20.6 C
Byron Shire
January 27, 2022

Simply Incorruptible

Latest News

One death and 1,219 new COVID-19 cases in Northern Rivers

In the 24 hours to 8pm 25 January there was one death and 1,219 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWHD).

Other News

Vax the child

I am writing about the upcoming COVID-19 vaccinations for children. I am and remain a vax-sceptic. My reasons are...

Boat people we are

We here in this country, now called Australia, need to be reminded that we started off as ‘boat people’. The...

Ballina’s Citizen of the Year announcement to be livestreamed

As COVID 19 continues to make life complicated for people on the Northern Rivers and beyond, Ballina Shire Council has decided to livestream its Australia Day event, including the Citizen of the Year announcement, from 9am on Wednesday.

Lismore Council’s Advisory Groups need you

Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg said the Council is seeking passionate locals to participate in the Aboriginal Advisory Group, the Access and Inclusion Advisory Group and the Nimbin Advisory Group.

Man charged following pursuit – Far North Coast

A man has been charged with driving offences following a police pursuit in the state’s far north.

Free Skills for Recovery course available

Byron Community College say they have received NSW Government funding as part of the Skills for Recovery initiative.


Mongrel Arts Project and the Drill Hall Theatre Company present Lois Nowra’s classic Australian tragicomedy, The Incorruptible.

The Echo spoke with director and actor Gregory Aitken.

Why did you choose the play?

I have always admired Louis Nowra as a playwright and would mount an argument that he is Australia’s best. Last year I re-read The Incorruptible and thought that it was such a fantastic play about Australian political corruption that I had just had to produce it. Though it was written in 1995, The Incorruptible resonates strongly with our world today. If you want to understand the mess we are in, see this play.

What does it say about the political landscape?

The play tells about the rise of a demagogue who is anti-democratic, anti-social justice and believes in selling off public assets to private enterprise. Sound familiar? Ion Stafford (played by Daryl White) is a complex man, a loner, who is driven by his strong will and the need to change the world into his or his parents’ straightened image. The character is based on the Depression, southern USA politician Huey Long, and Queensland’s Joh Bjelke Petersen. He could be any number of right-wing politicians in Australia, the USA and Europe now. Ion Stafford is a beguiling sociopath. The fun of the play is that the audience may be charmed by his simplistic view of the world and then horrified that they are.

How did you cast?

Initially I asked the activist/ actor Tony Barry to direct The Incorruptible as I wanted to play the part of the political kingmaker Ed Gablich (Gabo) because it is such a fantastic comic role. Tony had other things on and rightly suggested that I was too old for the part. So I thought bugger it, I will direct it, and who better to play the role of Gabo than John Rado (I do, however, make a guest appearance as the judge Simon Porter). John Rado is a filmmaker and a film actor who, sadly, has not worked on stage for far too long. I sent the script to John, who accepted the role the next day. I then sat down and jotted down whom else I wanted to play the other ten characters. This is my perfect cast and crew. The production is designed by Sue Rado (John’s wife) and includes Michael Hennessy as assistant director and Sunita Bailey as lighting designer.

How does delving into the political past help us understand who we are today? By the way, who are we today?

There are two quotations that inform our production. The first is by the late American playwright Eugene O’Neill.

‘As the history of the world proves, the truth has no bearing on anything. It’s irrelevant and immaterial, as the lawyers say. The lie of the pipe dream is what gives life to the whole misbegotten mad lot of us, drunk or sober.’

The other I found in a recent Monthly article by Richard Cooke: ‘They (the American people) have decided the system is a circus, so they are sending in a clown. Trump marks the point at which many Americans decided their politics was so corrupt that he would be incorruptible.’ Well if that’s the case they got it wrong.

For most of us working on The Incorruptible, the play has been a form of therapy in how to cope in these unsettling times.

Why are we are drawn to psychopaths as leaders?

There is certainly a case that Ion Stafford, The Incorruptible, is a psychopath but I will let the audience decide. Louise Porter (played by Kasadevi Curtis,) who is the premier’s press secretary, is the metaphor for the populace, the audience. At first she finds Ion Stafford repulsive but slowly falls in love with him. In uncertain times people are attracted by politicians who have convictions. These days they are usually always on the right. So the evangelical conservative right-wing politicians’ simple message of selling a pipe dream attracts the gullible and desperate, while the left offers a kind of mourning for the end of the world. This production of The Incorruptible provides a portal of mutually entertaining anguish. As a nation we trust leaders who tout a ‘vision’ for something better or a fiction of an idyllic past. For the conservatives the plan is to scare the bejesus out of or into us while making nonsense claims. As for the left, they appear to have given up the ghost.

What should we expect from the Drill Hall production?

Magnificent acting, a stylish production and a brilliant play. Theatre is best when it is a collaboration. If I have any talent it is to bring together a team of very creative people. I have a director friend who said to me that ‘an audience will travel a hundred kilometres to see a moment of truth onstage’. If he is right then I would travel a thousand kilometres or more to see this show.

The Incorruptible opens on Australia Day, 26 January, at the Drill Hall Theatre, Mullumbimby, and runs for seven performances until 5 February. For online bookings and more information go to drillhalltheatre.org.au.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Kindness to animals recognised in Tweed Shire Australia Day awards

The care Amanda Philp has provided to numerous animals on land and from the sea has seen her recognised as Tweed Shire Citizen of the Year.

What does Australia Day mean?

Another Australia Day. Another divisive polemic about the date, the day, and its meaning. Those who seek to change the date argue that 26 January signifies the beginning of Britain’s invasion of Australia and the violent expropriation of Aboriginal lands.

Man charged following pursuit – Far North Coast

A man has been charged with driving offences following a police pursuit in the state’s far north.

More government support needed for nurses

What would it take to keep our nurses and paramedics from resigning en masse as the current crisis in the NSW health care system worsens?