Posts Tagged ‘Nelle Tritton’

Motherland has finished its premiere production. It played in Brisbane at Metro Arts from 30 October to 16 November 2013.

Flyer for Motherland

Sweeping through the Russian Revolution, World War II, and Brisbane history, Motherland is an epic new work of historical fiction, informed by actual events.

Nell and Kerensky in the production of Motherland

Kerith Atkinson as Nell and Peter Cossar as Kerensky in Motherland. Photo bby Al V Caeiro.

Three women, exiled from their homelands, find their lives are woven together across continents and decades. Nell Tritton, the Brisbane wife of a deposed Russian prime minister forms a close friendship with Nina Berberova, who is exiled in Paris. The woman who would tell their story is Alyona, a Russian curator whose dreams of a new Australian paradise are crushed by bankruptcy and the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

Rebecca Riggs in Motherland

Rebecca Riggs as Alyona, with Peter Cossar as Chris.

Shortlisted for the Patrick White Playwrights’ AwardMotherland is a tapestry of friendship, displacement, home, and identity – a finely-crafted story of the casualties of love, ambition, and politics.

PLAYWRIGHT Katherine Lyall-Watson
DIRECTOR Caroline Dunphy
CAST Kerith Atkinson, Peter Cossar, Barbara Lowing, Daniel Murphy And Rebecca Riggs.
SET DESIGNER Annie Robertson
DRAMATURG Kathryn Kelly
PRODUCER Danielle Shankey


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After four years of researching, writing, developing, rewriting, researching again and more developments, my play about Nelle Tritton, Alexander Kerensky, Nina Berberova and Vladislav Khodasevich is getting a showing at Metro Arts. Whoo hoo!

Motherland poster

Image designed by Warrick Fraser

I’m excited and terrified at the prospect.

The showing is a rehearsed reading at Metro Arts’ Free Range and I’ve been having nightmares where it all goes horribly wrong and the audience turns on me. (Kind of like those getting up to give a talk and realising you’re naked nightmares.) In the last one, a man in a wheelchair yelled at me for giving him the worst night of his life. I woke up in a cold sweat and realised that I might just be a control freak.

You see, creating theatre is an act of trust and collaboration. As the writer I can work alone for as many years as I choose, but to get the play staged I have to trust other people with my precious baby. I have to take a step back and let them choose how to dress her, what to feed her and which school she goes to. All I can do is hope and pray that she’ll come out okay.

While I keep her in my head and on a page, she is stillborn but perfect (in my imagination at any rate). When others take her and play with her, she has the chance to live and breathe and be complex, flawed and glorious. She also has the chance to stuff up and show all the genetic flaws I gave her.

The good news is that my baby is in wonderful hands. I respect and love all the people who are taking this next step with her. Now I just have to take a deep breath and trust that I’ve given her the bones, muscle and heart she needs to grow and be everything she can be.

If you’re in Brisbane on 22 and 23 June and would like to join me to see the birth of this long gestating baby, I’d love to see you there. (You can book tickets at this link.) I’ll be the anxiously pacing parent at the back of the theatre.

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