In honour of the end of this most manic and polarising year, I’m having trouble trying to make some kind of holistic reflection on 2017. SO much has happened at such a frenetic pace that the only thing I can safely say is that, for me, this year was totally unprecedented – personally, professionally, and politically.
So, instead of trying to make some kind of sweeping statement on the year that was, I want to focus on the things left behind. There are a lot of things I hope will stay put in 2017 – Kevin Spacey, Geoffrey Rush, neo-Nazis, Alec Baldwin’s Trump impression, the term ‘clussy’ – and leave us free to build a better society in the years to come.
I also hope we’ll continue to build higher standards for our Art and the discussions around it. As such, I want to leave everyone with this list of tropes from film, television, theatre, and fiction, that I think have run their course and can now go gentle into that good Drafts folder in the sky.
TROPES TO LEAVE BEHIND IN 2017
- Plot Twist: SUICIDE!!!
- Plot Twist: RAPE BACKSTORY!!!
- I Am The Only White Man Who Has Ever Had A Mental Health Crisis
- I Am The Only White Man Who Has Ever Cared About These Brown People
- I Am The Only White Man Who Has Ever Cared About These Women / Queers / Trans People
- Bow At My Feet! For I Am ~Benevolent Saint Who Would Deign To Fuck A Disabled Person~!
- I Went To Screen/Stage/Creative Writing School For A Year And All I Got Was This Stupid Play/Film/Novel That Could At Best Be Considered A Barely-Veiled Attempt At Autobiography
- This Work Is So EDGY And REAL And NOW That I Didn’t Even Need To Do Any Research Into Islam Or Muslim People Or Race Or Oppression Or Anything With More Depth And Nuance Than The Stuff I Hear From Studio10
- Sure I’ll Kiss This Other Man, But First I Have To Punch Him In The Face
- Man Who Begs “Separate The Man From The Art!!!” Only Makes Art About The Same Problematic Shit As The Shit He’s Done
- I Know It’s A Two Act Two Hour Play But The Playwright Felt That This One Character Who Is In No Other Part Of The Play Should Really Be Brought Into The Penultimate Scene
- I Did Not Do Any Research In Order To Write This Farce
- I Did Not Do Any Research In Order To Write This Absurdist/Post-dramatic/Avant Garde Piece
- I Did Not Do Any Research In Order To Write This Novel Set In War Torn Unspecifiedland
- “Before You Judge Me For This Objectively Horrible Thing I Did, Let Me Just Say That I Have Cancer”
- Problematic Australian Figure With A Memorable Catchphrase: The Musical!
- I Was Struggling To Give This Female Character Any Strong Storyline Or Personality So Let’s Just Say She Was Abused In The Past Or Something
- Straight White “Progressive” Male is A Dick To Women For The Good of The Left!! For the Left!!!!!! It’s For The Left!!!!!!!!
- Straight White “Progressive” Male is A Dick To Women Because He is Damaged! He’s Damaged!!!! So Damaged!!!!!!!!!
- Social Conservatism Dressed Up As Futuristic Speculative Fiction (cf: “what if phones, but, too much?”)
- It’s Sci-Fi/Fantasy So It’s Totally Cool That We Cast No POC (Even In Roles That Are Written As People of Colour), And Yes We’re Unwittingly Implying That Our Fantasy Is A World Devoid Of Diversity
- Historical Queer Figure Who Did A Good Things Once: The Story Of How We Used To Be A Homophobic Society But We’re Definitely Not Any More. Not At All. Never. So Good Now. No Need For Queer Activism Any More. See?
- A Flaccid Old Play By A Dead White Misogynist, But, We Kind Of Made It About Gays/Gender Equality/Marriage Equality/Donald Trump, So, You Can’t Accuse Us Of Not Being Progressive
- “____” : a film by Woody Allen
- “____” : starring Johnny Depp
- “____” : starring Jared Leto
- “____” : starring Benedict Cumberbatch
- “____” : created by Stephen Moffat
- “____” : by Milo Yiannopoulos/Pauline Hanson/[insert alt-right abomination the general population ironically enables because “what a troll lmao”]
- “””Method Acting”””, i.e. “I voluntarily tortured myself and aggravated the people around me for months to get this shiny gold thing”
- Man In Dress Still Funny, Right? Right????? RIGHT?!??!?!?!
- James Franco
- Boss Baby
All things said, I’ve truly had a special year. I’ve had the luck to work with a long list of extremely talented people – some of whom I never thought I’d be allowed in a room with – and I’ve learned a lot about myself, my ethos, my practice, and how to make arts more good.
Globally speaking, 2017 has been a shitfuck, and it’s entirely likely that 2018 will be just as much of one. But for now I’m happy to reflect on a year in which I did a whole lot of shit with a whole lot of people, and get pumped for the year of work to come.
Already I’m gearing up for two remounts of shows I did in 2017, a complete rewrite of my very first play, a completely new and exhilarating verbatim piece about a wonderfully complex woman, an actual cabaret with me in it (SCREAMS), and a mid-year relocation to Melbourne to write about Caitlyn Jenner and peddle my sad gay wares to a new state (read: take over the entire east coast of Australia and achieve trans supremacy).
I love all of you very much, and I hope you have a merry and safe New Year’s Eve, and that 2018 brings nothing but wonderful things and wonderful people into your lives.
Take care of yourselves.
See ya next year!