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Girl Asleep shines light on teen psyche


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Windmill Theatre’s latest work promises to return audiences to their adolescent years as it explores that crucial period between youth and maturity.

Girl Asleep is the final production in the multi-award-winning Adelaide theatre company’s coming-of-age trilogy which began with School Dance and Fugitive, with all three plays being presented during the 2014 Adelaide Festival.The new work centres on Greta Driscoll, an introverted teenage girl growing up in the 1970s. She is somewhat awoken from her stupor when she begins to notice cracks in her parents’ relationship, and on her 15th birthday finds herself propelled into a strange parallel world.

Writer Matthew Whittet says it is almost like a fairytale, based very loosely on the story of Sleeping Beauty.

“It’s quite a common thing for girls of that age group to go into this period of their life where they really do kind of go very silent, and they shut down, and they don’t want to be seen and it’s all very awkward,” he says.

“Externally, it doesn’t look like there’s much going on, but inside there’s huge battles being raged.”

The first two productions in the trilogy were both physical and masculine in design. School Dance (winner of two Helpmann Awards and the South Australian Ruby Award for best work in 2012) follows three teenage boys in their quest for social acceptability, while Fugitive is a futuristic, pop-culture take on Robin Hood.

Windmill says Girl Asleep is a marked departure in style – the story is more introspective, and it puts the family at the centre of the experience.

Yet while it will tackle the anxiety and turmoil often associated with the rite-of-passage experience of adolescence, the comedic style audiences have come to expect from previous shows will still be a feature.

School Dance has some very over-the-top comedy, but it’s still got a lot of truth and a lot of heart,” says artistic director Rosemary Myers. “This play spends a lot more time with central characters, and I think the comedy kind of comes out of the characters a bit more.”

After outstanding seasons in previous years, a new challenge for Windmill Theatre will be adapting Girl Asleep for the big screen after it successfully secured funding through the Hive Production Fund to develop a feature-length film.

Immediately after the Adelaide Festival run ends, Whittet and Myers will begin developing a screenplay, with shooting is expected to begin in the second half of the year and the film premiere scheduled for the 2015 Adelaide Film Festival.

Girl Asleep will premiere during the 2014 Adelaide Festival, running from February 28 to March 15 in the Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. School Dance will run from March 12-16 in the Space, and Fugitive from March 1-9.

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Click here for InDaily’s stories and reviews from the 2014 Adelaide Festival, including WOMADelaide and Adelaide Writers’ Week.


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