With a dash of onstage cooking, a pinch of feminism and a twist of wild dance party, Sorry to Cut You Off, Penny turns an election night dinner party into a punchy and deeply personal journey, as four young women confront a nation and make their voices heard.
Collaborating with award winning theatre maker David Williams, Tantrum’s Trajectory Ensemble – Alana McGaughey, Meg O’Hara, Phoebe Turnbull and Daynah Simmons – developed the performance over the past six months, alongside state and federal elections, school climate strikes and Eggboy.
The creative process facilitated by Williams, a frontrunner in political theatre in Australia, has ensured the women’s voices take the lead. The script has come directly from no-holds-barred conversations in rehearsal, leading to a joyous, comic blur between art and life.
“We started with activism and politics but quickly found ourselves talking about food, domesticity and gender,” says O’Hara. “It’s just really exciting to have the chance to speak our truth onstage.”
The title Sorry to Cut You Off, Penny references the ABC’s coverage of the 2019 federal election and the constant interruption of ALP Senator Penny Wong throughout the night.
“I wanted to give the group space to talk about the kind of changes we hoped to see and make in the world,” says Williams. “When the federal election was called for May, it seemed natural to create our own election night dinner party, as the rehearsals were already feeling like one.”
Creator-performer Phoebe Turnbull (no relation) has a suggestion for anyone wanting to enact political change.
”The other day my friend posted on her Instagram story about how even in progressive, lefty movements it’s always the women who do the washing up. Maybe it’s time more of us participated in the revolutionary act of doing the dishes.”