Q&A: The Director of Single Asian Female, Claire Christian

Q&A: The Director of Single Asian Female, Claire Christian

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Hot Chicks with Big Brains are incredibly excited to be partnering with La Boîte Theatre Company for the duration of their 2017 season. This year’s performances promise to be as engaging as they are diverse, with a whole bunch of incredible women helping to ensure their success.

With one week left to go, three of the final performances of Single Asian Female are now sold out (book a ticket here for Friday or Saturday, quick!) and there is huge demand for the show to tour nationally. We interviewed the stars of the show before opening night, and now here’s a chat with the Director, Claire Christian.

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Single Asian Female is your very first play! What inspired you to get into theatre?

Single Asian Female is my first main stage work, yes, and it’s so bloody exciting to be making my debut with this play. It’s one I so desperately care about, but I’ve been writing, directing, producing and co-creating theatre for a really long time. I’ve mostly worked in the Youth Arts, Community Arts and Independent Theatre sectors making work with young people and different communities. I became obsessed with theatre when I was about fourteen and consequently studied Drama at uni, became a high school Drama teacher and then went on to work for theatre companies around Queensland facilitating their Youth programs. 

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What’s been the most challenging part of putting together this production? What’s been the most rewarding?

This project has been one of those rare, sublime ones where very few things have been challenging.

I feel like we’ve been gifted by some kind of omnipresent, magical force that has blessed us with calm waters and  a whole heap of love. In reality I think it’s just that we’ve had an amazing group of people all working their butts off for the collective good because they do whole heartedly believe in the show and what we’re doing.

The most rewarding thing for me about Single Asian Female is the idea that people who don’t usually engage with theatre will come and find it completely accessible. It’s rewarding to tell – and hopefully to watch – just a straight up good story about real life people navigating real life things.

Plus, on a larger, more political scale, this work is most rewarding because it’s a celebration of women, and more specifically women of colour. 

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Can you tell us more about the various themes explored in the play and what they mean to you?

At its core the play is about family and about how families deal with change and conflict. It’s about womanhood, and it speaks to three specific moments in time for women; adolescence, mid-life and menopause. It’s about identity and working out who you are and who you want to be and trying to find your way when you feel like you don’t represent what is ‘normal’ or ‘pretty’ or ‘feminine’ or ‘age-appropriate.’ It’s about contemporary Australia, and it re-iterates through its very existence, that we are not the mono-culture we currently privilege.

It’s about what being Australian means, and the enormous grief that comes with our traumatic past, as well as our current complex and flawed relationship to race and otherness.  

What has been your favourite part of working on Single Asian Female?

Working with writer, Michelle Law, has been a dream. We are kindred in almost all things, specifically choosing well-timed GIFs to truly articulate our feelings. This collaboration has been joyous and one I know that will continue to blossom. This team of actors are truly excellent crafts people and it’s been an honour to watch them work. Plus, the creatives who have worked on this project have just been superb. But my absolute favourite thing is that everyone is hilarious. Coming to work each day and giggling hysterically about poo or sex or politics or Tinder or unicorns has been my favourite thing. There hasn’t been a single day in this process that I haven’t wanted to come to work; I miss them when we’re not together.

It’s been like a glorious asexual romantic comedy with thirteen main characters. 

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What are you most looking forward to on Opening Night?

I’m an awkward, extrovert-looking introvert, so Opening Night will be a weird array of feelings for me. But I’m really excited about honouring Michelle and her big, brilliant brain as well as celebrating the amazing artists who have worked so bloody hard to bring the show to life. I’m excited to continue having conversations about diversity in the arts and for the show to be open and devoured by audiences.  

What’s next for you? Do you have any other plays in the works?

Once Single Asian Female is open I’ll jump straight into editing my Young Adult novel Beautiful Mess which is due for release by Text Publishing later this year. It’s my first novel, so I’m trying my best to be cool and not freak out about that. The next play I’m working on is La Boite’s production called The Village, which is a verbatim work looking at the stories of refugee and asylum seekers who have settled in Brisbane. We did a creative development of it in 2016, and it’s a special and particularly important work.

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Photography by Dylan Evans Photography

Illustration by Anna Apuli

Interview questions and editing: Emma Kate Lewis 

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