Posted by: Lisa Hill | May 9, 2020

2020 Yarra Valley (online) Writers Festival: A Writers Lot: 50 Years, but who’s counting? with David Williamson & Hannie Rayson

The next session features two Australian playwrights: David Williamson and Hannie Rayson.   I’m a little out of my comfort zone here because I’m not a keen theatregoer: I attend spasmodically when something takes my interest.  Regular readers know this: there are only seven reviews of drama here on this blog, it’s not an area where I have any expertise.  But I shall do my best…

Longevity was the theme.  The session began with an excerpt from one of Williamson’s plays but alas, there was something wrong with the sound and most of it was almost inaudible.  And then there was some footage of a garden, and then everything faltered altogether.  Ah well, these things happen, and this is a good moment to congratulate the team behind the festival because they have done a marvellous job, and none of this would have happened without them.

BTW there’s another festival in the offing, the Williamstown Litfest.  Unfortunately (for me) it’s going to be presented using Zoom which many of us do not want to use because of the hacking problems we’ve heard about, so I think the Yarra Valley’s use of a dedicated link to the live stream is a much better idea. But if you’re ok with Zoom, this is the link. 


The rain has stopped, the festival has stopped, so this is a good time to take the dog for a walk!


Well, that was a bad idea, because (a) the rain resumed and (b) so did the festival.  By the time I’d dried off the dog and made myself a restorative cup of tea, it was a lost cause.  Fortunately, I had purchased the more expensive ticket option which allows me continued access after the festival, so I can catch up later.


  1. Thanks for these write-ups, Lisa. It’s almost like being there, including the narking dog and the failing technology. On zoom: I think the stories about hacking are spread by commercial rivals alarmed at zooms soaring market share. And Zoom have introduced additional security features – you can’t now set up a zoom meeting without password protection.


    • Ha! A conspiracy theory!
      No, seriously, it’s not just the hacking stories (which I’ve heard from the ABC BTW) it’s that I just don’t want to do it. I have my French lessons by Skype and I’m exhausted by it. So that’s quite enough for me.
      I guess it’s because I’m an introvert…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well I guess. I heard it more as a beat-up, eagerly reporting a rival’s vulnerabilities when all the platforms have their vulnerabilities and insecurities. But I get your exhaustion. I’ve been happily taking part in 2-hour zoom meetings for a bit over a year, but in current circumstances I’m cactus after 40 minutes


        • I find I have to concentrate much harder to take anything in. Our French lessons are usually a delight but I would hate to be learning like this all the time. I’m not the only one persisting with it because we love our teachers and want to support them now so that the school survives.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, I think there’s a lot of that about. There’s no substitute for being there with bodies in the same space, but it looks like we can manage on the memory and the image for at least a while.


            • We have to! More cases today in Vic so I suspect there will be no let-up here just yet.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Dan Andrews inspires such confidence, doesn’t he?


                • He does indeed. I’ve been trying to work out why, and I think it’s because he doesn’t peddle spin, and he seems genuine. We’ve seen photos of him working from home with the clothes airing in the family room because it’s raining, and cooking souvlaki for his kids because they the local takeaway is closed. He talks about how he loves his mother but won’t be going to see her on Mother’s Day because he doesn’t want to risk making her sick. This could all be staged, but only someone who’s actually in touch with ordinary people would even think of staging it.

                  Liked by 1 person

                • Wow! I haven’t seen any of that. He’s like a Victorian Cuomo, only without the prior reputation

                  Liked by 1 person

  2. I am trying to attend but have had two visits to my parents place today already- one a planned shopping visit and the other a can-you-come call because “I’m not feeling well” (but all is ok). Anyhow, it’s been a struggle watching this day as I knew it would be. However, I have paid for the option to listen later. So that’s what I’ll be doing.

    The technology is being tricky. I don’t know about you, but I’ve attended at least two other live-streamed literary sessions – both Zoom in fact (you don’t have to join zoom to attend a zoom session) with one delivered via You Tub. Neither of those had any of the break ups I’ve been getting all day today. Have you been getting them or is it just something to do with transmission here?

    And now Christos whom I am looking forward to because, surprisingly, I’m really rather enjoying Damascus, having been rather dreading reading it ever since I was sent it!


    • I think it’s the weather *and* the technology. It’s windy (and wet) here, and it’s Saturday afternoon when the entire adult population of Australia is streaming stuff. And we’ve got the Malcolm Turnbull cheapskate version of the NBN here, not the Kevin Rudd it’s-really-fast-and-stable version. Did you know that the value of your house is increased if you have the Rudd NBN? It’s infuriating.
      Glad to hear that ‘all is well’, I think of you often in that respect.


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