2010: developed by Melbourne Theatre Company’s Pre-Texts program for the CYBEC readings
Development – MTC CYBEC readings
Writer Michele Lee
Director and dramaturg Sarah McCusker
With performers Kerrie-Ann Baker, Natasha Herbert, Natasha Jacobs, Chris Ryan, Dylan Young, Gareth Yuen
Full-length play, stage
Michele, describe your play in seven words?
It’s a comedy about friendship and escape.
Roundabout – tell me about your new script?
ML: The idea for the play started out with a conversation about the Herman Rockefeller case – this was the case with the murder of Herman Rockefeller by two ‘swingers’, here in Melbourne. When Sarah and I were first meeting, these two individuals were being sentenced so there was media attention about the case.
I think we both agreed that there was enough media sensationalisation and that we didn’t want to create a true crime sort of play that would add to the hype and misperceptions (for example, Herman visiting a couple for sex wasn’t technically even swinging). One thing we talked about was that the swinging community can tend to be quite suburban, and this interested me, the idea of urban vs. suburban in Australia.
I felt that this was a broader canvas to work with than going behind the scenes of a swingers’ party, and it became a starting point for a play where one character has lived her life overseas while her best friend has stayed living in the same neighbourhood. I chose Canberra as the setting because I think it’s a city that many Australians already perceive to be quite banal, a place you’d want to leave, a giant sprawling suburban town. Also, I’m from Canberra so it gave me ready knowledge to use in fleshing out the details of the setting and the world.
Regarding the name, well, roundabouts are a Canberra motif so it was an obvious choice. Perhaps a cheap gag! There is also a theme of cycles and circles in the play, and structurally I was trying to keep this motion in mind when putting the play together.
Development: Melbourne Theatre Company