Writer’s Note: David Williamson, RHINESTONE REX AND MISS MONICA

22 Feb 2023

I’ve never written a romantic comedy before and I didn’t think I was writing one when I started to write RHINESTONE REX AND MISS MONICA back in 2010. It was actually based on a real story; I’d heard of a well-known woman in the arts who had renovated her house and eventually fallen in love with the guy who came to do it. I loved the feel of the story. It’s one of connection between two lonely people with a sort of happy ever after ending as their relationship did last many years. But as I started to write my fictional version, I realised I was following age-old conventions. In good rom-coms, it’s never love at first sight. In extreme versions of the genre, it’s almost hate at first sight. In my fictional case, it wasn’t at all hate. It wasn’t even dislike of each other. It’s just that they very much disliked each other’s musical tastes. Gary, AKA Rhinestone Rex, is a minor country and western star having been nominated for a golden guitar once at Tamworth. Or that’s his story. Monica on the other hand was a top-ranking classical violinist who played in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra until tendonitis of the shoulder recently cut short her career. When Gary starts renovating Monica’s kitchen with his bluetooth speaker belting out his favourite country tracks, a showdown is inevitable. The play turned out to be one of my personal favourites. For sure it’s an eternal and often told story, but I enjoyed writing it for its humanity and warmth. What made it extra special for me was that two of my favourite actors of all time, Georgie Parker and Glenn Hazeldine, made my two characters come achingly and lovingly alive under the direction of one of my favourite directors Mark Kilmurry.

She was grieving for a career that was effectively over, he was grieving over a broken marriage and the guilt of running out on a disadvantaged son. They were both searching for connection and love. It’s a great thrill for me to see the play remounted with the original cast and director so I can experience again, as can a new audience, their great talents. So huge thanks to all three of you. And to the marvellous Ensemble Theatre who for well over sixty years has survived by choosing plays that allow us to reflect on what a strange and complex and ever-fascinating species we are.

– David Williamson

Glenn Hazeldine and Georgie Parker reprise their 2010 performances in this updated David Williamson social comedy, complete with a musical trip down memory lane, on stage 10 Mar – 29 Apr.