Much Ado About Don

Sydney Opera House 1975, image by Gregory Melle, Flickr

Sydney Opera House 1975, image by Gregory Melle, Flickr

A theatrical wildfire has sparked up at Crikey following a review of David Williamson’s sequel to Don’s Party, Don Parties On. The play premiered in Melbourne last year, but the Crikey review, penned by Jason Whittaker, was published last week after the play opened at the Sydney Opera House. In the review, Whittaker takes the play and its playwright to task for complacency, suggesting Williamson is guilty of that which he’s satirising.

Earlier this week, Crikey published a reply by Williamson in which he suggested the spat might be generational. “He’s a young man; I’m not,” he writes. As to how he would wish the play to be judged, Williamson concludes, “I’d prefer history to judge me rather than a group of self-appointed Philosopher Kings.”

The piece raises the question: how reliable is history’s judgment? Shakespeare’s plays, Williamson reminds us, barely survived the critical oblivion of the Elizabethan age, and did so only thanks to the devotion of actors committed to memorialising them in print.

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