We start our series of thoughts about the creative process with a few words from the director, Kerryn Palmer, about the selection of the pieces included in OUTLIERS.
It’s been a long process of reading, editing and discussion to finalise the script for the OUTLIERS Tour.
The challenge has been to find a series of scenes from New Zealand plays that complement each other, while also delivering a programme that is a good mix of comedy and drama, has equal roles for all four actors, is racially diverse, has a mixture of genders and sexualities reflected in the playwrights themselves and then of course reflect the theme. And also be appropriate, challenging and fun for a young audience!!
If it sounds complicated that’s because it is. Dramaturg KC Kelly and I traded ideas back and forth and at one stage I sat on my floor surrounded by several 100’s of sheets of paper and shuffled them around into various combinations, overwhelmed by choice.
We also decided to have a read though with some university students so we could get a sense of how the programme fit together as a whole and also how long it ran. (This can be a really hard thing to gauge off the page. I didn’t want to begin rehearsals and find I had 90 minutes of material for a 50 minute show.)
It was great having the uni students feed back into the process. They were really honest about what they thought about the pieces. Some they didn’t like and some they loved. We swapped some plays out and others in at this point in response.
One of the surprising things to come out of the selection process has been the real lack of NZ plays about being lesbian. In particular, positive experiences and stories from this outlier point of view. I talked with many of my lesbian friends about what sort of piece they would’ve liked to have seen at college, in particular if they were at the stage where they were confused about their sexuality or unsure about coming out.
After trying really hard to find a piece that fit these criteria, my colleague, playwright Lori Leigh, offered to write one specifically for the tour.
We have tried really hard to find a diverse mix of scenes that represent as many outlier voices as we can fit into 50 minutes. I am excited with the final choices and the range of playwrights we have. Now onto casting and finding a team that can deliver!!