Writer’s Note: Debra Oswald, MR BAILEY’S MINDER
Revivals of Australian plays don’t happen very often, so I’m thrilled MR BAILEY’S MINDER is in the Ensemble season. In the twenty years since it was written, I suspect some questions in the play have become even spikier: given that many great writers, artists and musicians have displayed ugly behaviour and damaged their loved ones, how do we make sense of that alongside the beautiful artwork they created? This play was also fuelled by some of my long-standing obsessions – shame, forgiveness, disarming acts of tenderness, the way parents can fail their children and how people might nurture each other in surrogate parent/child relationships. I’m not interested in writing about monsters. I want to write about characters who are like most of us: flawed, insecure people, trying to do our best, but often hurting each other as we flail about in confusion, and sometimes finding our way to loving connection.
I’m indebted to the Griffin Theatre and the original director/dramaturg Christopher Hurrell for helping me shape the play. In the years since, I’ve daydreamed about a fresh production (the way playwrights do) and I used to imagine John Gaden as Leo. Now… dream come true. I’m enormously grateful to Mark Kilmurry, everyone at the Ensemble, the wonderful Damien Ryan and this terrific cast and creative team, for bringing the story to life again.
On stage from 22 Jul, book your tickets to poignant and funny Australian play today.