La Boite’s Fierce New Comedy Brings The ‘Women’s March’ To Rural Australia


Lysa and the Freeborn Dames

A brand new stage production will bring the spirit of the global Women’s March protest to a new play at Brisbane’s La Boite Theatre Company.

Award-winning Queensland writer Claire Christian will makes her mainstage debut as playwright next month with Lysa and The Freeborn Dames.

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In her play, nineteen-year-old Lysa King has come home to a tiny Australian town after a year away, where she has seen revolution happen everywhere in the wake of the Women’s Marches – everywhere but home.

Trapped in her local football club on January 21, 2017 – the day millions around the world took to the streets in peaceful Women’s March demonstrations on every continent – Lysa takes matters into her own hands by staging an epic protest on the biggest night of the year, except only three of her friends and a plucky young policeman show up.

The character is faced with a difficult decision – will she dig her heels in for the sake of change, even if it burns every bridge she’s ever walked?

Directed by Sanja Simic and led by a fierce chorus of senior women including Barbara Lowing, Roxanne McDonald and Hsiao-Ling Tang, the play explores female politics from the perspective of a passionate young woman on the cusp of self-discovery and self-empowerment in a rural town.

Simic said the work was a direct response to “a significant global cultural shift in female power over the past 18 months.”

Lysa and The Freeborn Dames is simultaneously a call-to-action and a provocation; for anyone who hasn’t yet had the courage to join the conversation – to bite the bullet and get involved,” Simic said.

“Claire has crafted a text that is both a celebration and an affirmation for women and non-binary individuals, and a love letter to young men.

“It invites them to consider how things are, how they want them to be, and what their role in a fight for progress can be in 2018 and into the future.”

Six QUT Bachelor of Fine Arts acting students will make their professional debuts in the production, and award-winning actor Hugh Parker completes the cast.

Brisbane-based Claire Christian came to national attention in 2016 when her debut novel Beautiful Mess won the coveted $10,000 Text Prize for Young Adult Fiction, praised by judges for its wit, warmth and sharply-drawn characters.

Christian said Lysa and The Freeborn Dames was her version of “a good sports action movie” and is a response to Aristophanes’ Greek comedy Lysistrata, “the original battle of the sexes”.

“Like, ‘Claire Christian and Aristophanes do Mighty Ducks’,” Christian said.

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“Think girls, glitter, gender politics, Gatorade.

“Think a cracking soundtrack, ridiculous jokes, the empowerment of young artists, a glorious inter-generational lady political exploration, a bit of magic – and a world where the ‘Flying V’ means something entirely different.

“This is a work about legacy, about the women who have come before and laid the path for what’s possible now.

“As a society, we’re finally waking up and recognising that things aren’t nearly as blue and pink as we’ve been led to believe.”

Lysa and The Freeborn Dames premieres at La Boite’s Roundhouse Theatre in Kelvin Grove on July 21 and runs until August 11. Tickets are on sale now.

(Photo by Dylan Evans)