Joy – You’re like the Tim Winton of theatre writers: your work exploring the world from a girl’s perspective, but having universal appeal, whereas Tim’s fiction looks at life from the young male perspective. Any comment?
Katie – Thanks for the compliment! I never set out to do things this way but after a few plays I realised all my protagonists are women or girls. I’m much more conscious of it now of course, but the idea still always comes first. It’s partly just the way I think, the way I have experienced the world and continue to filter it. But I also think it’s necessary to reframe the idea of the default perspective, of what we as society view as a normal way of processing information. Because I do believe the female lens is different and time is definitely up on anyone who says it’s less.
Joy – Does the new play address many different kinds of normal, or just the one? Or is it about what/how society expects people to act?
Katie – It’s more the latter. It’s how the weight of expectation sits more heavily on us than we realise, especially when we’re young and still working out who we even are. And then working out how to live what might be called an authentic life within that. Hard stuff.
Joy – Mass hysteria is a given these days, with tempers running high whenever there is a news item that provokes strong emotional reactions. How do we as a society refrain from losing it and maintaining a balanced emotional reaction without succumbing to the pressure of others?
Katie – Great question. Surely this is the magic pill we need most right now. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I suspect not caring if you look like a total idiot might be part of it. That and connection – understanding that everyone else feels like a total idiot half the time too.
Joy – It is a coup to have Anthony Skuse onboard as director, what was your reaction to Skusey coming on?
Katie – I pumped my fist in the air and shouted SKUSEY FOR PRIME MINISTER!!! Also he’s brilliant with actors, so I was pretty happy about that.
Joy – What is next for you?
Katie – I’m thrilled to say the New Theatre is producing my play The Becoming for the Sydney Fringe in September. It’s a riff on Kafka and revolution, but of course from the sister, Greta’s point of view. It had its first outing at The Old Fitz a couple of years back, but this is an updated, expanded, way more 2019 version. I’m excited.
Normal opens in two weeks at the Old 505 theatre, for more see: https://old505theatre.com/shows/normal-1542597399.html