Writing in the wild, wild west
Playwright Wayne Tunks, best known for his romantic comedies and gay dramas, has taken a different approach in his upcoming work, The Girl from the West of Sydney, a murder mystery come social drama set in Penrith.
Born and bred in Blacktown, Tunks said he knew by grade four that the world of theatre was for him.
My teacher used to encourage me to write short plays and then every fortnight or so my classmates would act them out. I became known as the Cecil B. DeMille of grade four, Tunks reminisces.
Writing prolifically ever since, Tunks has authored a wide repertoire of pieces, including The Subtle Art of Flirting, Hell Hath No Fury, Unrequited and the gripping Go West.
Maintaining a connection to his Blacktown roots, Tunks has made the western suburbs the subject matter, setting and source of inspiration for many of his pieces, and The Girl from the West of Sydney is no different.
Starting with the death of a beautiful local woman, the story follows the responses of six characters as they deal with love, grief and suspicion. Drawing the audience into a world inhabited by unabashed Westies, Tunks manages to merge social critique into this thoroughly engaging story.
I’m fascinated by the west, says Tunks. It’s where I grew up, but also as a playwright it’s fascinating because the people there are so real and honest.
As a playwright it offers a wealth of opportunities for drawing up characters.
This play is a very different style for me though. I am known more for doing romantic comedies, but I suppose I’m just such a fan of shows like Law and Order SVU and Cold Case, so it’s been really fun to do a murder mystery piece like this.
I hope people find it entertaining and maybe walk away talking about whether they expected that turn, but then also in that talking I hope they maybe mention the social element as well.
Writing every day, as well as dabbling as a producer, director and actor, Tunks is perpetually busy and the schedule shows no sign of lightening with another one of his works The Rules of April currently in the works to play at the Newtown Theatre later this year, in which Tunks will play a gay interior designer.