SHIT is Patricia Cornelius’ multi-award winning play about three women adrift in a sea of societal ugliness – what happens when they themselves believe the world is shit, their lives are shit and they are shit.
After its sell-out premiere season as part of the 2015 Neon Festival, SHIT will be enjoying an encore season at fortyfivedownstairs in a few days and at its helm once again is award winning director, Susie Dee.
Dee has been involved with SHIT from the very early stages with the idea for the story growing form a development she was part of called ‘Lock Up’ involving 6 women, 3 writers and 3 directors. “We were investigating the notion of women being ‘locked up’ and not being heard,” explains Dee. “I knew I wanted to direct this when Patricia said she wanted to write a piece about Women- women who think they are SHIT- and I knew it would be tough, muscular and poetic and would def have strong roles for women.”
The partnership of Cornelius and Dee goes back a long way – 30 years, in fact, when both were actors. “We performed in one of her (Cornelius’) first plays Lily and May,” Dee says. “We toured this work throughout Australia and overseas for a few years. We were also both interested in very physical/visceral work that had impact and was significant.”
Both women are not only interested in cleaving away surface stuff but gauging at it till it oozes. Dee describes her directorial style as clean/dirty/visceral/surprising – a wonderful director for Cornelius’ raw, uncompromising material.
SHIT is a hard-hitting, unrelenting play about women and about violence towards women. It’s also about the violence of institutional care towards the very children it’s supposed to protect.
For Dee, it’s also a play about bonding, about relationships and about our world today. About how we often turn our back on ugliness and our inability to be compassionate to women who don’t fit the conventional role/moral code.
There’s not a single moment when the three young women transcend their ugliness. There’s no indication of a better, or in fact any, inner life. They don’t believe in anything. They’re mean, foul-mouthed, downtrodden, hard-bitten, utterly damaged women. All of this is an attraction for Dee who, as a director, loves to immerse herself in stories that have resonance and say something about this world we live in. “Stories that are ‘not’ easy and that need to be told. Stories that we don’t like to hear,” says Dee.
Dee acknowledges it’s always a challenge creating a new work but a brilliant text and her confidence in her craft as a director has ensured a superlative product. The highly lauded work has achieved 4 green room awards – richly satisfying for the the whole team of 10 women behind its creation. Dee adds: “We felt great- always feels good to be acknowledged and patted on the back- especially for this work that doesn’t hold back. It always helps when you have a wonderful inspiring Creative Team and Cast to support the process….and with SHIT we had a mighty and passionate team creating the work.”
SHIT is a kick-arse play with 3 feisty, strong female characters. It may make an audience feel a bit terrified, a bit shocked, a bit challenged but SHIT has lashings of humour and its vitality is infectious.
May 4 – 15