Weather again! This time, the hottest and most humid day of the year. But even more entrants, and an even bigger audience. Going in, we were much less nervous than before. We were buoyed by the sold-out success ofThe Literati, by Justin Fleming, the full play which grew out of his first act,The Savvy Women, a finalist in the 2015 Lysicrates Play Competition; by the full restoration of the Lysicrates Monument, which the Lysicrates Foundation set in motion; by the creation of the Martin-Lysicrates Prize for plays written for children; by the establishment of the Martin Oration; and by the sculpting of the statue of the young James Martin striding off to school. So much in one year.
The now traditional didgeridoo set the day in motion, and then the plays took over.The Goose in the Bottle, with its one heartbreaking line spoken by the ageing woman: “so lonely”, so brilliantly acted;The Feather in the Web, about a young woman who wants to live her life her own way; andGhosting the Party, an old woman facing confinement in a nursing home, and death. All of the plays showed a very Australian, very clever, ability to straddle the line between tragedy and laughter, and indeed this shading from one to the other has actually been a hallmark of many of the Lysicrates plays. The acting was beyond extraordinary. We’re blown away by the talent of Australian actors.
So 2017 turned out to be the year of the women, young, ageing and old, and whether their stories were told by male or female authors mattered not at all.
When the time came for the enchanted procession, the air had cooled, the birds were out, and the clouds were pink. And this time, a special treat: The Ballad of Lysicrates, composed, and sung, by Mrs Linda Hurley, the wife of the Governor of New South Wales, David Hurley. Smiles all round, more dancing, and the traditional joyous atmosphere. A very happy day.
2017 Winner: Melissa Bubnic