Lysa and the Freeborn Dames is the latest from Claire Christian, and here’s why it’s one not to be missed

Ahead of the premiere of Claire Christian‘s latest at La Boite Theatre Company, Hot Chicks with Big Brains caught up with a few of the cast members of Lysa and the Freeborn DamesWith shows from the 21st of July until the 11th of August, read on to learn more about why this is a performance that truly cannot be missed.

HCwBB: Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about how you got into acting?

Clementine Anderson: I’m a third year BFA acting student at QUT. I’ve been interested in acting and stories for as long as I can remember, but I suppose I really ‘got into’ it when I started at the Queensland Academy for Creative Industries studying theatre in Year 10.

Clementine Anderson

Tatum Mottin: I’m originally from Toowoomba. In 2016, I moved to Brisbane after being accepted into the Queensland University of Technologies BFA Acting course. I got into acting during high school—I loved being in all my schools plays and productions. When I was in Year 12, I also got accepted into Queensland Theatre’s Youth Ensemble, so I came to Brisbane every Thursday for classes. This ensemble was fantastic and really helped to prepare me for QUT.

Samantha Lush: I’m 23 and I’m originally from Hobart, Tasmania. I got into acting in high school through plays and musicals. It wasn’t until I watched Blue Cow Theatre’s Ruben Gutherie back home in Tas that I worked out that acting was what I wanted to pursue. I remember it being the first professional piece of theatre that I’d seen, and it really made me feel a lot of things. It was at that point I realised the power of stories and that I wanted to help tell them.

Tania Vukicevic: I’m 20 years old and I’m originally from Sydney. When I was four years old I was enrolled in dance classes, and it was my mum who signed me up for weekend drama classes at dance school. I realised I loved acting, couldn’t dance, and the rest is history!

HCwBB: Tell us about your role in Lysa and the Freeborn Dames—how do you feel about the character you play?

CA: I play Peta. She was Lysa’s first love and vice versa. Peta is a really strong young woman—she knows who she is and what she wants, and she really goes after it.  I love Peta, and I relate to her a lot. I think most people will. Peta is navigating that big first love and heartbreak and everything that comes with it, including moving on.

TM: I play Esme, which is heaps of fun. She has a bright and cheerful personality and she’s also quite naïve, which leads to some funny moments in the play. She’s recently been crowned Miss Weekender, which is a huge honour for her and she wears her sash with pride. With Esme, I’ve really enjoyed experimenting and playing with the comedy in the play.

Tatum Mottin

SL: I play Myra, a rough and boisterous football fanatic who works in her Dad’s butcher shop. Anything a boy can do, she can do better. She can always be found with her best mate, Esme, who she is fiercely protective and proud of. I love the role of Myra—she’s a lot like me in some ways, and I love her frankness and ability to always try to take charge of a situation.

TV: I play Lysa King, a young feminist who is passionate about empowering her community and making positive change. This role is extremely important to me—I share many of the same values as Lysa, and I admire her incredible courage to educate others and fight for what she believes in.

HCwBB: What’s been the most challenging aspect of working on this production?

CA: There are so many moving parts in this show! And the show shifts through past, present, and fantasy land, so that’s pretty tricky to navigate.

TM: Probably working out the comedic timing, which has also been really fun. It’s so great when you get to experiment with the scripts comedy and really hone those funny moments.

SL: Definitely rising to the challenge of the role and the incredible opportunity to work in a professional production. It’s incredibly fast paced, so needing to really be on the ball for each day is crucial.  Most of the cast are on stage for most of the show, so being able to keep the energy and finding all of the detail when there is so much happening throughout the play has been a huge challenge. It’s exciting, and demanding, and I’m learning a lot.

Samantha Lush

TV: Although a challenge, it’s been fantastic to work at such a fast pace. The energy in the room is exciting, and it quite literally forces you to be active at every possible moment to meet your fellow actors.

HCwBB: Can you tell us about a particularly memorable (funny/inspiring/affirming) moment during rehearsals?

CA: The rehearsal room is so joyous, there is so much laughter, and the atmosphere is totally contagious. There was a moment the other day when we were working on the epilogue and I walked right into the middle of the stage and stood there by myself. I guess I looked really lonely, because all three of the chorus women immediately rushed to my side, gushing and hugging me and showering me with kisses, telling me it was okay. [Laughing] I was just following a stage direction, but I think that’s a great example of the kind of love and support that’s in the room.

These women have taken us under their wings and, let me tell you, it is a marvellous and warm place to be.

TM: A really inspiring and affirming moment was after our first table read with the rehearsal script. Since this play is a new work, we had all worked on creative developments at different times, so it was really great to all be together and to see the journey of the script and to feel how powerful and important this story is.

Claire Christian

SL: There was a moment in rehearsal where we were discussing a part of the text and Claire Christian said “I can be who I want to be because of the women who came before me”.  I remember thinking about my mum and my nan and all of those women who made the changes so I could do all of the things I enjoy doing.  I then looked around the table and realised that the women in the room are a big role in how far theatre has come and how they are part of the reason why the four of us girls are able to be such big roles in a main stage production—I realised what I do in my career will effect the next. It was a wonderful moment, and I’m so grateful for the women I’m working with.

TV: We are constantly laughing during rehearsals, but I think my favourite moments are when a pun or joke catches us off guard and we need to catch our breath from laughing so hard.

Tania Vukicevic

HCwBB: Why is Lysa and the Freeborn Dames important to you, and what do you hope audiences take away from the performance?

CA: This project is so important to me in so many ways I can’t name them all. But I think it’s summed up by saying I’m over hearing stories by men, about men, for men. And I know I’m not the only one. I’m also stoked to be a young actor playing a young role, it’s SO rare.

I hope audiences hear the story. Like, really hear it. I hope this show encourages people to be less passive, more proactive about change, and I hope that everyone thanks the females in their lives for being so damn excellent.

TM: It boldly and courageously explores gender politics and opens up a conversation about the world we live in today. It’s a call to action, and also provides questions for audiences to really think about how things are and what we can all do together to change them.

I want audiences to take away from this show that it’s important to speak up and fight for what you believe in, and that it’s also ok to be confused and still figuring everything out.

SL:It’s such an important piece of theatre that is really relevant to today’s society. It touches on so many aspects of today’s society and discusses how we can change things in a very accessible formant. It’s relatable to so many demographics, which is what is so fantastic about it.

The big thing that I’m hoping audiences take away from the play is that we can’t just keep calling people out—we need to invite them in as we can’t do this fight on our own.

TV: It voices many important issues that I wish I’d spoken about sooner in my own life. It encourages audiences to listen from a different perspective, and I’d love to think that we can leave audiences with the idea that they are responsible for their own voices, and can therefore make an impact on the world with their voices.

 

HCwBB: Who are some of the women you admire most and why?

CA: My Mum, always. And my Aunties. These are the women who raised me, my sisters, and my cousins, and we are all passionate, strong, caring and independent women. I think that’s pretty incredible. Plus they make me laugh like no one else, so…

TM: My mum and my nan. They’re definitely two of my biggest supporters and are wonderful role models. I also really admire all the wonderful women I get to work with in the rehearsal room for Lysa. Their courage and strength inspires me every day to work harder, have fun, and speak up for what I believe in. They all create a wonderful environment which allows us to grow as actors and as young women.

SL: The ones that raised me. My mum and my step mum are two women who are so different and comfortable with who they are. They lead by example and love me unconditionally. My mum is a lady who is loud, fierce, free spirited, and loves to make cakes. My step mum is quiet, strong, and has always been a gun on the soccer field.  It’s rare you hear of someone having two mums from a broken family who love them unconditionally, it’s even rarer that they can love me so much we’re able to enjoy each other’s company. They’ve taught me that it doesn’t matter who I am, it’s what I do.

TV: My mum is first and foremost my biggest inspiration.

She’s the person who has made me soar when I’ve been at my lowest. She’s consistently proving to me that women are powerful, they can take charge, and that if you want something, you go and grab it.

I love her dearly.

HCwBB: What’s next for you?

CA: Graduation! And the big wide world. If I’ve learned anything from this show, it’s that I truly can do anything I put my mind to, as long as I am willing to work my arse off for it.

TM: This year I’m graduating from QUT’s BFA acting course. I’ve had a great time over the past three years, and I’m really excited to see what the future holds.

SL: Graduation. This is my third and final year at QUT, finishing up in October with our showcase in both Brisbane and Melbourne.  The next few months will be preparing for that, and then deciding what the next move is.

TV: After graduation, I’d love to continue working on more new theatre productions, and have a go at working in film and television. I’d also really love to write my own play one day.

Don’t miss out! Book your tickets to see Lysa and the Freeborn Dames between the 21st of July and the 11th of August.


Answers by individual cast members/QUT Creative Industries students as distinguished above, made available via La Boite Theatre Company

Individual Images by Dylan Evans Photography

Compiled and Edited by Emma Kate Lewis

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