The Silence Of The Williamsons (4)

David Williamson has not yet said what plays of his Kristin partly wrote, if any; what money expressed in millions they have in property, shares and family trusts; what ballpark figure will go into his Williamson Fellowship and how often; and what help he has given in the past to rising young playwrights, as Nick Enright did, and Alex Buzo, and Robin Nevin, and Cate Blanchett, and Penny Cook, and Aarne Neeme, and Terry Clarke, and John Bell, and Ken Horler, and Richard Wherrett, and Anne Brooksbank, and I; what lectures he has given in writing, what master-classes conducted, what fledgling plays redrafted, and so on.

What amount, in short, he has given back to the art, and the fellow artists, and what may be called the arts industry, government-subsidised and freelance, that made his fortune and his reputation.

This I urge him to do before his seventieth birthday in twenty-seven days’ time.

  1. Such an interesting question Mr Ellis – is it the duty or responsibility of artists to “give back” to their profession or indeed the public.

    I note that sportspeople at the AIS do not pay HECS. Like Duntroon cadets, they are exempt from university fees and most sportspeople ‘give back’ only by rendering us criminally negligent when they reach the dotage of the commentary box and subject us to their meaningless banter.

    Mark Taylor, for example, should be coated in vegetable oil and fried like the heart attack chicken he promotes, but one could argue he “gives back” to sport, or to the use of ‘mute’ buttons.

    Mel Gibson has certainly given something to the anti-Semites of the world, and Beaver was a fine spoof (it was meant to be funny, I presume?), but like many Hollywood resident Australians, it’s hard to gauge his contribution other than being called ‘Australian’.

    I am not familiar with Williamson’s later works and I’ll take your word they are trite shite, but does he have to invest, nurture, mentor? Perhaps he believes his plays speak for themselves and his legacy is at least a few fine plays such as the Removalists and Don’s Party, the Club and Emerald City.

    I’m not sure if your blog is of a personal or professional. If the latter, then you’ve raised a critical question in the arts, and that is what we expect (or should expect) from those we the taxpayer have invested in.


  2. Mel Gibson gave millions of dollars to NIDA which nurtured his fledgling talent and gave him his big chance. You are a fool not to know that.

    Cate Blanchett gives up tens of millions of Hollywood dollars a year to nurture in her theatre company rising actors and playwrights. Russell Crowe makes a like sacrifice to nurture the talent of young local footballers and perform on stage with little-known musicians he admires. Geoffrey Rush is much involved with the Melbourne Film Festival and the Belvoir Theatre, which gave him his first big breaks as a non-clowning serious actor. Bruce Beresford directs operas in Australia and reads every screenplay sent to him, writing copious appreciations and suggestions to the usually unknown authors. All sacrifice big money to help out Australians.

    It is not unreasonable to ask why David, our richest playwright, does not do the same.

  3. I didn’t think my riposte deserves such a put down Mr Ellis. I wasn’t attacking you, your view or your article; I was merely trying to respond about the nature of what we expect in return from artists.

    You call me a ‘fool’ for not knowing the details of Mel Gibson’s financial input, something I take exception to. I am sure you don’t know everything about every matter, and I am sure you’d appreciate it if your readers didn’t lambaste or ridicule you for everything you may not have known.

    I understood the point of a blog in which you ask people to ‘discuss’ or comment on was to elicit viewpoints, however if you are using genuine input as fodder to attack and belittle and demonstrate superior intellect, then I think that is unfair and also your readership will diminish.

    I have written many salutary words about your articles and have spent money on your books, which I have enjoyed without exception. So, I didn’t know about Gibson’s generosity, and that makes me a fool does it?

    I urge your other bloggers to peer review before posting!

  4. Okay, sorry. I know Mel and hate the calumny heaped on him by the ignorant. He is a fine actor and a good director and deserves better than he gets for having said a couple of things while drunk. As an Australian, he pays his dues.

    I apologise.

  5. I feel like we’ve had a lover’s tiff !… my apologies for over-reacting.


Leave a Comment

* Copy this password:

* Type or paste password here:

10,828 Spam Comments Blocked so far by Spam Free Wordpress

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>