19 November 2011
MKA Pop-Up Theatre, Abbotsfod
to 26 November
This year's indie darling company MKA have popped up in an about-to-be-gentrified Steiner school in Abbotsfod for their final 2011 season. Following the success of MKA's I Know the Writer season*, She's a Little Finch opens their short second season like a wake-up double espresso made by your favourite barista.
Josie's story is told in four chapters from different times, starting when she moves in with her uncle and his maybe-soon-wife, but she wants to see the lemon yellow paint for her bedroom and keep her zebra finch.
Melbourne writer Elise Hearst graduated from Creative Arts at Melbourne Uni, won the Monash University National Playwrights Competition and attended the Royal Court Theatre's Young Writer's Program in London. And her writing is beautifully dark, painfully funny and stays with you long after the play's end.
The best writers keep the truth of their story unwritten and ask unanswered questions. Her dialogue is fresh and sounds natural because – like real life – no one says what they mean but makes their feelings clear. Hearst's characters's talk about juice, swing dancing, room service and fresh cannolli builds a subtle tension and fear that is allowed to explode and gently reveal itself.
Supporting and understanding the script, director Jacquelin Low and designer Michael Parry create its atmosphere, and the cast (Kerith Manderson-Galvin, Alexandria Steffensen, Lauren Urquhart and Tom Dent) find the honesty and pain in her subtext.
Without MKA, too many writers' works would not have the chance to be seen and to develop. This is the company to see to discover the writers and creators who are going to blow us away in the next decades and prove that the great Australian playwrights are nothing like Williamson or Murray-Smith.
* 15 awesome readings of new work. I missed 14 of them, but Declan Greene's Eight Gigabytes of Hardcore Porn may be the best and meanest love story ever told.