Interview: Australian playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer
‘Write local. Play global’ tracked down Australian playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer (not that hard, actually, since he’s a bit of a fanatic about email) and asked him a few questions about his work.
WLPG: Is there a production, playwright, theatre company that has influenced your work?
Fin: Many. At nine, I watched The Postman by Vélo Theatre and still feel inspired by it now (I met the actor two years ago at a festival and he still performs the show!). The writing of Suzanne Lebeau impresses me over and over. Maurice Sendak has the most wonderful imagination and means of conveying it. And Theatre Artemis’ show Prime I think may be the most beautiful show I’ve ever seen.
WLPG: Why is it important to write for children and young people?
Fin: Because they deserve to see work which acknowledges them as astute audience members outside the plays, and worthy subjects within. Because they’re entitled to sit in a theatre and invest and reflect and laugh and challenge and agree and disagree. Because they’re rarely given the opportunity to create work themselves which will be produced, so we have an obligation to either change that or to write works with their interests (artistic, not didactic) at heart. Because it’s a demographic that really appreciates story and makes you better at it.
And then I would challenge all of that and say that I don’t specifically write for children, because that specificity can sometimes affect my writing and judgment badly. So I largely just try to write for an audience, and imbue my work with references accessible to younger people, but dramas/emotional scores/characters accessible to any people.
WLPG: What is your typical writing process?
Fin: I write primarily to commission, so it usually begins with meeting an artist/producer and us deciding we like each other and want to make something. We talk initial ideas or targeted age groups or influences. Then I go home to Hobart, Tasmania, and from Monday to Friday I walk my wife Essie to work in the morning, return and read the papers, write from 10 until 4:30, and then head down to pick her up – I’m really quite boring in my love of pattern and adherence to it when writing.
During the process I’ll attend a week of creative development with the artistic team, during which we all feed in to the work, and that’s always exciting and lovely. Then I finish the play, hand it over, stay far away from rehearsal rooms (I never really know what to do in them), and finally turn up on opening night (or day – the small peculiarities of children’s theatre) and enjoy all the other elements that have been layered around, on top of, beneath the words.
WLPG: Is there a question you would like to pose to other writers?
Fin: What’s something one of your characters has done which you didn’t expect, something which surprised you about them even as you wrote it?
WLPG: we welcome your responses - just go to 'post a comment' below.
Click here for Fin's biography