2012 will be a big year for Tasmanian playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer. Twenty of his works, including nine premieres, will run in five continents! Adding to a long list of accolades, he has recently been awarded a Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship. On top of all that, he and his wife Essie have just bought a new home in Hobart.
Whilst still a young, aspiring actor, Kruckemeyer bluffed his way into a job as a drama teacher in Ireland, thus beginning his career in theatre. He was soon writing for youth theatre and flourished as a playwright. There was, however, the occasional short-lived sojourn into alternative paths: “I was a plasterer for a day, which was hellish, and they fired me at the end of that day. And they said, ‘don’t ever be a plasterer’. They actually gave me that advice!”
Although he primarily writes for children and youth, Finegan has also written compositions for mature audiences, including more than one opera. The Sidney Meyer Creative Fellowship will give him time to work on new plays, without the necessity of a commission – something he is looking forward to. “I’ve been in this really lucky position where for … the entirety of my writing career, it’s been to commission. So I’ve never had a moment where I would speculate on were I just to sit in front of the computer without a deadline or a company or an audience, what would I write? It’s such a gift.”
He describes the satisfaction he gets from his work in two stages, the first being the ‘there it is’ moment when an idea comes to mind, and the second, the production of his work. “Sitting in a theatre and having this absolute indulgence of a whole company and group of people having made your words come to life – that’s amazing.”
Kruckermeyer is not a writer who will continue to involve himself in the process after the script is complete, unless asked. “I am, as a general rule, really hands off. So I finish a script and then in my mind, the writer’s role is done… I like the handover and then it’s the director’s job and the actors’ job to realise it and all of that magic stuff.”
Inevitably, the end result is often not quite how he imagined it, but he’s philosophical. “I think that’s really a lovely thing for me to see the work wholly realised in another fashion and made great…theatre is the culmination of a lot of elements – any singular thing, any singular medium isn’t going to do it in theatre. It’s got to be a bit more collective than that…like any good collaboration, the making of theatre is a nice conversation.” Kruckemeyer said.
It’s been almost eight years since he first came to Tasmania on what was to be a short trip, but Finegan immediately felt a strong sense of affinity and within months, he and Essie moved to Hobart. “Being in Tasmania has been the greatest gift…here is an arts scene that doesn’t take itself too seriously, an arts scene that is wholly supportive, far more than any other place I’ve ever been privy to, and there is this sharing of skills and of time and of everything that moves me every time, I am honoured to be a part of it. It’s amazing.”
And the future? “It seems to be going well, and as long as audiences continue to come and companies continue to buy, then I feel like it’s the right trajectory. If there’s a time when that stops then I also acknowledge that I’ve had a really good run. I will write irrespective, because I love writing. I’m set up in a place I love, with a woman I love. I could work in a book shop and still be a very happy man!”
Words: Ella Woods- Joyce