John Bell: [commission; be dead in the water; a hell of a;]Thank you. I think it's a question of balance. Any theatre culture needs a balance of classics and new work. It's just a matter of working out the proportions. Audiences need to see the classics, we, the artists need the classics, actors, directors, designers need to work on the classics to become good at them. It's all a matter of proportion. Looking around the country, I would say that all the major companies might do 7 or 8 plays a year, they might do one Shakespeare in that season, some of them do not do a Shakespeare at all that season. So, looking around the country as a whole, I'd say Shakespeare certainly isn't pushing anybody out of the way, or taking over; what I'd like to see is that the companies both commissioning new Australian work and then developing it, too often a play gets thrown on before it's ready and it's dead in the water. Plays need a lot of nurturing. And I think that's what the companies should be doing. But I don't think we're being swarmed by Shakespeare and I do question your ideas about Shakespeare producing stereotypes, I think he created extraordinarily original characters, he broke stereotypes, he challenged notions of stereotypes, and I think he can teach us a hell of a lot about the world we live in.
be dead in the water:
to have no chance of success or survival.
a hell of a:
used for emphasising how good something is.