FRED @ Fringe Update #13

[CONTENT WARNING: OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE]

From the Writer/Director…

Image courtesy ABC News.

I have been working on a side-project relating to Michael and Phillip Are Getting Married in the Morning—well, a handful of side-projects, actually. There always seems as though more needs to be said about marriage equality and LGBTQIA+ rights.

One of them had me speaking of the play in past tense, as though it were relegated to a time long ago, where a Melbourne writer felt the need to pen a story which reflected the marriage of two men as a normal, beautiful thing. Set in a near-future, sure, but not near enough.

And now, as Australia discusses an unpopular plebiscite, Michael and Phillip Are Getting Married in the Morning increases in relevance. Our play is set in Melbourne, recently voted the world’s most liveable city for the seventh year in a row and my hometown. It is also where one of the most aggressive anti-marriage equality sentiments has been expressed since the beginning of the plebiscite campaign. Yesterday, posters were placed around our beautiful CBD imploring to ‘Stop the Fags’ and accompanied by some implausible ‘facts’ and emotive imagery. (Read the ABC News story here.) It reflects the sort of culture in which one of the characters, Graeme, grew up in.

I spoke with actor Jeffrey Bryant Jones about his role recently:

This week’s events made me think: The tone of Michael and Phillip Are Getting Married in the Morning would be different if I were writing it now. As it stands, the play is a mix of farcical humour and domestic drama, an obscure reality which relies on a chaotic undertone to function. But if I were writing the play now, in the midst of increasingly hateful, distasteful, and blatantly ignorant discourse, Michael and Phillip Are Getting Married in the Morning would be a completely different piece altogether.

I am so proud of the work the cast and crew have put into the show that I wouldn’t change a thing about it. So, I suppose, there is only one thing to do. I have much more to say about LGBTQIA+ rights that it is perhaps time for me to knuckle down on a sequel…

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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