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Guy Webster

Guy Webster

Guy Webster is an academic and writer living on unceded Wurundjeri land. His work has been published by ABR, Overland, Metro Magazine, Kill Your Darlings, and The Conversation. He is currently finishing his doctorate at the University of Melbourne.

'Orlando: An enigmatic new adaptation' by Guy Webster

ABR Arts 08 November 2023
Somewhere on West 24th Street in the early 2000s, Susan Sontag asked Terry Castle whether Virginia Woolf was a ‘great genius’. Castle agreed emphatically before offering a tongue-in-cheek follow-up: ‘Do you really think Orlando is a work of genius?’ Sontag’s response was quick and admonishing. ‘“Of course not!.” she shouts, “You don’t judge a writer by her worst work! You judge ... (read more)

'Nosferatu: A lacklustre version of Murnau’s classic' by Guy Webster

ABR Arts 20 February 2023
‘What do vampires mean?’, asks playwright Keziah Warner in the writer’s notes for her new show, Nosferatu. It’s not a rhetorical question, Warner has already provided some options: ‘Love, death, sex, money, power.’ Her iteration of F.W. Murnau’s 1922 classic at Malthouse Theatre has all options in mind. While ambitious and technically spectacular, it is a show that struggles to get a ... (read more)

'Monsters: A bus is scary enough' by Guy Webster

ABR Arts 02 December 2022
Is there any trope more ubiquitous to the horror genre than the jump scare? A scream cuts through a loaded silence; a flitting shadow hosts a monstrous threat. It’s a trope often traced back to 1945’s Cat People. In the film, a scare comes in the form of an errant bus. Known as the ‘Lewton Bus’ after producer Val&nb ... (read more)

‘Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde: Getting beyond the binary’ by Guy Webster

ABR Arts 16 August 2022
This month Sydney is host to two productions inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1888). The first, from Sydney Theatre Company, signals director Kip Williams’s return to the Roslyn Packer Theatre following the success of his 2019 production, The Picture of Dorian Gray. The second, from director Hayden Tee, offers a subversive revival of the much- ... (read more)

‘Maureen: Harbinger of Death: Myth and memory’ by Guy Webster

ABR Arts 07 June 2022
Early on in Jonny Hawkins’s Maureen: Harbinger of Death, Maureen invites an audience member to light her cigarette. The man she chooses, like most audience participants, hesitates. She beckons him with a wry smile. As he wanders on stage, she immediately notices his bare face. She presents him with a mask – coordinated perfectly to the colour of her room and attire – and remarks: ‘He has a ... (read more)

‘Heroes of the Fourth Turning: Religious conservatism’s sorrow and solitude’ by Guy Webster

ABR Arts 28 March 2022
Not long into Will Arbery’s Heroes of the Fourth Turning a character brings out an acoustic guitar and is asked to play a song. He chooses Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Nothin’’, a melancholy ballad pulled from the annals of American folk music. When it was released in 1971, many assumed it represented Van Zandt’s struggle with drug addiction. In fact, as he explained two years before his death, ... (read more)

‘Death of a Salesman’: Transplanting the American Dream

ABR Arts 09 February 2022
Since its première in 1949, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman has managed to cling to cultural relevance with a vice-like grip. In 1975, New York Times critic Walter Goodman saw in its evocation of the American middle class the perfect representation of a nation-wide recession following the Vietnam War. In 1984, the play’s titular salesman, Willy Loman, became the symbol of a dwindling midd ... (read more)

How 'Mare of Easttown' dulls the spectacle of disclosure

ABR Arts 05 July 2021
While watching HBO’s newest whodunnit series, Mare of Easttown, I was reminded of another crime-fiction drama, The Sopranos (1999–2007). When Marianne ‘Mare’ Sheehan (Kate Winslet) arrives early for a court-ordered therapy session in the series’ fourth episode, I thought of Tony Soprano sitting down for the first of many similar appointments with his therapist, Dr Melfi. Reclining in a c ... (read more)