Melbourne-based playwright Louris van de Geer’s Tuesday opens this year’s 25A season in Belvoir’s Downstairs Theatre. We ask her a few quick questions.
It’s been more than six years since you wrote Tuesday [the play had its Melbourne premiere in 2012]. What are you up to now?
I am writing three new works at the moment. Three has always been my favourite number, so it feels somehow meaningful. Two are adaptations of Australian novels, which is something I have never attempted before, and which is much harder than I thought it was.
The other piece is an original that has me looking at a lot of photos of appliances on the internet. I am very busy this week because I always leave things to the last minute, and the last minute is finally here.
I have been setting myself little rewards to get things done. Today I told myself if I wrote a new scene I could go to the supermarket. When I got there it was too busy and I couldn’t wait to get home to my desk. I think that’s a good trick.
What things inspire your playwriting?
I am most fascinated by the everyday. By little details. I like writing images, trying to construct physical spaces with words. I often find myself drawn to writing about things that annoy me, that terrify me, but which I find somewhat essential to life – like supermarkets, or appliances, or lies.
I always seem to write about people not saying what they mean, not knowing what they mean. People not being able to reach each other.
What were you thinking about when you wrote Tuesday?
I remember I began by thinking about violence – small acts of violence, how violence manifests in the everyday, how violence exists in everyone to varying degrees, where it comes from, how we manage it. Then I remember thinking about a supermarket carpark and wondering who the various people are that might congregate there; and I remember looking at a photo of milk. Somehow these things all came together to make Tuesday.
What do you think of Tuesday now?
I think it may be even more resonant, because we seem to be moving further and further away from each other, into our own little individual prisons. No one looks up anymore, people are always on their phones.
I have been thinking lately about the ‘story’ feature on Instagram, about how you get these updates telling you who has ‘seen’ your post. We don’t need to ‘like’ anymore, we just ‘see’. This reminds me so much of Tuesday. We co-exist, we don’t engage, but eventually we’ll erupt.