Winner of the 2013 Patrick White Playwrights’ Award, Anna Barnes’ piercing new play, MinusOneSister will be realised in all its chilling glory as part of Griffin Independent at the SBW Stables Theatre from 12 September 2015
A father sacrifices the life of his eldest daughter for the common good – having her snatched away during a TV ad break. It’s the kind of thing that can really mess up a family. Mother turns against father. Son turns against mother. Sister turns against sister. Maybe you’ve heard the myth, but not like this.
A re-imagining of the ancient Greek tragedy, Electra, MinusOneSister focuses on how two teenage girls could respond so differently to the murders within their family and the destructive cycles of violence that can tear a family apart.
It’s about young siblings and the competiveness, jealousy and tensions that exist between them which delves deep into that sense of injustice we all feel when we are young and our determination to achieve what we believe is right. Anna Barnes has taken a legendary narrative and used it as a departure point for a new Australian play.
Within its epic blood-filled narrative, it is also an intimately personal piece about growing up, looking at how perceptions of past events can shape our own family histories, and our attempts to come to terms with the actual truth when we are old enough for it to be revealed to us.
“I started to write the play from the perspective of two sisters who lost their older sister in tragedy and both chose a different parent to align with” says Anna Barnes. “The entangled relationships of a family in crisis began to shape the play and answer some of those questions, as well as inevitably posing more. The voyeuristic chorus looking in on this family helped to also question the role we all play in these dramas as witnesses and in some cases, accomplices.”
“Anna’s writing is sparse, exquisite and thrilling” says director Luke Rogers of Stories Like These, and a former 2014 Griffin Studio Artist, “Her play is innovative and challenging in its form and utterly contemporary in its message. The theatrical possibilities are endless.”
Anna Barnes was the winner of the Melbourne Fringe Festival Patrick Alexander Playwriting Award (2006) and the co-winner of the Malthouse Theatre 3Dfest competition for her play In Remembrance. She was a recipient of the British Council’s ‘Realise Your Dream’ award in 2007 – funding her trip to study playwriting at the Royal Court Theatre in London.
In 2011, Anna was Red Stitch Actors Theatre’s writer-in-residence. Her first book, Girl! The Ultimate Guide to Being You was published in July 2012. Girl! was named as one of the Eva Pownall Notable Books of 2013 by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Her play The Execution of All Things is currently in development with director Petra Kalive for Bell Shakespeare’s ‘Mind’s Eye’ program.
Director: Luke Rogers Featuring: Kate Cheel, Lucy Heffernan, Liam Nunan, Contessa Treffone Set and Costume Designer: Georgia Hopkins Lighting Designer: Sian James-Holland Sound Designer & Composer: Nate Edmondson Stage Manager: Angharad Lindley Producer: Peter Gahan
SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod Street, Kings Cross
Season: 12 September – 3 October 2015 (previews: 9 – 10 September)
Bookings: 02 9361 3817 or online at: www.griffintheatre.com.au
For more information, visit: www.griffintheatre.com.au for details.
Image: Contessa Treffone – photo by Brett Boardman