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Money and Friends

Money and Friends
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: David Williamson
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 74
Pub. Date: 1997
ISBN-10: 0822215802
ISBN-13: 9780822215806
Cast Size: 4 women, 5 men

About the Play:

Money and Friends is a full-length comedy by David Williamson. Kindhearted Peter, a mathematician who embodies niceness itself, is in financial trouble because of his brother's bankruptcy. His neighbour Margaret decides to seek help from his wealthy friends who spend much of their time boasting about their wealth. But while his friends happily take advantage of Peter's good nature in their own hour of need, how willing will they be to bail him and risk losing their money? What price friendship?

Money and Friends is about eight well-off people who have become friends over several years of weekends at beach resort south of Sydney: Peter, a professor of pure mathematics; Conrad (a star television reporter) and his wife Jaquie; Stephen (a surgeon) and his wife Penny; Alex (a mega-lawyer) and his wife Vicki; and Margaret, a history professor, Peter's closest friend. Peter and Margaret are the exceptions to wealth and marriage – his wife passed away and her husband left her for a younger woman. As this weekend begins, Margaret is a little more bitter than usual and Peter is a little more accommodating as they've both got something bothering them. During drinks one evening, Margaret, fed up with the "tribe," gets a little too nasty, ending the evening on a sour note. Margaret's honesty prompts Peter to tell her that he's about to lose everything unless he can come with $50,000 to cover a failed loan. She insists he tell everyone and ask for their help, but he refuses and makes her promise not reveal anything. The weekend progresses, and taking Margaret's lead, Peter attempts some honesty, starting with her. He tells Margaret to stop picking up younger men, and then goes on to inform his other friends what he really thinks, leaving them stunned. Initially, except Margaret, they never want to see him again, but soon realize that what Peter did was actually good for them. Realizing that Peter is really their best friend, Alex and Vicki plan a surprise party in his honour. In light of these plans Margaret can't keep quiet and spills the story of Peter's financial trouble, suggesting they should loan him $50,000. Despite their wealth, however, they'd rather die than part with any of their money, even to help their friend. In the end, all are forced to make decisions regarding Peter's debt, and as money initially tore them apart, it will inevitably bring some of the friends back together again. A revealing clash between materialism and ideals by the screenwriter of The Year of Living Dangerously, Phar Lap, and Gallipoli.

Money and Friends premiered in 1991 by the Queensland Theatre Company at the Suncorp Theatre in Brisbane, Australia. The US premiere was in 1993 at the James A. Doolittle Theater in Hollywood. The play is one of David Williamson's most commercially successful plays, touring Australia for a year, and is frequently revived.

Cast: 4 women, 5 men

What people say:

"The play's great strength is its comedy ... characters damn themselves out of their own mouths: with perfect poetic justice they get precisely what they deserve." — The Australian

"His script is witty – also laced with acid." — Time Out NY

"…Williamson is never less than clever and can wield a scalpel that occasionally even turns comedy into satire … extremely deft with funny lines…." — Los Angeles Times

"…the characters are so perfectly drawn and the dialogue so dense with implication and authenticity – one is left laughing at the tragedy of greed, selfishness and unrealistic expectation." — The Bulletin

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, 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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