murraybramwell.com

December 19, 2015

Introduction to the Currency edition of Maggie Stone by Caleb Lewis

The Rising Debt of Gratitude: Actions and Transactions in Maggie Stone

It was Polonius, in Hamlet who said : “Neither a borrower or a lender be/ For loan oft loses both itself and friend.” He is right, of course, but like much of the old man’s advice to the young prince, it is a platitude; something easier said than done. It is not how we live in the world, because the world won’t let us.

In his insightful, engaging, sometimes …

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December 01, 2015

Submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget decisions on the Arts.

Filed under: 2015,Archive,Commentary

Dear Senators

I have been a theatre reviewer for national publications, including The National Times, The Australian Financial Review and currently The Australian, since 1985.

My comments refer particularly to theatre funding in Australia but inferences can be made across all of the performing arts.

I am profoundly concerned by the recent changes to arts funding announced in the 2015 Budget by Senator Brandis : both in the reduction of allocation to the Australia Council and the siphoning of as …

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November 01, 2012

Chaff Years

Filed under: Archive,Commentary

I have been asked to provide some reminiscences and perspectives on Massey University’s student paper Chaff during the editorship of Arthur Ranford and Stuart Loudon. For me this was mostly 1969 and 1970. Before that time I had contributed the occasional (woeful) poem or perhaps a book review, but my connection with the paper was through Arthur.

I had known Arthur when we were both at separate high schools in Palmerston North. Arthur was at Freyberg and I was at …

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September 09, 2009

Weathering the Past and Reconciling the Future: Andrew Bovell’s When the Rain Stops Falling

Filed under: Archive,Commentary

2009
Weathering the Past and Reconciling the Future:
Andrew Bovell’s When the Rain Stops Falling

Murray Bramwell

It is not often we see a play that has its first scene set in 2039 and features a fish falling from the sky. But When the Rain Stops Falling is no ordinary play. Even its genesis was a slow and sometimes arduous one. This work, as Chris Drummond’s introductory note has indicated, had its origins some five years before its premiere at …

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September 09, 2008

Introduction to Beautiful Words by Sean Riley

Filed under: Archive,Commentary

2008
Currency Press

Beautiful Words, Harsh Realities and Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Murray Bramwell

In December 2001 a story was published in The Age newspaper about a young Afghan girl named Zaynab. Her photo shows a very typical looking twelve year old wearing a boldly patterned headscarf – but her expression is solemn, her eyes downcast. The report notes that although she is in the care of her uncle, a government spokesman says her future in Australia is uncertain.

Zaynab …

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June 01, 1995

Looking for Runes

Filed under: Commentary

1994

A view of the writings of James K. Baxter

Murray Bramwell
Flinders University

The day before I left Adelaide I received a fax from Vince O’Sullivan listing the conference program. To my surprise I discovered that the vagaries of international subscriber dialling had created a new topic for me. The title I dictated down the phone was Looking for Runes – what got transcribed was: Looking for Rooms. This caused a flurry of reconsideration. Was this verbal flip an …

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April 13, 1994

Critical Conditions

Filed under: Commentary

1994

Murray Bramwell

“My criticism has not, I hope, any other fault than the inevitable one of extreme unfairness.”

So wrote George Bernard Shaw in Our Theatre in the Nineties. He was writing of his Nineties, not ours, but it is notable that many of the conventions of reviewing today are indelibly Edwardian. Or at least you might say that nothing much has changed. Except that the vigorous, impassioned, lucid criticism that Shaw produced by the boatload was both more …

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April 08, 1989

Reviewing the Reviewers: Thoughts on the Place of Criticism in the Theatre

Filed under: Commentary

1989

Murray Bramwell

To say that theatre reviewing is a strange and sometimes excruciating ritual is hardly a revelation. Yet the reasons for this and the assumptions on which they are based are rarely considered except in times of crisis. Of course, in the theatre that means quite often. The theatre, after all, is a volatile, sometimes giddy creature and much inclined to generating and attracting hyperbole. In fact, theatre is often seen as synonymous with crisis. No other art …

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