by Emilie Collyer
The PM’s office.
PM: So are those guys still writing the plays?
AIDE: I believe there are quite a few women writing them as well, sir.
AIDE: Women sir, writing the plays.
AIDE: You said … guys.
AIDE: Never mind.
PM: So are they?
AIDE: I believe for another week or so, sir.
PM: Great. I want them to write me a musical.
PM: Like that one on Broadway. The smash hit. About that guy, the hero of the American founding fathers.
AIDE: … Hamilton, sir?
PM: That’s it, yeah!
AIDE: Have you … seen the show, sir?
AIDE: So you don’t know the story?
PM: Well it’s called Hamilton, right? So I reckon it’s a bloody ripper story about a great guy called Hamilton. Was he a President? I mean he must have been right? If they made a whole show about him.
AIDE: Not exactly sir …
PM: Anyway it’s coming to Sydney. So what I want, before it gets here, is for a new musical. An Australian musical. About a Prime Minister. An ordinary guy. A man of the people. A hero. Something brand new. Never been done before. I’ve got the perfect name: Morrison!
AIDE: Um …
AIDE: You do know there was a musical about Paul Keating, sir.
PM: What? Shit. What was it called?
This is upsetting news.
PM: Did people like it?
AIDE: I believe it did very well, sir.
PM pulls himself together, he’s not one to be down for long.
PM: Well as you know, I believe in miracles and I believe the Australian people are ready for a NEW all Australian musical about a Prime Minister. An ordinary guy. A man of the people. A hero. I’ve even got a few ideas for the words.
AIDE: The words, sir?
PM: Of the songs. How’s this: ‘I am not giving away my shot. I’m just like my country, I’m young, scrappy and hungry …’
AIDE: Er, I believe those lyrics are taken directly from the musical Hamilton, sir. I’m not even sure we can put them in this play without infringing copyright. Can you … tweak them a little?
PM: Yeah, yeah, I can do that. Just warming up. How about: ‘I am not handballing away my shot’ – footy reference, folks will love a footy reference. ‘I’m just like my country, I’m middle-aged, well-off and angry …’
AIDE: Angry, sir?
PM: All right. Fair enough. Um … Oh. Oh. Daggy! Yeah that’s it! ‘I’m middle-aged, well-off and daggy.’ Oh and even better, even better, how’s this: ‘I am not giving away my cap. I am not giving away my cap! I’m just like my country, I’m middle-aged, well-off and daggy and I’m not giving away my cap.’ What do you reckon?
AIDE: Um …
PM: Get those writers in here.
AIDE: So you can … give them the lyrics they should write?
PM: Head start that’s all. They can do the rest.
AIDE: I’ll … see if I can get onto them …
PM: And hey, that Keating musical.
AIDE: Yes sir?
PM: Was that an all white cast?
AIDE: Um …
PM: ‘Cause that’s where we can trump him. Arrogant bastard.
AIDE: Oh he didn’t write the musical, sir.
PM: But you can bet he likes to gloat about it. We’ll go one up. Try this on for size: Post-racial casting. Colour-blind casting.
AIDE: You know about colour-blind casting, sir?
PM: Course I bloody do. Why?
AIDE: I find that … surprising.
PM: Yeah well like I said last time, you don’t know everything about me.
AIDE: Clearly not.
PM: Hang on now. Back up. Did you say Keating didn’t write his own musical?
AIDE: That’s correct, sir.
PM: Ha. What have we got left in the marketing budget?
AIDE: For the playwrights, sir?
PM: Nah. Changed my mind. I can write the bastard. That’ll show that poncy Keating a thing or two. We don’t need writers. I’ve already got the first song. How hard can it be?
AIDE: So the budget is for …
PM: The cast! I’ve got the perfect idea for who to play me.
PM: Guy Sebastian. Beat. Genius, right! He’s a dead bloody ringer! Go on then!
AIDE: I believe he’s judging The Voice at present, sir.
PM: I’ll turn his red chair. I’ll bloody burn for him! Go on! Go get him!
AIDE: Yes sir. Beat. And if he doesn’t want to?
PM: Whaddya mean?
AIDE: If he can’t be bought, Guy Sebastian.
The PM laughs and laughs and laughs and laughs.
PM: Good one mate, good one. You crack me up. Go on now! Get on it!
The aide exits.
The PM is excited, humming, singing.
PM: ‘Sco-o-o-ott Morrison. They call me Sco-o-o-ott Morrison. And there’s one or two things I haven’t done. Just you wait. Just you wait …’