhume a story illustrating the casual brutality of the Left.

She tells how, some months after the dismissal, she joined a group of bullies in a theatre who sat in the steps blocking the access of Sir John and Lady Kerr to their seats.

The Williamsons have gone fashionably green, and an incident from is retold in the light of their new religion. An aspect of Williamson which his wife does not explore is his skilful use of publicity. Kristin fails to examine how the constant media exposure and public media rows have served as a publicity tool for selling theatre tickets. Behind the Scenes was launched by Cate Blanchett in March. In May Williamson was in the media criticising Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton for their management of the Sydney Theatre Company—at the same time as he had a new play opening at the rival Ensemble Theatre.

David Williamson: Behind the Scenes

The pain he must have inflicted on her is unimaginable. His play A Handful of Friends has a female character called Sally. Kristin both denies and admits that the character is based on her.

Other Titles by Kristin Williamson

Bob Ellis was unflatteringly used in A Handful of Friends and this detonated a noisy, enjoyable and famous public controversy. Ellis has a starring role in the Williamson story.


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Once David even took legal advice about suing Ellis for suggesting he had plagiarised Alex Buzo. Though assured he would win, Williamson declined to continue and deprived us of what could have been a great Australian drama. What expensive wigs would have done with that would have been worth a mini-series, at least. On the Williamson—Ellis bust-up, Kristin was too involved and is too discreet. In the same year, the Williamsons travelled to China.

Kristin had prepared for the trip by reading propaganda books. It is not clear how many more millions Mao would have had to kill to make her husband open his eyes. The more memorable result of their trip was that Kristin took an interest in Chinese cooking. The self-conscious importance of politics in their lives is constantly emphasised, even in the bedroom. They had to meet certain criteria—to be intelligent, not too ugly, not married to or involved with any women I knew, and left-wing. In the Williamsons spent six months at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. David was ostracised by the academics:.

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Nor does Kristin mention that Windschuttle provided the introduction for the published version of the play. Nothing wakes the walking dead. Return to Book Page. Preview — David Williamson by Kristin Williamson. David Williamson is without question one of Australia's most significant and celebrated cultural figures. For over thirty years his plays have been the mirror to which many Australians have turned to see themselves reflected - from the early, coruscating sensations of Don's Party, The Club and The Removalists to the annual smash-hits like Emerald City, Travelling North and David Williamson is without question one of Australia's most significant and celebrated cultural figures.

For over thirty years his plays have been the mirror to which many Australians have turned to see themselves reflected - from the early, coruscating sensations of Don's Party, The Club and The Removalists to the annual smash-hits like Emerald City, Travelling North and Brilliant Lies, Williamson's plays have been the way we have known ourselves. And Williamson's life has been as engaged and interesting as his art.

For thirty-five years, Williamson has been at the white-hot welding point of art and politics - friend of most of the significant artistic and political figures of his generation: Peter Carey, Jack Hibberd, Gough Whitlam, Bruce Beresford, Clifton Pugh, Paul Keating. Through his plays and his articles, Williamson's views have characterised and galvanised generations of Australians.

He has been, above all, passionate. Who better to invite us into that life than the woman with whom he has shared it, his wife Kristin? Kristin takes us behind the scenes - into the study, the dining room, the rehearsal room - to give us the ultimate portrait of the man whose plays have so defined his times and his country. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about David Williamson , please sign up. Lists with This Book.

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