Our February picks for schools
John Kachoyan - AustralianPlays.org Literary Manager
Hello and welcome to a brand new year – 2016 and it’s already nearly the end of February. To kick off the New Year I have chosen two plays by Suzie Miller, international playwright and social justice advocate. Miller’s plays are passionate and insightful and always have a strong moral core. Her preoccupation with social justice gives her plays a wonderful toughness combined with a tremendous empathy for those she is writing about.
These two plays were both commissions from Perth’s Barking Gecko Theatre Company and were made with the then Artistic Director, John Sheedy, a long-time collaborator with Miller.
Driving Into Walls was the first of the two to be written (for the Perth Festival in 2012). It was an enormous success and subsequently toured widely. Two years later, Onefivezeroseven followed, also in the Perth Festival.
In both cases, Miller interviewed hundreds of teenagers anonymously and asked them to share their thoughts, feelings, hopes and anxieties. From these interviews, Miller has crafted verbatim plays that, because they use the words of teenagers, have a startling and moving impact. The productions were originally made with a strong physical/visual layer and so are particularly useful for investigating form as part of drama studies.
Both plays contain stark images and language and neither pull their punches in terms of what these adolescents are going through and what their fears and hopes are. They speak strongly and eloquently to the issues that young people are facing today. These are definitely only suitable for year 9 and upwards!
Tom Healey, Literary Manager