Playwriting Australia’s three-night monologue marathon is an exploration of identity and brutal history in a time of concurrent apocalypses
Playwriting Australia promoted its new suite of 50 monologues, livestreamed over three nights this July, as “a striking moment of national celebration and reflection”. But the stories are also suffused with grief and desperation, with anxiety and impatience. Addressed as “postcards” to the nation, the monologues serve as dispatches from the pandemic, reflecting on this peculiar moment while also evincing the digitised intimacy that has become one of its signatures.
Thursday night’s program of 18 works includes some monologues that take the brief quite literally and others with a more oblique approach. Many monologues refer directly to lockdowns, and there are two in which the actor personifies the virus itself. Each playwright comes at their chosen topic in very different ways, but colonisation, racism and solidarity are recurring themes, along with a more general sense that the world is overdue for a reckoning.