Watch and Act
A darkly comedic love letter to Nigella Lawson, Notting Hill, every tree in every karri forest in Denmark
What if the only language you had to cope with an impending climate catastrophe was from the classic 90s rom-com Notting Hill and imaginary conversations with Julia Roberts? Watch and Act is a one woman comedy show about learning to cope with the uncertainty of OCD symptoms and how that might be excellent preparation for coping with the uncertainty of climate grief. It’s a gentle suggestion of a new kind of emergency warning system, from someone who spent a few summers reading emergency fire warnings on the radio.
Form and Style
The show is most akin to stand up comedy, with Katie addressing the audience directly. There’s a lot of side-stories, but for the most part the narrative comes in the way of Katie pretending to be driving down to her beloved Great Southern, where she grew up.
Sometimes she’s acting out imaginary conversations with celebrities, and real sound bites from those celebrities are heard to ‘fake’ the conversion. Or Katie is simply talking to the audience directly.
The set comprises a park bench, which recalls the bench from Notting Hill. Katie also uses the bench to simulate being in the car. There’s a three-walled scrim around the stage, that hold projections. The floor is littered with dirt, leaves and sticks to simulate the floor of the Karri forest.
Lighting is used to help audiences know when Katie is in ‘stand up mode’, to when we’re in imaginary road trip mode, to when we’re in more like a Ted-Talk mode (there’s a section that’s a bit like an English lecture on Romanticism). Most starkly, red lighting is used when the sudden emergency broadcast warnings are heard over the speakers.
The show goes a lot of places, but strong dramaturgy and Katie’s warmth mean no audience member is left behind.
Touring Watch and Act will involve both a performance of the work and a workshop in monologue writing and performance for young people in the community. Katie’s day job is as a producer for the ABC’s Youth Impact team where she works with young people across regional Australia to share their stories with the Heywire Competition. She also has facilitated youth events regionally for the West Australian Debating League, state and federally for UN Youth Australia and spent years working at boarding schools in Western Australia and the UK. More recently, she has facilitated the Heywire and Takeover Youth Summits in Canberra and Shepparton for the ABC. She has her Youth Mental Health First Aid and First Aid certificate and is passionate about creating safe spaces for young people to express themselves.
Katie would seek work with a small group (5-10) of young people aged 16 – 22 over two days to develop short monologues that focus on sharing their experience of the physical place they live in. She would take the young people through an ecopoetics writing workshop that attempted to articulate the feeling and significance of spending time in local natural spaces. Katie would use her skills in radio production to support the young people to record the soundscapes of these places to incorporate into a five-seven minute monologue the young people would be encouraged to perform for friends, parents and community members as an outcome of the workshop. All monologues would seek to articulate the mental health outcomes that arise from spending time in the natural world.
“They offer a calm voice in the face of an existential threat … for Katie, for all of us, that threat is climate change, and I doubt I’ve ever had its danger exposed with such a combination of grace and conviction.
“Nothing we’ve seen has been better than the luminous, illuminating Watch and Act” – David Zampatti, Seesaw Magazine
★★★★½ “Part monologue, part stand-up comedy, and part emergency warning, Katie McAllister’s Watch and Act is hilarious and devastating in equal measures.” – ArtsHub
“With a grace and ease many wish to have, Katie not only engages an audience about the very much precedented climate crisis; she also takes what on paper would be a tragedy, and has formed an often cheesy (dad jokes galore) but always clever and insightful show.” – Magazine 6000
Available Marketing Collaterals
Writer & Performer: Katie McAllister
Acting Mentor: Andrea Gibbs
Director: Michelle Endersbee
Producer & Publicist: Amy Howell
Production Designer: Clare Testoni
Sound Designer: Georgina Cramond
Lighting Designer: Kristie Smith
Stage Manager: Maddy Mullins
Dramaturg: Alexa Taylor
Audience24 - 45 YO millennials and gen X who seek experiences over material things; Students and young professionals; Older folks or empty nesters; Climate conscious folks; Comedy goers (Comedy Lounge; Lazy's Comedy); ABC Radio listeners; People from WA's country towns, especially Albany, Denmark and surrounds
Bump In2 hours
Bump Out2 hours
CostsWeekly Fee: $4,700
Company ContactsAmy Howell
0400 856 798
Tell me more
Venue FormatAdaptable to most spaces.
Touring Party2 at a minimum, 3 if budget allows
Maximum performances a week: 6
Does this show require a remount? Yes
First Possible Performance: 2 hours after bump in
Minimum Break Between Shows: 1.5 hours
Minimum stage dimensions: 4-6 metres wide and about 2-3 metres deep, and the scrim was about 3 metres high. The scrim frame is customisable.
Staging and Set Description: The set comprises a park bench, and a standup comedy style microphone. There’s a three-walled scrim around the stage, that hold projections.
Lighting requirements: Basic rig with LED washes and specials.
Audio requirements: Standard. Sound board we will link Lab to via Aux cord. 1x wireless handheld microphone.
Other technical or performance notes: Show includes projections, we would need to know if this is supplied by venue or not. One venue staff familiar with tech as liaison.