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(Misery's) Feats of The Little Known

"I grew up watching The Simpsons, I loved The Emperor’s New Groove ..."

Shayne De Groot explores queerness in a new show inspired by Buffon clowning and her favourite animations.

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(Misery’s) Feats of The Little Known

Date: 11 Sep 2019

I wanted to write a play. So I did.

I grew up watching The Simpsons, I loved The Emperor’s New Groove, Tarzan and HerculesPirates of The Caribbean: Curse of The Black Pearl is (well, was), secretly, my most favourite movie of all time, and Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness and Mr Burns share first place on my list of favourite plays.

These were my ingredients when cooking up (Misery’s) Feats of The Little Known.

At first, I wanted to explore themes of queerness, specifically queerness and women. I felt then, and still feel now, that the combination of the two – queer and women – are sparingly seen in tandem on Australian stages and screens.

The lack of queer female stories told in Australia in 2019 is alarming … at least it should be. It was to me. So I wrote this play.

With the quirkiness of Bouffon and the simple comedy of clown, the queer themes of (Misery’s) Feats of the Little Known are subtle but crafted with purpose. The show questions our human identity, belonging, the concept of self and selfishness and the life expectancy of our environment.

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The show features a team of emerging creatives including Elsa J. Cherlin, theatre school graduate and all around great gal. I met Elsa at theatre school, she was in the year above me and she too was intrigued by the style of Bouffon that was introduced to us in our early years of study. Elsa brings to life the character Mariel, “a bowl of a being with a head like a big toe”.

Madeline MacRae is a theatre school graduate, web-series producer (THIRTY The Series), assistant director on our production and a Nicole Kidman look-a-like (just the hair though).

Fresh out of her role as Rose of Sharon in Grapes Of Wrath at the New Theatre, MacRae contorts into Misery, “an un-elegant, brittle figure with scab covered hands. A greedy grub who is horribly alone.”

Samantha Lambert transforms into Feralyn, “a runt who looks like a failed transfiguration attempt, stuck for eternity halfway between a rat and a hatstand”. What are three words you would use to describe our show Sam?

“Bizarre, entertaining, unexpected,” she answered.

Curtis Harrild is Boof (“vertically long and horizontally short … He has a face like a jar, legs like rods”); Jesse Northam is Eadit (“A spatula-shaped being”); Gemma Clinch is The Bob (“An enigma … the uninvited guest of the Vile Hotel”) and I play Bort, “a flamboyant fellow with an oblong body and facial warts – many of them.”

It’s (Misery’s) Feats of The Little Known … A little bit queer, a tad insightful and hopefully a-lot/a-bit funny.

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