FRED @ Fringe Update #6

From the Director…

Marriage equality is at the forefront of civil rights discourse in the Western world. There are nations that have engaged in bitter debates, others have decided that it is the right thing to do, and one (Ireland) left the decision to their population with stunning, reaffirming results.

Michael (David McNamara) and Phillip (Ryan Stewart) enjoy the civil right to marry in a legally recognised service in FRED the ALIEN Production’s ‘MICHAEL AND PHILLIP ARE GETTING MARRIED IN THE MORNING’. But the play had to be set in an imagined time because same-sex couples are forbidden by Australian law to wed.

This past week, as the Michael and Phillip Are Getting Married in the Morning team continue to create an humorous and heartfelt show, Germany voted for marriage equality. Also, senior member of the conservative Liberal/National Party Coalition Government Christopher Pyne was secretly recorded declaring that marriage equality was closer than most people think in Australia. This was a surprise, considering that his leader and the nation’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has had to put his personal feelings aside to appease the ultra conservative fraction of his party and deny a conscious vote in the Australian parliament; a move that would see marriage equality become law.

As a part of a team who openly support marriage equality and are using our creative talents to endorse it on the stage, these two events have resonated with me in an unexpected way.

Let me explain this a little more. FRED the ALIEN has not invested time, money, effort, and sleepless nights into producing Michael and Phillip Are Getting Married in the Morning simply because the script was available and we had nothing better to do. On the contrary, the very idea that a story of two people about to get married has to be set in an imagined (future) time in itself speaks volumes.

As both writer and director, the characters of Michael and Phillip are very much real to me—and this was emphasised when actors David McNamara and Ryan Stewart participated in a photo shoot dressed in their characters’ wedding clothes. It was the first time I felt as though I was handing these characters over. They no longer belonged solely to me. And such the extraordinary talents David and Ryan are, they are teaching me more about Michael and Phillip than I thought possible.

This might sound strange to some, but those who have created fictional characters and shared them with the world will understand: when events such as those of the past week occur, I think of Michael and Phillip and it saddens me. Here we have two lonely people who found one another, who overcame personal struggles and tragedies—as every human being does—only to be denied the right to marry one another.

They deserve better. And it is through imagination and the magic of theatre, they will get it. But I promise you, it won’t be an easy trip to the altar.

I hope that you will continue to engage with FRED the ALIEN Productions’s journey to Melbourne Fringe by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And of course, keep checking in at FREDtheALIENprodcuctions.com for the latest on Michael and Phillip Are Getting Married in the Morning.

 

Wayne Stellini is an executive member of the FRED the ALIEN Productions team. He has written and directed episodes of UNI-Bums, and produced FRED’s stage debut, The Writer, in 2016.

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