'Writing is never easy'

Australian connect

'Writing is never easy'

The lines between the stage and reality blurred for Lally Katz, an Australian theatre artiste, when she wrote her production ‘Stories I Want To Tell You In Person’.

A one-woman show, the outrageously funny plot involves her switching numerous voices and playing several characters, to an extent that the audience begin to think that she slightly suffers from a multiple-personality disorder.

Aesthetically appealing, richly metaphoric and a story that illuminates like a shooting star, ‘Stories I Want To Tell You In Person’ describes Lally’s quest to “try and have it all” — a perfect career and a healthy relationship in life.

The play was brought down by the Australian High Commission and the Australia India Council and was recently staged at Jagriti Theatre, Whitefield.

Initially, Lally was commissioned by her theatre group, Belvoir Theatre Group in Sydney, to write a play on the global financial meltdown.

Around the same time, she delved into questions about love and loneliness and met a few psychics in New York to understand if she could strike a balance between a healthy personal and professional relationship.

As Belvoir didn’t think that her play on the financial crisis would be ready on time, Lally decided to write ‘Stories...’. She says, “It was a blessing to tell my own story. My director also pushed me to talk about my characters and find my voice. At first, I thought that no one would care about my story but later, I realised that the more personal something is, the more other people would relate to it. Many times, we see our own pains and triumphs in others.”

Donning many hats wasn’t so challenging for her as much as it was having to deal with her nervousness.

She underwent a few training sessions for her voice as she was worried that she would lose it. She also didn’t speak every morning during days of practice, drank honey all the time and got so scared that she thought she wouldn’t be “able to breathe”.

Lally’s first tryst with the pen began with fiction writing. Her inspiration on writing for theatre began after a few of her drama teachers inspired her.

She says, “I went to Melbourne, which is a hub of theatre. I tried to get venues, put up plays and got commissioned by companies. I was suddenly working with professionals and getting paid. I love writing for theatre because I felt that I could cut on a lot of descriptions just by making people talk.”

As a theatre artiste, Lally never keeps in mind the set or the stage before beginning to write.
“I only see the world. I never see the theatre. The director adapts the script to the stage and I rewrite and tweak it only once the director has read my script.”

No scene from ‘Stories...’ is fictionalised but still she adds that writing wasn’t easy even though she was writing about herself.


“Writing is never easy. I always feel I’d rather do anything else. The hardest part about writing is actually making myself do it.”

She has evolved in many ways as her plot progressed and though she was worried about the reception of the play in India, she was happy with the audience that it saw here.


She says, “I was confident about one thing — that India would be a good audience as people understand the concept of psychics. I found that there were many aspects of the play which Indian audiences understood that Australian audiences didn’t. I wish I was in Bengaluru for a few months. I love this tropical, warm, humid weather. I won’t be confident enough to drive here though. I know that India has a legacy of astrologists, psychics and palmists. I would love to see them at standard rates, who tell me things for real. Can you tell me anybody?” she asks, as her eyes lit up.
  

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