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. 

 

Halal-el-Mashakel: “Asylum seekers are just like you and me” l Refugee theatre

An odd-couple story—a friendship between two musicians stuck in an immigration detention centre. There’s the drummer who loves rock ‘n’ roll and the guitarist with a passion for Cat Stevens. Their discord becomes a key, unlocking the deep frustration and aimlessness both men feel. And Linda Jaivin finds just enough dark humour to save them from oblivion.

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Linda Jaivin is a writer, translator and cultural commentator. She is the author of eleven books and a frequent contributor to respected publications, including The Monthly. Her first novel was the comic-erotic international best-seller Eat Me. Her seventh and most recent novel is The Empress Lover.

Her non-fiction includes Confessions of an S&M Virgin and the China memoir The Monkey and the Dragon as well as Beijing, which has just been published as part of Reaktion Press’s Cityscopes series. She is also a literary translator from Chinese, specialising in film subtitles, and an editorial consultant to the ANU's Australian Centre on China in the World.

Between 2001 and 2005, Linda regularly visited asylum seekers at Villawood Detention Centre where she helped some to draft appeals on their cases to the minister for immigration.

The Secret River: Our history is contested space l Classic Australian theatre

William Thornhill: Born into brutal poverty in London in the late 18th century and transported to the Colony of New South Wales for theft in 1806. After earning his freedom he brings his wife and children to the Hawkesbury River where they ‘take up’ 100 acres of land, only to discover that it’s not theirs to take.

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Andrew Bovell writes for the stage, television and film. In 1992 he wrote the original screenplay for Strictly Ballroom and in 2001 he went on to adapt his stage play Speaking in Tongues in to the feature film, Lantana. The film premiered at the Sydney Film Festival in 2001 and went on to screen at numerous international film festivals winning many awards. Most recently Andrew adapted John Le Carre’s novel A Most Wanted Man.

His theatre credits include Scenes from a Separation (with Hannie Rayson); Speaking in Tongues, which premiered at Griffin Theatre in 1996 and has had over 50 other productions worldwide; Holy Day, which won the Louis Esson Prize for Drama at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards and the AWGIE Award for Best Stage Play (2002); and When the Rain Stops Falling, which won Queensland and Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for Best Play, the Adelaide Critics Circle Individual Award, Sydney Theatre Award for Best New Australian Work and 3 Greenroom Awards including Best New Writing for the Australian Stage.

Introduction to Shafana & Aunt Sarrinah l On the politics of Australian theatre

Dr. Christina Ho reads her introduction to Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah. It’s called Creating Identity in a Hostile World. Dr. Ho researches migration, multiculturalism and the politics of diversity, focusing particularly on the experiences of Muslim Australians and the Chinese diaspora.
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