Scones with Nana

This is a ‘Get Together’ pitch, where the creative leads facilitate a series of 20-minute group discussions about their project.

This project is the result of 15 years of research that is still ongoing. It a big story that will be performed in small kitchens. It is a humorous truth telling that exposes the secrets that a family have successfully hidden for several generations, in a celebration of womanhood, warts and all.

It is designed to be site-specific and cross artform for performance to small audiences in a workers cottage by 4 live actors, set in Fremantle WA over a period of 100 years. It’s an honest and humorous look at a family’s secrets of: domestic violence, stolen generation, abandoned children and hidden Aboriginal heritage. Nana is an elderly woman, a chronic scone maker with a filthy sense of humour. She has suffered with voluntary dementia for many years. Now she is suffering the early stages of involuntary dementia that has loosened her tongue and she hasn’t put her teeth in today so eating scones and applying lipstick is difficult.

I love this project because I finally get to tell the story of this family. The research has openned many doors and extended the size of my family, many times over.

As a site specific work, I believe the story could be told in no other way. Every object in Nana’s house had a story. The bunch of artificial flowers in a glass jug were for her sister Annes grave the next time she and Pop went to New Norcia. Aged 14 in 1972 when the play is mostly set, I did not know the darker side of New Norcia’s history, I did not know that Sister Anne was not a nun.

The work takes small audiences on a journey through an old workers cottage that could have been Nanna’s house and feeds them scones, jam first then the cream. It is told with honesty and wit.

It tells the story of colonisation of Western Australia, from a female perspective. History, to date, has been told mainly by men. Why? Because it has been collected and recorded by men. So much history, especially the women’s stories, have been lost as a result.

Skills and experience of the people involved

I have worked in the arts since I was 17. With an eventual degree in Social Science and a Grad Dip ed (thanks Gough) it was natural thing to gravitate towards the Community Cultural Development discipline in the arts. I have co-written at least 19 major works that tell community stories. Several have toured regional WA. 2 have featured at the International Puppetry festival OFF in Charleville Mézières France. This is the first work that I have written entirely on my own.

Broome is place with no venues and very few trained people who can run technical and stage production, so it made sense to build training into each community project that I facilitated. It became normal to present shows that were site specific or site responsive.

I am the writer /director/tour manager. Dramaturgy, so far, has been done by Paula McFetridge of Kabosh Theatre (who specialize in site specific Theatre for the underrepresented) in Belfast, North of the island of Ireland.

Casting will be done via an audition process. Nana will be played by an older Noongar woman, the girls Jackie and Gwen can be played by non-Noongar women especially as at the time that the play is set, they did not know, nor did they look like they were Noongar. John Wallace, Nana’s Scottish ex-convict grandfather, and her two suiters can all be played by the same male actor. Kajamin and the two children to be featured in a short film sequence will be performed by Noongar actors. Indigenous film maker Michael Torres will film the video component and movement activated photo portraits. Design will be by Chris Hill with 30 years experience. Lighting and design by Andrew Chambers. Stage manager is to be decided.

 

Artforms

Theatre

Company Contacts

Gwen Knox
0408 904 972
gwendolyn@westnet.com.au

Company Website

https://gwenknox.com/



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