David Blackman
Melbourne,

Plays

by David Blackman

Israel: sometime in the not too distant future. Dov Landau has become prime minister of a country at an historic crossroads – in the wake of a military conflict with Iran that has claimed thousands of lives, and a failed assassination attempt on the visiting US president by a Jewish extremist.  Meanwhile, Europe agitates for a complete boycott of Israel over its unrelenting settlement building and repression of Palestinian rights. But for the first time in decades, Labour has won a landslide victory against a far right leader who had alienated Israel from the world community. Dov is thrust into the murky world of Middle East realpolitik as he struggles with his new defense minister and incumbent head of Shin Bet over how Israel should deal with its real and perceived enemies. Dov brings about a cessation of hostilities with Iran but follows this with an invasion of Lebanon leading to a series of terrorist attacks inside of Israel which claim hundreds of lives, including his only daughter. A nation cries for vengeance at a time when he has promised change but Dov finds that this requires sacrifices beyond which any leader in the past has been asked to make, forcing to him make decisions about Israel’s relationship with its neighbours that will either transform the country or destroy it.

Cast:
Dov Landau................................................Israeli Prime Minister, 60-65 years old Rachel Landau..........................................Dov’s wife, 50 to 55 years old Eva Landau................................................Dov’s daughter, 30 years old Yotom Landau...........................................Dov’s son, 25 years old IDF Soldier..................................................25 to 30 years old, male or female Benny Stein ...............................................Head of Shin Bet, male 50 to 55 years old Ephraim Zuroff..........................................Defence Minister, male, 50 to 55 years old Dan Kurtzner............................................. US Ambassador, male, 55 to 60 years old Khalid..........................................................Head of Hamas, male, 40 to 45 years old Interviewer..................................................30 to 35 years old, female Reporters...................................................30 to 50 years old, male and female
by David Blackman

CALLEY is a play about the Vietnam War, told through the experiences of William Calley, the only officer convicted of war crimes of the My Lai massacre in 1968, and Robert McNamara, the US Secretary of Defence who vainly tried to justify the ever increasing involvement and casualty figures to the public. The story unfolds through speeches, songs, interviews, courts transcripts and Calley’s own narration of his life leading up to the massacre and beyond it. The absurdity of the war is contrasted with the heartbreaking toll it takes on the men fighting it and the devastation that is wrought upon the victims of America’s military venture in South Vietnam. 

Cast:
by David Blackman

The play offers a phantasmagoric image of the world of Adolph Eichmann and his involvement in the Holocaust, as if seen through his less than tormented eyes. Fusing the surreal with fact the play moves between three key periods in Eichmann’s life; his role during the Holocaust, his life as a Nazi war criminal on the run, and finally the captive of the Israeli government awaiting trial and eventual execution for complicity in the murder of six million Jews during World War Two. In the aftermath of his verdict, a Protestant Pastor, William Hull, moved by Eichmann’s acceptance of his fate, is convinced that he can be brought onto the path of redemption if Eichmann can accept the everlasting love of Jesus Christ and confess his sins.

Cast:
by David Blackman

THE REVISIONIST explores Australia’s understanding of the Holocaust through what became known as the “Demidenko Affair,” when a young Australian woman of Anglo Saxon background was able to convince the literary and cultural establishment that her father and uncle were Ukrainians involved in the mass slaughter of Jews during the war, and felt quite justified in doing so. The play looks at the manipulation of collective memory through the rewriting or falsification of history, as was clearly demonstrated with the acceptance and critical acclaim given to Demidenko whose real identity was Helen Darville and her family history a complete fabrication. 

Cast:
by David Blackman

ENOLA GAY takes a critical look at the events leading up to the decision by President Truman to use that first weapon of mass destruction on August 6th 1945. Foremost, it is a political and a psychological exploration of four pivotal characters and their involvement and responsibilities in the dropping of the  atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

 

Cast:

Luke Ruschmeyer’s life is spiraling out of control, until he is cast in a school play which offers him a sense of purpose, and more ominously, a new identity. As his father Tony edges closer to understanding the dangers posed by this transformation, so too is our understanding of the past Tony has kept hidden from his family. His attempts to save Luke act as a catalyst for a confrontation which shatters their world and reveals the extent to which the sins of the father may have been passed onto the son. A study of one boy’s descent into history and hate.

Cast:
by David Blackman

WIZARDS 1946-1986 explores the political, military and intellectual forces that have engaged in promoting the reliability of nuclear war as an instrument of U.S government policy since 1945.  In the afterlife, Robert McNamara, John Foster Dulles, and Andrei Gromyko struggle for control over who was responsible for bringing the world to the edge of nuclear oblivion. In doing so, key events of the Cold War are dramatised, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Vietnam War, along with the strategies of successive U.S administrations that brought the world far closer to nuclear holocaust than was ever reported at the time.

 

Cast:
by David Blackman

SIEV X is a story of the politics and power behind one of the most controversial episodes in contemporary Australian life; the Children Overboard Affair. It is 2001 and then Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, is facing defeat at the forthcoming elections. His policies are fractured by the arrival of the One Nation Party and Labor is on the ascendancy. Into this scenario arrives the Norwegian freighter the Tampa, bringing its most unwelcome cargo of desperate refugees into Australian waters and the hostile gaze of a suspicious electorate and almost equally desperate Liberal Party.  A new world of Australian politics has been entered, one that leads inexorably to the tragedy of SIEV X, and the drowning deaths of hundreds of refugees in Australian waters.

Cast:
by David Blackman

2006. Corporal GH Ash and three other Australian SAS soldiers are trapped inside an Afghan village. The rest of their team has just been killed by an IED.  Their communications have been destroyed and they have no idea as to the strength of their enemy lurking outside. Nerves are stretched beyond breaking point as the possibility that this could be the end looms large. Into this world arrives the Taliban Fighter, their prisoner and possibly the only hope for survival. As their numbers dwindle, Ash and the Taliban fighter come to a sort of understanding of each other’s position and the realization that they face a common foe in the light of the Taliban fighter’s final revelation. Completely unmasked, there is nothing left but to fight for their own as well as each other’s survival.

Cast:

ANZAC DREAMS tells the story of Corporal Ash, an Australian veteran of World War One, lying on a non-descript hospital bed as he awaits his final moments on this earth.  Visited by Death (who populates the narrative in various disguises), Ash enters into a Faustian bargain so that his soul and that of his comrades, whose deaths still haunt Ash, may finally rest in peace. There is of course a price which Ash only finds out in the conclusion of the play.  From the moment of this pact, Ash is transformed into his younger self and along with his resurrected comrades in arms, embarks on a surreal journey through the battlefields of Gallipoli and France. Interspersed with Australian songs of the period that express the sorrow and heartache of a nation grappling with monumental loss, Ash and his band of brothers are confronted not only by the horrors of war, but also by the erosion of their dignity and sense of self.  

Cast:
by David Blackman

Rowan McKenzie, a seasoned journalist and war reporter, is invited by an anonymous billionaire to an exclusive penthouse at One Hyde Park. There he is greeted by Russell, a somewhat shady figure supposedly in charge of security. Russell attempts to peel back the layers of McKenzie’s life as he waits in anticipation for a meeting that will hopefully provide the ransom for his ex-wife Jill Cowen, an internationally recognized aid worker who has been kidnapped by insurgents in Baghdad. As McKenzie’s own subterfuge is unmasked, Russell has news more destructive than anything McKenzie has penned as a journalist, the revelation of which will seal his fate the moment he leaves One Hyde Park.

Cast:

Steve is a seasoned detective on the cusp of retirement with a beautiful wife and dutiful daughter.  Then Taylor’s new boyfriend arrives and the family is thrown into turmoil. As both men fight for Taylor’s loyalty and devotion, Steve uncovers information that he is convinced places his daughter’s life in jeopardy while discovering truths about his wife and marriage that will destroy the future for all of them.

 

Cast:

Successes

My play, GREATER ISRAEL, has been selected as a finalist for the 2016 International Playwriting Festival which is sponsored by the Warehouse Theatre in Great Britain.

My play, THE PORTAGE OF LUKE RUSCHMEYER TO AH, which won the GunPlays Playwriting Award for best full length play in 2014, will be produced by the Station Theatre in Urbana Illinois as part of its 2016/2017 season.