‘First Casualty’ and Australian Drama

Christopher Johnston's play should be the theatre event of the year, with a long tour ahead of it, argues Julian Meyrick.

‘No one’s in charge so there’s no one to blame.’ Brigadier Michaela Cain

Learning that audiences for the third week of First Casualty were low, I was told, ‘people don’t want to see a play about war’. To which my reply is: ‘don’t start one then’.

Whatever Australia does as a society, drama has a duty to explore on stage. How else do we get beyond the shallows of media reportage to deeper awareness of the human cost involved? How else do we encounter the world, not just ‘stay informed’ about it?

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Julian Meyrick is Professor of Creative Arts at Griffith University. He is Literary Adviser for the Queensland Theatre and General Editor of Currency House’s Platform Paper series. He was Associate Director and Literary Advisor at Melbourne Theatre Company 2002-07 and Artistic Director of Kickhouse theatre 1989-98. He has directed over 40 award-winning theatre productions and published numerous books and articles on Australian arts and culture.