MacRudd -King of Oz- A Tragedy
by Kevin O'Donnell
BookVenture Publishing

"You all know that I have supported the queen throughout her reign. Today, I announce that I can no longer do so."

Presented in the form of a play, this story uses political satire and the formula of Shakespeare's Macbeth to tell the story of former Australian Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott, and others. In the context of this story, Rudd is MacRudd, King of Oz, a boorish leader who makes it impossible for anyone to schedule a meeting with him, is constantly surrounded by mountains of unfinished paperwork, and quick to blame anyone other than himself when something goes wrong. The Red Witch, the fictional persona of Gillard, is a loyal assistant to MacRudd, but she is talked into deposing the king by Simon the Clean, the Black Swan, Winky Bill, and others. The conspiracy informs the Red Witch that MacRudd is leading Oz down a path that their ruling organization will not recover from. Reluctantly, the Red Witch accepts to oust MacRudd from the throne and take over leadership as a sensible alternative.

MacRudd is infuriated by the turning of his loyal supporters and his own deposition and vows to rally against the Red Witch, even though she is a member of the same party as he. In an attempt to placate MacRudd, the Red Witch makes him a roving ambassador. MacRudd accepts the position but continues his machinations to return to power behind the scenes. When public opinion turns against the Red Witch, MacRudd's own plans cast him in a favorable light once more. The internal struggle between MacRudd and the Red Witch opens the door for the Mad Monk (Abbott) and his party to seize control as an alternative to all the in-fighting of the current regime.

In order to tell this tale of recent Australian politics, the author combines the familiar structure and themes of Macbeth and applies them to this modern situation. The script format hearkens it even more closely to its inspirational source, and the satire reads confidently, even going as far as to include political cartoon-style illustrations of the various characters throughout the book. Obviously in a work such as this, only the point of view of the author is presented, but the writing is done well enough that readers won't simply need to agree to enjoy this play, they simply need to be able to take a joke and enjoy the storytelling. The re-imagining of Macbeth is unique enough that it doesn't simply feel like a carbon copy, but at the same time functions in a way that could help someone understand the plot of Macbeth had they never read it before.

Overall, this is a lighthearted, breezy read that is purely entertaining and enjoyable. The story doesn't require any knowledge going into reading it, but it certainly helps enhance an understanding of what the satire is trying to represent. From the legislature and policy discusses to the characters themselves, it may not be a bad idea for readers confused by what is happening to do a little research on their own and enhance the comedy and the storytelling crafted by the author. Like all political satire, this work serves to take world leaders past and present down a couple pegs, and it succeeds in exposing the most base human qualities exhibited behind closed doors. If readers can appreciate parody and the thin line between honesty and caricature, they'll appreciate everything this play is about.

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