Charles Manson and the subtle art of radicalisation

 by Scott Welsh

LA MAMA FARADAY STREET, CARLTON October 29th – 31st, 2015

Thursday 6:30 PM; friday 8:30pm; SATurday 6:30 PM


About the play

Two Australian women undertake an intellectual journey that ultimately leads them to Charles Manson and his dark world of manipulation and mind control. An exploration into extremism and radical thinking that includes a vision of Black Panther Bobby Seale and other dangerous political ideas.



Written by: Scott Welsh

Directed by: Ezekiel Day

Sadie/susan atkins: Kimberley Kardaras

Squeaky fromme: Kathy Schoenjahn

Woman 1:Madhulika Basu

star: Eva Torkkola

seale: Ezekiel Day

manson: Scott Welsh

Pigasus: Cherian Jacob

stage manager/lighting and sound: kylie gral



note from scott welsh:


The concept for this piece originates from an unhealthy obsession with the Manson family, shared by many of my own and the previous generation, and fuelled by pop culture. I found myself googling, watching, reading everything there was to read. I leafed through a book at an airport, Coming Down Fast, by Simon Wells and was haunted by Manson’s voice. As I listened incessantly to the words of Manson, coming at me from every medium, I began to wonder how much of the blame for these crimes could be attributed to a ‘culture of exclusion’? I felt like a kindred spirit, a Mansonite because somewhere I felt like one of society’s displaced children. When we find ourselves on the fringes of society because we have been cast out and rejected from family, jobs, education, etc., sometimes dangerous ideas flourish.

 I began to explore such ideas through researching the voices of social radicals such as Manson, Susan Atkins and I connected these with a past obsession with Black Panther Bobby Seale. I then collaborated with director Ezekial Day and producer Cherian Jacob in a creative process through which my own philosophical reflections were transformed into a dramatic play. Two new characters were introduced and the idea of utilising Manson to speak more generally about the phenomenon of radicalisation or current, emerging sub-cultures became the central theme. The creative process, in this instance, was a continuous evolution of ideas through conversation and communication with the director who, in this instance, also played the role of dramaturg.

 The writing process involved hearing the piece read by several actors over a number of years, including the current cast. The script is in a continuous process of evolution, partly because the director and I, with the producer and ultimately the cast, have come to see the Manson phenomenon not as merely a historical or social event or phenomenon but as medium through which we can speak about our own alienation, exclusion and even the contemporary phenomenon of radicalisation or a call to arms.