Wayne Tunks is being heralded as the most prolific new playwright writing for the Sydney stage, and it is a hard claim to argue with.
In the past two years, Tunks has premiered a run of romantic comedies including The Bridesmaid Must Die, The Subtle Art of Flirting, We’ll Always Have Wagga and Birthdays, Christmas & Other Family Disasters.
p>Apart from all being successful at the box office, all of Tunks’s plays have one other thing in common -“ they all contain gay or lesbian characters.
The 29-year-old Blacktown-born playwright says this is an important strategy.
As a gay man, I am just writing what I know and I find it easy to write gay characters, he says.
I want to show gay characters as a natural part of society. Pretty much everyone knows an openly gay person these days, so it is no big deal. And it is never a big deal in my plays -“ this is just who they are..
True to form, a lesbian bridesmaid takes one of the central roles in the re-worked version of The Bridesmaid Must Die, which opens on Wednesday 18 October at the Newtown Theatre.
The play was first staged in 2004, but Tunks has re-written it so each audience decides which one of the three dysfunctional bridesmaids should expire by the end of the play.
I have three endings written, and at interval, the stage manager does a poll of the audience to see who they want dead, he says.
The suicidal lesbian sister of the bride could top herself at any time, while the matron of honour is sleeping with the groom. Then we have the overtly nice one, and she is so nice that most will want to see her dead. Thankfully, she has a stalker ex-boyfriend who can help with that, and I play that role.
Tunks admits the play is his darkest work to date, but he believes every person has a wedding-from-hell horror story, and his play is just exploring those demons.
Who hasn’t been to a wedding where you look at the fussing of the bridesmaids and wonder what they are on, or you see the jealousy in their eyes and you know they want the day to be their own, he says.
Really, the only unfortunate thing about this play is the bride and her vile mother never die, and most audiences would be pretty happy if they did as they are the truly awful ones.
The Bridesmaid Must Die opens 18 October at Newtown Theatre. Bookings on 1300 306 776 or the MCA-TIX website.