Sunday, March 17, 2013

What's happening with the Pyjama Girl?

I realise it's been a while since I gave you an update. So here's what's been happening. Redrafting, mostly.

In December, I revised the script based on the reading we held in Albury with the HotHouse ensemble.

Following this revision, I worked with some Canberra-based actors (Ben Drysdale, Cathy Crowley, Joanna Richards, Gill Lugton, Ben Crowley and Janine O'Dwyer) and director Cammy T to workshop the script and consider new possibilities for staging. Cammy T's brief was to take the script in unexpected places, which he did. This helped me get out of the mindset of the convention of actors directly addressing the audience, which is often used in verbatim and gave me ideas about how to tell the story, one which is very heavy on detail and information, in a more theatrical way.

In February I turned in a new draft, moving further away from the notion of true verbatim theatre--but at the same time, incorporating other research elements.

The next step is to go down and spend a few days doing creative development with HotHouse Theatre with the actors who will be cast in the play later in the year. It's a great opportunity to work with them throughout the process.

In the meantime, I've been performing a trilogy of short monologues called Dead Beauty Queens. I've created three different characters: the ghost of a murdered beauty queen, a killer, and a wannabe. Dead Beauty Queens is being performed at the Ice Age Theatre festival, as part of the You Are Here festival.

Photo of me by C. Jackway.

Unsurprisingly, this is a side project that has been inspired by the work I've done on the Pyjama Girl project. In the course of research I was struck by how many beautiful women were murdered.

The public reading held at HotHouse was in the week following the violent murder of Jill Meagher. Earlier this week, as I prepared for my first performance of Dead Beauty Queens, I was driving in to work listening to the news on the radio. The first story was the latest on the court case of Oscar Pistorius, the South African athlete on trial for murdering his model girlfriend. The second news story was about beauty queen and murder victim Alison Baden-Clay; her husband's murder trial was underway.

This all makes me think that not only is the Pyjama Girl's story important to tell; it will always be important not to forget.

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