A kind-of day of rest after a big couple of months.
At the start of September I began rehearsing Jurassica by Dan Giovannoni at Red Stitch Theatre. This was a new Australian work, which had been through a couple of years of development at Red Stitch, and it examined the migrant experience from the point of view of the third generation, that is, the grandchildren of two Italian migrants. It also had a character, Kaja, from Serbia, which broadened the reach of the story to include the experiences of many migrants to Australia.
Doing Jurassica was a wonderful experience. The director, Bridget Balodis, was fabulous, as was Dan, the writer, and the team of actors and designers were also great. It was a focussed, hard-working, harmonious team. Also, my character, Sara, spoke quite a lot of Italian, which I really loved. It’s my second experience of performing theatre in Italian, and it is fabulous. It allows me to feel much more fluent and capable in the language than I do when I’m in conversation, and it also (in a similar way that doing a regional accent works) seems to open up access to other parts of my psyche.
During Jurassica rehearsals I also did a work in progress showing of 15 minutes of my new piece, Catherine: The Body Politic, as part of a program run by Lucy Guerin studios called ‘First Run’. The evening consisted of two showings, my work and four short excerpts by choreographer Prue Lang. I had applied for this program because this new work has a strong movement component, and I was interested to elicit feedback from an audience well-versed in dance and movement. The evening was curated and facilitated by Paea Leach, and she suggested to me that the audience be asked to do 3 mins of writing about my work straight after it had finished. I posed the question: what did you see? I got about 30 responses! There was also a question and answer session with both Prue and I and the audience at the end of the evening. The feedback, both written and aural, was extremely helpful. It helped me to see more clearly what it is that I am making, to start focussing the work more, and it also gave birth to a side project which I really hope may happen at the Abbotsford Convent in 2016.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been working on, rehearsing, and then performing another work in development, Undercoat: A Parafoxical Tale written by my good friend and colleague Cynthia Troup. Undercoat is a complex and dense work which is a tale of metamorphosis and transformation within a 21st century world coping with the effects of capitalism and climate change. It is poetic, rich, and amazing. We performed the work over this past weekend at La Mama, as part of their Explorations season, and the time spent over the past few weeks have been very fruitful for the creative team. The work has huge potential, and we are now much clearer about what we need, and what the work needs, to fulfil its potential.
I can’t quite stop yet. This week I have my last simulated patient job for the year, and next week I am recording a talking book all week. There is Christmas jam to make, biscuits to bake, and quite a bit of cleaning and sorting to do at home after the year’s work has left traces everywhere. But the weather is warm, and the summer holidays beckon…