By: Shayla Lee
If you’re planning on hitting up Melbourne Fringe Festival and are looking to see something fun and magical, ‘Julia, A Lesbian’ may be the perfect pick for you. The play was created by the new arts collective Tooth n’ Fang which is an incredible group of artists from around the world. The motherly minds behind the project are Nathalie Kozak, a ferociously talented Chilean/Argentinian theatre artist dedicated to the convergence of theory and practice, and Allanah Avalon, a New Zealand/Russian multidisciplinary theatre artist, now based and working in Port Melbourne.
So what can you expect from ‘Julia, A Lesbian?’
“Take all the women from your favorite TV sitcoms growing up, throw them all into one body, mix in a sparkle of queer magic, and give her a tall glass of pink champagne. Sit her down and ask her to tell you her story. This is Julia. She is a lesbian, but she is so much more.” Allanah Avalon describes of the play.
The character of Julia was first conceived, created, and performed in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, as part of the culmination of four years of undergraduate research in queer politics and theatre performance at New York University Abu Dhabi. Brought together in the middle of the desert, their collaborative team represented a wide range of cultures and backgrounds, including artists from Philippines, Serbia, Slovenia, Jordan, United States of America, and Canada. This diversity of perspectives and skill sets offered an incredible kaleidoscope of artistic visions which came together to form, complicate, and manifest the story of ‘Julia, A Lesbian’.
Growing up like many other young girls, Nathalie and Allanah used to snuggle up on the couch and watch the television incessantly. They indulged in the romances and heartbreaks of others on the screen but always felt something, or someone, was missing. It seemed the woman who loved other women was nowhere to be found, or if she ever did appear, it was a brief and fleeting encounter.
“We spent months tearing through tapes and clips of our favourite childhood dramas and relationship sitcoms, and discovered that although there was a glaring absence of queer representation, both in cast and characters, we both had something to offer to the creation of Julia. We sought to retell our stories through her, and we did. We found Julia.” Allanah explains.
‘Julia, A Lesbian’ flips the popular TV sitcom structure on its head and offers a new and critical perspective on the form.
“Julia’s narrative, while only one of a much greater network of lesbian identities and experiences, offers a glimpse into a new platform of representation which challenges both the historical and traditional place of queer presence in performance.” says Allanah.
Although society is becoming more progressive as time passes, it is rare to see a piece of art that can speak to audiences of all sexualities and gender expressions, but ‘Julia, A Lesbian’ does it. The play is both inclusive and inspiring and is sure to be a hit at Melbourne Fringe Festival.
‘Julia, A Lesbian’ will be playing for three days only at Melbourne Fringe Festival: September 28th, 29th, and 30th at 6:30pm every night at the Speakeasy HQ in Melbourne, Australia! You can click here for tickets and you can find out more about Tooth n’ Fang here.