Coming face to face with emotion behind office conflict

Sydney Morning Herald
September 19, 2011

John McDonald and David Moore work in the field of restorative justice as facilitators. David Williamson saw what they did and was inspired to write a play about a fictional workplace negotiator who deals with the daily ups and downs of an office including bullying, violence, greed, revelations of infidelity and sexual harassment. Creating three plays and the soon-to-be-released film adaptation called “Face to Face,” the playwright observed Moore and McDonald working with aggrieved parties and frequently consulted them on the script for material.

Williamson was impressed by restorative justice saying, “I was amazed by what I saw. Unlike mediation, restorative justice depends on the release of emotion, and most workplaces are terrified of emotion. There is an assumption that if emotion is displayed, nothing is going to be solved … But here anger and frustration were being openly expressed. There were high levels of emotion and conflict, and that of course is the bread and butter of the dramatist.”

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