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Emerald City

Emerald City
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: David Williamson
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 109
Pub. Date: 1987
ISBN-10: 0573691045
ISBN-13: 9780573691041
Cast Size: 3 women, 3 men

About the Play:

Emerald City is a full-length comedy by David Williamson. Colin, a screenwriter, and his wife Kate, a publisher, make the bold decision to move from Melbourne to Sydney, where fame and fortune are there for the taking, but surprises are in store for them both. A razor-sharp comedy-of-conscience about art and commercialism, ambition and moral responsibility from one of Australia's best known playwrights.

Emerald City is a fast-moving, wisecracking commentary on contemporary urban mores and morals, and the rivalries and passions to be encountered on the road to success. Colin, a critically praised but commercially under successful screenwriter of quality movies, and his wife Kate, an editor, move from rainy, serious Melbourne to the more sophisticated, glitzy world of Sydney – the Emerald City of OZ. Their soft liberalism is quickly swamped and their idealism vanishes as they become swept up in the quest for mansions by the water, offices with harbour views, exclusive private schools for the kids and the power that only wealth can bring. Colin teams up with an aggressive, well-connected hack writer named Mike who is a genius at making deals. Mike wants to set up a major production house to cash in on the huge American market for trashy movies and TV series. International scripts, international stars, international directors. Technicians are cheaper here, he argues, and they can get local actors to do all the supporting roles. Colin finds himself in a tug of war between artistic ambition and big bucks. A razor-sharp satire of Australia's film industry, Emerald City is one of the best works by Australian theatre's most beloved craftsman and commentator, David Williamson. More than three decades after it was written, this graceful and grimly funny play still captures the ballsy spirit of Sydney, a city where people go expecting their dreams to be fulfilled, but end up with superficial substitutes and broken dreams.

Emerald City premiered in 1987 by the Sydney Theatre Company at the Drama Theatre of the Sydney Opera House. The play was enormously successful and won the Sydney Theatre Critics Award for Best Play. Within nine months, it was seen in seven cities around Australia, at the Toronto Free Theatre (Canadian premiere), off-Broadway at the Perry Street Theatre in Greenwich Village (US premiere), at the Lyric Theatre in the West End of London (UK premiere). It spawned numerous award-winning revivals and tours in Australia, a successful 1988 film adaptation, and has enjoyed enduring popularity.

Cast: 3 women, 3 men

What people say:

"It's a sparkling evening of entertainment, yet with a message about personal integrity that is certainly worth pondering." — The Toronto Star

"A sharply written satire skewering Sydney's obsession with money, power, youth, beauty and water views, the play has hardly aged. Thirty years on, it still rings pretty." — The Daily Telegraph

"It's Williamson at his sharpest and it's often deftly funny….his observations on Australia's cultural cringe and the tensions our artists face ring true." — Daily Review (Melbourne)

"Hype and Hypocrisy amusingly help to speed the plow on the road to Emerald City." — The New York Times

"Winsomely cynical." — Time Magazine

"Funny and engaging ... His characters must be as much fun to play as they are to listen to." — New York Post

"This examination of how the noble ambition for fame deteriorates into lust for money and power, and how relationships of every kind subsist on deception, deserves our delightedly undivided attention. Emerald City portrays human rivalry with maximum comic and dramatic effect because it is as humorous as it is witty." — New York Magazine

About the Playwright:

David Williamson is the most produced Playwright in the history of Australian Theatre. He studied mechanical engineering, then lectured in thermodynamics and studied social psychology before discarding academic life. After his early successes in Melbourne, he moved to Sydney and rose to prominence in the 1970s, becoming Australia's most successful playwright. His prolific work encompasses film (he wrote the scripts for such movies as Gallipoli, The Year of Living Dangerously, and Phar Lap), television, and the theatre and focuses on themes of politics, loyalty and family in contemporary urban Australia. After writing a play every year for 35 years, in 2005, he announced his retirement from mainstage productions. He was instrumental in the founding of a cultural festival in Noosa, on Queensland's sunshine coast, where he now spends most of his time.

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