Julia Gillard speeches inspire new verbatim play

The Hansard Monologues, premiering next month, is based on transcripts from Australian parliament

If Julia Gillard's abrupt ousting by her predecessor and bitter rival Kevin Rudd made Australian politics look dramatic, a new verbatim play based on parliamentary records will aim to capture that drama.

With elections looming, playwright Katie Pollock and political writer Paul Daley have compiled a script from speeches made in the Australian parliament. The Hansard Monologues: A Matter of Public Importance will premiere at the end of July, and uses parliamentary transcripts to examine Gillard's time in office.

Three actors – David Roberts, Camilla Ah Kin and Tony Llewellyn-Jones – will each play a number of politicians in the production at the Seymour Centre in Sydney, recreating speeches made in parliament since 2010. A series of panel discussions with political thinkers has been planned around the production, which was conceived and produced by journalist Peter Fray, a former editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.

MP Rob Oakeshott, who will take part in one of the post-show events, said he thought the production an important one. "I'm in the camp, and I concede it's a small camp, that underneath all the noise this has been a significant period and a successful period in Australian parliamentary history," he said.

Among the issues covered in the piece are immigration policy, carbon tax and same-sex marriage, as well as the wider catcalling that has dogged Gillard's tenure as prime minister.

"Hansard is a living document. It is the story of our country and it is written and rewritten in federal parliament. Reading this play, I understood for the first time the depth and breadth of our national discourse," said Fray.

Blogging about the play this year, he revealed he hoped to persuade a politician to take part. "I'd love to have a serving MP be part of the cast every night," he wrote.

After losing Wednesday's caucus vote to Rudd, Gillard plans to retire from politics.


Matt Trueman

The GuardianTramp

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