Mark Colvin’s Kidney

2018 - Shortlisted

Shortlisted

Judges' comments

Tommy Murphy’s play dealing with Mary Ellen Field and her kidney donation to Australian journalist Mark Colvin is direct, amusing and unsentimental but without fear of emotion. As a backdrop to the personal relationship between the two, it also explores the Leveson Inquiry into the British phone hacking scandal in which Field found herself embroiled.

The play consolidates two huge personalities, lives and stories into the space of a few hours and beautifully captures a turbulent time in recent history. As his characters struggle to create meaning in the midst of messy human suffering, Tommy Murphy invites us to explore relationships that are not conventionally portrayed in stage writing. The play is especially notable for the way it eschews relationship tropes in drama and portrays a wide array of rich and unusual human encounters. This is the work of a highly skilled playwright eloquently handling material that could overwhelm lesser writers.