How do people manage their inner voices when they find themselves the victims of bias? What happens to a person when they feel judged? These are questions Alana Valentine, award-winning Australian playwright, asked herself when writing her new play, Made To Measure, which examines internalised discrimination and “flippant social attitudes” around the subject of weight.
The main character, Ashleigh, about to marry, finds herself in a dilemma when searching for a wedding dress. She is overweight and nothing seems to fit. There is nothing for it but to find a tailor, who can make the dress, in her size. So begins a relationship between client and stylist, in which different aspects of weight and weight management are explored.
In her research, Valentine interviewed couturiers on the issues of styling and fitting clothes to different shapes and sizes and, with further scientific research, found that biology is not the same across all human beings and that ‘different bodies deal with fat in different ways.’
Valentine was mentored by Alex Buzo and has written many award-winning plays, including Parramatta Girls, about orphaned and abused girls fostered by The Parramatta Girls Home. Valentine is also well known for her plays Shahanna And Aunt Sarrinah, a companion to Buzo’s Norm And Ahmed, which deals with generational change, prejudice and, wearing the hijab. Both are on the NSW school drama syllabus. Valentine has won three AWGIE awards including The David Williamson Award, a BBC radio award for best play and even The International Writing Fellowship Award at Shakespeare’s Globe London. She is a serious playwright focusing her theatrical voice on some very serious issues.
Made To Measure aims for social awareness and the need for change. Starring Megan Wilding, Tracey Mann, Sam Osullivan and, directed by Tim Jones.
Until Jun 1. The Seymour Centre, Cnr City Rd & Cleveland Street, Chippendale. $37-$46+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.seymourcentre.com
By Renee Lou Dallow