Read this article by Patrick here. Originally published in Double Dialogues journal In/stead Issue One, ‘A question of character’ discusses the play ‘Breath’.
Ann McCulloch and Paul Monaghan, in their introduction to the inaugural publication of In/stead, write: “Patrick Van Der Werf travels across important voices on tragedy in the last few centuries. Van Der Werf explores how thinkers and creative writers (including himself) who deal in tragic themes are continuously releasing themselves from a representation of ‘selfhood’ or ‘character’ that was previously driven by psychological realism, and from a dramaturgy driven by ‘humanism of character’. His article deals with the representation of cruelty and pain (as exemplified in his play Breath), with an emphasis on the fact that pain in theatre is performed pain and that the quality of the aesthetic distance is ‘an invitation to the spectator to participate in the performance of empathy for the suffering of the mimetic, integrated, autonomous subject’.”
The first act of ‘Breath’ was performed at the Double Dialogues ‘Art and Pain’ conference at the University of Melbourne, 2004. The play, a political thriller, was later presented in full at the Bakehouse Theatre, Adelaide in 2005, directed by Russell Fewster.