Not in Print: playwrights off script - on inspiration, process and theatre itself

‘The law of sexual assault spins on the wrong axis’: Suzie Miller on her play, Prima Facie

"Five years at law school,
eleven years of practice,
I have always believed.
Now I need to know that I was not mistaken."

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In this episode we spoke with playwright Suzie Miller about her award winning play, Prima Facie.

Winner of the 2018 Griffin Award, Prima Facie is an indictment of the Australian legal system’s failure to provide reliable pathways to justice for women in rape, sexual assault or harassment cases. It’s a work of fiction, but one that could have been ripped from the headlines of any paper, any day of the week, so common you could cry.

Tessa is a criminal lawyer at the top of her game who knows the law permits no room for emotion.

To win, you just need to believe in the rules. And Tessa loves to win, even when defending clients accused of sexual assault.
Her court-ordained duty trumps her feminism. But when she finds herself on the other side of the bar, Tessa is forced into the shadows of doubt she’s so ruthlessly cast over other women.

Turning Sydney’s courts of law into a different kind of stage, Suzie Miller‘s (Sunset Strip, Caress/Ache) taut, rapid-fire and gripping one-woman show exposes the shortcomings of a patriarchal justice system where it’s her word against his.

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Prima Facie will be showing again at Griffin Theatre, 23 June - 10 July 2021. Tickets here: https://tinyurl.com/4j8kd74x

Grab copies of the script here: https://tinyurl.com/5zdjzr2y

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Music by Grace Turner.

Thank you to Sarah Easterman for reading the excerpts from the play for this episode. 

 

War Crimes: How do you win the battle inside your head? l Award-winning Australian theatre

A powerful story of five disenfranchised young women who are fighting for respect, railing against authority and struggling to form an identity in a small town with limited opportunities. The relocation of an Iraqi refugee family to the town provokes a climate of hostility and tension that threatens to violently explode.

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Angela Betzien is a multi-award winning writer and a founding member of independent theatre company Real TV; her work has toured widely across Australia and internationally. She is currently the Patrick White Fellow at Sydney Theatre Company and developing new plays for them, as well as Melbourne Theatre Company and Belvoir.

Angela’s play Children of the Black Skirt toured Australian schools for three years and won the 2005 Drama Victoria Award for Best Performance by a Theatre Company for Secondary Schools. Another work, Hoods, won the AWGIE Award for Theatre for Young Audiences in 2007 and the Richard Wherrett Award for Theatre for Young Audiences in the same year.

The Removalists: Who’s in charge here? l Classic Australian theatre

A young policeman’s first day on duty becomes a violent and highly charged initiation into law enforcement. Remarkable for its blend of boisterous humour and horrifying violence, The Removalists has acquired a reputation as a classic statement on Australian authoritarianism.

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David Williamson is Australia’s best known and most widely performed playwright. He was the first person outside Britain to receive the George Devine Award (for The Removalists). And the awards kept coming; they include 12 AWGIE Awards, five Australian Film Institute Awards for Best Screenplay, and in 1996, The United Nations Association of Australian Media Peace Award. In 2005 he was given the Richard Lane Award for services to the Australian Writers’ Guild. David has also received four honorary doctorates and been made an Officer of the Order of Australia. His prodigious output for the stage includes The Department, Don’s Party, The Club, Travelling North, Emerald City, Brilliant Lies and Dead White Males.
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