Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Gestating really distracts you

I am gestating a big old baby girl. And man, is it distracting. I really find it hard to concentrate on things, like blogs and work, and blogs.

7 Months and still with all my faculties.
It has gotten very bad in the last month, now that I am 11 months pregnant. Or 34 weeks. Whatever! Don't badger me because I will yell and then cry and then yell again. It's a party round here.

However I have been writing - I turned out another version of Reunion Blues for the inimitable Clare Pickering and she says many lofty things like - "I'll do it at Adelaide Fringe" or "I'll do it at The Comedy Festival". I am happy to see it done anywhere again - especially as I managed to miss the first 15 minutes of it in the first season. And it's only 45 minutes long. Brilliant work by me, in getting the start time wrong and then telling all my friends that wrong time. So, yes if Clare felt like putting it on again, I'd be there, extra early.

This was Clare's Promo image - Cute right?
I also wrote two monologues for the Madwomen Monologues, one of them was based on a very interesting story that I listened to on This American Life (and I wished then, once more, that there was a "This Australian Life", because I would surely listen). The story was about a group of young girls who were imprisoned in the Weixian Concentration camp in WW2. The Japanese rounded them up and took them there. Although it could have been a recounting of the horrors of war it was in fact something much more moving than that. The, now old woman, at the heart of the story spoke with great affection about the teachers that went with them - who were also Girl Scout Leaders. And how this philosophy of good, clean living gave them all something very tangible to live by. I was really touched by it - so I wrote this monologue: Angels in Weixian.

I just looked up an image to go with my girl scout chitchat above and discovered that there is quite the difference between the girl scout uniform and the girl scout costume.....

I would like to feed you cookies (off my stomach)
I would like to sell you cookies.

Right before the deadline for the Monologues I had a very sudden urge to write about someone that my husband knew years ago - a friend of his was unable to stop his younger brother from dying in a terrible accident when they were playing. Thus Splinter in my Eye.

I also finished the latest draft of Anno Zombie, got knocked back again for two more rounds of funding and then sat in the corner with my back to everyone for about 2 days whilst I sulked. I wish that I could have done that. At any rate - we are climbing back on that zombie horse again and finding other ways to be funded. Because if the serious people that fund serious theatre can't get on board with dead people on stage making everyone laugh then the general fucking public will have to. I think that we'll crowd fund again - because it is great fun and works so well... It actually can work very well.  It did for us once before, but since then every man and his dog and his mask company has put up a crowd funding request.
Don't be sad, zombie, we'll work it out.
Given that I will be turning into my own kind of zombie soon, a parent of a newborn, I am hoping to get some things ironed out before she comes. Because after that I'll be as useful as a cactus.

Next year - Zombies. And babies. And no doubt more writing.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Stringing it together believably

So I'm back from my fantastic trip through Europe. I feel so revitalised as a writer and as an artist. The tiny cobblestone streets, the Armagnac's in out of the way, difficult to find, deeply authentic local bars. The nights of back slapping and laughing and then crying and then laughing again. The drunken meanders through the corridors of streets that famous writers once trod in the same drunken manner. Ah yes, it was wonderful.

That's where I've been all this time, whilst not blogging. Yes, definitely been doing something useful with my time. And creative.

Whilst the above may not be strictly true, in the "actually being there" way - I have been hanging out with James Joyce a lot. And Charlie Chaplin, also Theda Bara, Coco Chanel and Mae West. What a raucous bunch. This time, I am almost entirely telling the truth. I am playing various and very similar French assistants in a play about Chaplin and Joyce making a film of Ulysses. It has been quite a lot of fun so far and is peopled with lots of lovely actors, the likes of whom I haven't performed with in a while.


The show "The Reel James Joyce" is booking now on if you enjoy a bit of slapstick and some chit chat re novel interpretations, then come along. 

Doing the play has taken up some of my free time, and then writing a one woman show for lovely comedienne Clare Pickering, finishing Fury, dramaturging Meeka and redrafting Anno Zombie has cleaned up the rest of my time. Most of these things are now down or on the back burner until our company has submitted for the Poppyseed Festival - everything except the redraft of Anno Zombie. That's the fun bit. The less fun bit is the application form. Why are application forms so horrible for the Arts? I don't think its just me who hates having to try and explain creative rationale's. They are very hard to pin down.

I don't develop a creative rationale when I write a play, I just write what interest me, what keeps me engaged and involved. But, if you want others to fund your work, or produce your work, this is not enough. It's the part I am not really good at, so I genuinely admire other writers that can push their work, and talk about it in the framework that arts bodies want. And there aren't many. Agents can push your work for you, to a certain extent - but you have to get one.

Anyway. Zombies. That bit I'm enjoying. After Mme Bishop spoke words of sense to me in a gentle manner I understood that there were things to be done to the play that I wasn't going to like, but I'm doin' 'em. There's a good freedom in that - once you see the light. Her insights have helped me to redesign the ending - which I think will all be good. A real enema to the rear of the piece.

This weekend I go to the countryside to look at roses and write the application with Christina. We shall slave in a garret with the a candle. Or something quite like that. And then emerge victorious. Or something quite like that.

Friday, January 30, 2015


Full disclosure - I'm a bit drunk. I just had to write that sentence about three times.

Lord why won't autocorrect just always correct my mispelling of "sentance", I am NEVER going to learn that the second vowel is an "e", never!

I am away - down the coast with a mate Jackie and her kids. We decided it would be good to do that - not realising that her children would go back to school today. So, it wasn't so much an 'end of holidays' holiday, but a 'start of the new school year' holiday. Which feels less deserved somehow.  Anyway we're in Sorrento and the children are still awake at 10pm and it's all going to Helena Handbasket. So that's that.

Helena Handbasket
I have had some quite nice wine and cheese though and despite a fair amount of yelling and negotiating and being corrected by a seven year old I am still able to talk about me writing.

Alice and I still labor on with Fury. I thought we might nearly be done, but Alice sent me a wonderfully tactful email that said something like "Spunk, I think that the last two episodes that we have written might not be quite top notch and we should perhaps lay in some actual tension and points of interest. Love always Alice". I fair took her point and we coalesced at my place to talk it over. This involved wine, chitchat, banter, arm wrestling, chocolate, pizza and finally, writing. We re-wrote the seventh episode and the outline for the eighth. We have been talking a lot about keeping the audience with us, making them watch. Turns out that some of my more ponderous realism may not make the teenagers shout 'YOLO' - or whatever it is they are shouting now.

YOLO, ug like... no. I cannot even.
So we included a car chase and an explosion. That should do it. Alice did mention in passing that we would now have to trim then episodes down. I resisted the urge not to throw myself at her feet screaming "My baby! My baby! Give me back my baby". Instead I fingered my chin thoughtfully, in a way that I hope looked relaxed and mature.

Like Obama.
I have also started working with Carl W and Clare P on expanding a character called 'Farsi' that I wrote for the Madwomen Monologues. Clare was magnificent in the role, brilliant, witty and a show stopper. Luckily she was the last act of the night and the show stopping was completely acceptable. Anyway, turns out that Clare can't let Farsi go, so we have met and chewed over the expansion for the character into a one woman show that encompasses a few major moments in Farsi's life - leading to her 20th school reunion.

I am writing the outline as we speak. Not actually, clearly, but in and around. In and around.

The zombies are coming along. I belted them into a second draft and then send that to the Griffin Prize. It may not be up their alley, but you don't know unless you try. Alice sent me another email to ponder about the zombies. I love her so much that when she sends me critiques I am duty bound to turn them over and over. I don't know that I can really complete her vision of a dystopian zombie land that is funny and wholly original. She does push me though, that she does.

It was Alice that also suggested that I write my shark idea into a short story. This was a film idea that has been kicking around for ages. I actually wrote a few scenes using some cheap ass free software from the web and now can't read the format anymore because its ".fyl" (fuckyoulady) or something. Anyway it sits in a lumpen heap on my old computer taunting me whenever I start that ancient dinosaur up.

So many captions, so little time.
My mate, and a DP and Director, Simo, like the idea a lot. I pitched it like this  "Girl falls in love with shark". Ta-da! He thought it was genius. There is also incest in there too. So instead of feeling sad that my scenes are locked up like a software chastity belt - I have decided to make lemonade out of sharks and write a short story. Stay tuned. Long form prose not really my thing - but I'm willing to wade in.

Also my new years resolution is to write some erotica. I feel like that might have been my resolution last year. I certainly thought about it a lot.