About the show
LA BOITE AND QUT CREATIVE INDUSTRIES PRESENT
LYSA AND THE FREEBORN DAMES
BY CLAIRE CHRISTIAN
We are anger meeting action,
Strike a match – a fire’s lit.
Political has to be practical,
Can’t believe we’re still protesting this shit.
Lysa King is nineteen and angry. She has come home after a year away, where she has seen revolution happen everywhere in the wake of the Women’s Marches – everywhere but home. Lysa takes matters into her own hands by staging an epic protest on the biggest night of the year…except only three of her friends and a plucky young policeman show up.
This wasn’t exactly what she had in mind.
Hours later, trapped in the local football club, Lysa is faced with a difficult decision – will she dig her heels in for the sake of change, even if it burns every bridge she’s ever walked?
Led by a fierce chorus of senior women, this fury fuelled dramedy centres on a young woman who’s on the cusp of her political awakening, grappling with the significance of legacy and self-empowerment in the face of adversity. Inspired by Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, Christian lands us in the present with this hilarious, messy, and glitter-filled response to the power of women globally.
Following the success of her debut novel Beautiful Mess in 2017, Claire Christian makes her La Boite debut with this razor-sharp exploration of power, possibility, and female politics.
RUNNING TIME: 90 MINUTES
WARNINGS: Adult Themes, Coarse Language, Haze, Strobe Lighting
DOWNLOAD PROGRAM HERE
Click here for the full 2018 Season Program
Chatterbox: Wednesday 1 August
In a small rural town, somewhere in Australia, it doesn’t matter what kind of person you are – it matters what team you barrack for. The War Weekender is the social event of the year, where local towns unite in the ultimate battle – a football game and mighty booze-fest. In Lysa’s small town, the 2017 War Weekender changes everything.
Held on the 21st of January, the day women all over the world amassed to protest a Trump-led free world, Lysa rallies the women in surrounding towns to stage an epic protest in solidarity with their international sisters and allies. The thing is, only three girls show up…
Led by a fierce female chorus of women who fling us through the past in order to prove that the future really is female, Claire Christian’s fury fuelled dramedy is inspired by the original battle of the sexes, Aristophanes’ Lysistrata.
“I’m thinking of this as my version of a sports action movie. Like, Claire Christian and Aristophanes do Mighty Ducks. Think girls, glitter, Gatorade, the crippling complexity of gender politics – a world where the ‘Flying V’ means something entirely different. Good.” – Claire Christian, Playwright
Cast and creatives
Director Sanja Simic
Designer Anthony Spinaze
Lighting Designer Katie Sfetkidis
Sound Designer Guy Webster
Cast includes Cast includes Hsiao-Ling Tang, Barbara Lowing, Roxanne McDonald, Hugh Parker with QUT Bachelor of Fine Arts Final Year Acting Students: Clementine Anderson, Jackson Bannister, Morgan Francis, Samantha Lush, Tatum Mottin and Tania Vukicevic.
Meet Clementine Anderson (Cast)
MEET THE ARTISTS // Describing the show as ‘a pocket rocket of female power, laughter and heart break (both personal and political)’, as a child, QUT performer Clementine Anderson once tried ‘sprucing-up’ her neighbourhood by plastering it with cut-out pictures of J-LO… her love don’t cost a thing, apparently. If she could do things over, she’d tell her younger self that it’s okay to fight really, really hard for the things that you want and you certainly do not have to apologise for getting them. #YasKween
Meet Lighting Designer Katie Sfetkidis
MEET THE ARTISTS // Lysa’s Lighting Designer Katie Sfetkidis is not only able to bring magic to the stage, she just so happened to run for Lord Mayor of Melbourne in 2018 (no biggie). She’s kind of big deal, adores Beyonce (all hail Queen Bey) and was attracted to the work because of its themes and the opportunity to collaborate with the equally badass women attached to the work. Thrilled to have you here, Katie!
Meet Jack Bannister (Cast)
MEET THE ARTISTS // Lysa performer and QUT student, Jack Bannister [accidentally] fully dacked his PE teacher in front of the whole class. He’s also go a three-tone doggo called Snickers and a badass mum who he claims is his biggest inspiration, ‘She has always been there to teach me right from wrong, that all life is equal and most importantly, to be kind’. Jack wants the audience to take away that bridging the gap is about making small steps towards a better world, again and again. We hear you, Jack!
Meet Tatum Mottin (Cast)
MEET THE ARTISTS // Introducing third year QUT student, Tatum Mottin who was most excited about joining the cast of Lysa because of ‘the empowering and hilarious script and also the opportunity to work with and learn from some amazing professional actors.’ She reckons if she could have a chat to her 6-year-old self, she’d tell her to have more fun and eat more hot chips. To hot chips!
Meet Morgan Francis (Cast)
MEET THE ARTISTS // One of QUT’s freshest exports, performer Morgan Francis also doubles as a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and composer, and is somehow related to tennis star Pat Rafter. Morgan’s most inspiring female figure is his Grandma, closely followed by his mum. Morgan describes Lysa as ‘An ancient march to a modern beat’ and wants the audience, no matter what gender, to leave the theatre feeling enlightened, hopeful, and like their stories have been properly told.
Meet Samantha Lush (Cast)
MEET THE ARTISTS // Enter Samantha Lush, one of our incredible QUT Students performing in Lysa. Lush by name and nature, Samantha was a dancer for 15 years and has (thankfully) learnt how to knit a Pussyhat thanks to the rehearsal process. Samantha would love to go back and tell her younger self that nothing is perfect and when you’re older there will be a 24 pack of nuggets you can buy so everything will be okay.
Meet Tania Vukicevic (Cast)
MEET THE ARTISTS // Lysa’s namesake and lead role is played by none other than QUT student Tania Vukicevic, who speaks fluent Serbian, is petrified of rodents and has a secret tattoo (hi mum!). Describing the show as ‘a quivering, glittery earthquake’, Tania is fully chuffed to be working with such a diverse bunch of talented humans. Her mother, who immigrated to Australia after fleeing the war in Former Yugoslavia in the late nineties, is needless to say, her fiercest female role model.
Meet Hsiao-Ling Tang (Chorus)
MEET THE ARTISTS // Hsiao-Ling is a boss-actor, woman, and mother. You might know her from such highlights as winning a VIP meet and greet with Harry Connick Jr in high school, being the only one to catch a squid off the back of a junket boat in Vietnam, or as one of the extraordinary actors in Single Asian Female (all true stories). What attracted her most to Lysa? “The importance of the content in this current climate. Working with Claire Christian and Peter Sutherland again (from SAF). Being asked to be an older female mentor to the QUT students and also being able to be in a role that does not require an accent.” It’s amazing to have you back, babe.
Meet Hugh Parker (Cast)
MEET THE ARTISTS // Actor Hugh Parker joins the cast of Lysa off-the-back of his very first opera foray, Opera Queensland’s The Merry Widow. Though Hugh used to be in a band, they actually never played a gig – probably a good thing considering Hugh would go on to become kind of a big deal in the acting world. When he’s not starring in feature films, on TV or learning new skills in opera, Hugh can be found waving his feminist flag proudly in Lysa.
Meet Roxanne McDonald (Chorus)
MEET THE ARTISTS // Roxanne McDonald gifts Lysa with her presence as a performer. Rox sights being part of an ensemble and seeing the younger actors blossom as one of the contributing attractions to the new work, and wants audiences to walk away with hope that things can change for women. Her female idols include Michelle Obama, Oprah, Lady Ga Ga, and her much-loved sister. Meanwhile, Roxanne McDonald is ours.
Meet Barb Lowing (Chorus)
MEET THE ARTISTS // Kween of the stage, Barbara Lowing is truly a force to be reckoned with and joins us on Lysa as both performer and unofficial backstage photographer, who has a penchant for birds and prefers sake to wine (so exotic!). Barb is most excited about the creative process of a buzzing, joyful rehearsal room, and would have the following to say to her younger self, ‘Do not let anyone, especially the man who says that they love you, put you down, tell you that you are not good enough.’ Amen, sister.
Meet Writer Claire Christian
MEET THE ARTISTS // Claire Christian, noun. woman who weareth many hats. Claire not only wrote Lysa, she’s also La Boite’s Youth and Participation Producer, director of smash-hit Single Asian Female, a novelist, teacher, visionary and Insta-famous wonder of empowerment, not to mention full time pug-mum to Midge. Claire likes to think of Lysa as ‘…an affirmation to women, and anyone who identifies as other, and a love letter to young men.’ Bring. It. On.
Meet Director Sanja Simic
MEET THE ARTISTS // Introducing Lysa’s director, Sanja Simic. Though really, Sanja doesn’t need an introduction. When she’s not directing fierce new Australian work, Sanja is La Boite’s Creative Producer. In addition to Sanja’s extensive experience as a professional champion of the arts, she also speaks fluent Bosnian/Croatian and would love audiences to take away from the show that feminism is inclusive, that we need to raise our boys better, that change is possible, and that women (and all female-identifying individuals) are fucking amazing. AMEN, girl!
Trailer by Optikal Bloc
Lysa and the Freeborn Dames Rehearsal Images
Meet Assistant Creative Maddie Nixon
Maddie Nixon is a Brisbane based writer, dramaturg and stage manager. Since graduating from the Queensland University of Technology (BFA Drama and DipEd Senior Years), Maddie’s artistic practice has focused on the development of new contemporary work and theatre for young people. Most recently, Maddie took part in in Queensland Theatre’s 2017 Young Playwrights Program, mentored by Maxine Mellor. In 2015, she participated in ATYP’s Fresh Ink Program in Sydney, mentored by Saffron Benner. This year, Maddie will participate in La Boite’s annual Assistant Creatives Program as an Assistant Dramaturg on Claire Christian’s Lysa & The Freeborn Dames.
Maddie’s credits include, as Playwright: Cooladdi (Queensland Theatre and ATYP), Food Fight (ATYP), The Parable People (FAST). As Contributing Writer: The Children’s Monologue’s (Digi Youth Arts). As Dramaturg: England (Matt Seery, Nathan Booth and Metro Arts). As Production Manager: Supercell Festival of Contemporary Dance, Cargo Club (Metro Arts and Centre for Australasian Theatre), The Voice in The Walls (Imaginary Theatre). As Stage Manager: Blue Bones (Playlab), The 7 Stages of Grieving (Grin + Tonic, Queensland Theatre). As Assistant Stage Manager: Medea (La Boite Theatre Company).
Maddie is Assistant Creative on Lysa and the Freeborn Dames, and is also our stage manager for The Dead Devils of Cockle Creek. Welcome to the team Maddie.
Lysa and the Freeborn Dames insights with writer Claire Christian