Director's Statement Rosemary Myers
Girl Asleep premiered in 2014 as the third part in a trilogy, which saw Windmill Theatre Co collaborate and develop a theatrical language over several years with a group of artists who shared similar aesthetics and passions.
Each trilogy production is self-contained but at the heart of the works are rites-of-passage stories focused on the teenage years; this high stakes, often painful time of life that is also full of possibility as you begin to carve out your own place in the world.
In Girl Asleep, our protagonist, Greta Driscoll is clinging to her childhood. She is shy and plays it under the radar in a new school in the 1970s, a significant era for feminism in Australia. Girl Asleep focuses on the latent (as Freud would say, feminine) aspect of adolescence. All that time you spend in your own mind escaping, contemplating, and dreaming. Greta starts as a passive protagonist and the play is the story of her activation. Writer Matthew Whittet brings this terrain to life with his poignant telling of the outsider story, of friendship and family, and his hilarious and deeply affecting characters that are embodied by our excellent actors.
With the talents of our creative team members Jonathon, Luke and Richard, we have sought to make these worlds vibrant and alive through the use of recapitulated popular culture, and the combination of old school theatrics and contemporary production techniques.
The amazing experience of making this theatre show did not stop with the trilogy when, through the HIVE fund (an Adelaide Film Festival initiative), we were able to transfer our theatrical language to the big screen and create a feature film based on our play. Creating the film was another chapter of this ride and an opportunity to explore this story in a brand new medium.
We had the opportunity to refine this work again when we revisited the play at Belvoir in 2016. Living with Girl Asleep over the past four years through the play and film, there have been so many different drafts that the spell checks of both Matt and I have defaulted to correct the word ‘great’ to ‘Greta’.
A large and diverse worldwide audience has now enjoyed our Girl Asleep story, many tapping into their inner teenager. For us, the experience of returning to perform the show to a live audience, with lots of teenagers in the room, is truly adrenaline-charged. This is its true home.