Money and Friends
|Money and Friends|
|Written by||David Williamson|
|Characters||5 male, 4 female|
|Date premiered||28 November 1991|
|Place premiered||Suncorp Theatre, Brisbane|
Money and Friends is a 1991 Australian play written by David Williamson.
Mathematician Peter gets in financial trouble because of his brother’s bankruptcy. His neighbour Margaret decides to seek help from his wealthy friends but they are reluctant to lend him money.
Williamson and his wife had a beach house south of Sydney. This community inspired him with the idea for the play:
This small beach community I've found over the years has tighter bondings than anything you find in the big city... I observed myself getting very affectionate to people and very attached to people that I normally wouldn't meet in the city... We were sitting on our deck one day," he continued, "and the talk was all of disaster, of friends, because this recession in Australia for the first time has hit the middle class, as well as the working class. There were a lot of professional people in Australia in 1990, when this play was set, suddenly finding themselves out of jobs. And I thought, 'What would happen to this little tribe if its most loved member suddenly had a personal financial disaster? Would anyone come to their aid?' And I started asking myself the question: 'If one of my friends suddenly was devastated through no fault of their own, would I write the check out?' And I wasn't sure I would.
Williamson has long felt that Australian theatre critics were hostile to his work. Prior to the opening of this play, he faxed five critics asking for a fair go. Williamson later says this was "ill-judged. To try to influence critics' opinion before the play is not something you should do and I wouldn't do it if I had my time over again".
The play was enormously successful, touring Australia for a year, and is frequently revived.
Fellow Australian playwright Louis Nowra said he never understood Williamson's popularity with audiences until he saw a production of Money and Friends.
I watched an audience laughing with recognition as the story unfolded and it occurred to me that Williamson was probably one of the few Australian playwrights who didn’t talk down to or at his audiences. He was one of them and he and the audience were engaged in a conversation as equals. His work was one gigantic affirmation of their lives and ideas. He didn’t undermine their beliefs, in fact, he corroborated them. One could say that, for his audiences, familiarity bred contentment.
No movie has been made of the play although Williamson thought it "would work well on film; I can say that because I’ve seen the Polish version, which they filmed very effectively as a television movie."
- Directors' notes The Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre 9th May 1992 accessed 4 November 2012
- Sean Mitchell, "STAGE : Deft Voice From Down Under : Playwright David Williamson is little known in the United States, but his dark comedy 'Money and Friends' may change all that" LA Times January 10, 1993 accessed 5 April 2014
- Rosemary Neill, "David Williamson parties on", The Australian, 28 May 2011 accessed 1 December 2012
- Bruce Weber, "On Stage, and Off", New York Times October 16, 1992 accessed 5 April 2014
- Louis Nowra review of Kristen Williamson's biography on her husband The Australian 1 April 2009, republished on James Waites blog accessed 5 April 2014
- Greg Gallaghan, "10 questions - David Williamson", The Australian 18 December 2010 accessed 5 April 2014