For this Rough Draft, the Sydney Theatre Company’s ‘work-in-progress’ program, Rita Kalnejais was struck by a star for a floss-spun family tale rich with fantasy and imagination. As per the Rough Draft ethos, come performance night it may still need a little shining, but there’s definitely a diamond in there. It doesn’t hurt they’ve got the likes of Eden Falk, Yael Stone, Mandy McElhinney and Josh Quong Tart on board to bring the story to life. We grab Kalnejais for a quick chat on the first day of rehearsals…
You dreamt up Star Story whilst hidden away in the library during your Playwriting Australia residency. Where did the spark come from? Star Story came from a story I wrote for my friend’s new baby. The way she moved her fingers and toes looked like she was tangled in an invisible silver thread. I imagined there was a star attached to it that looked after her.
Can you briefly introduce us to the child? The child is quite special. She’s born very prematurely and covered in a lovely silky layer of fur. Because she has a star tied to her ankle and has to dance when it twinkles she’s got quite a wild way of moving through the world.
And foreground for us the world she inhabits? It’s a world of huge wonderful galaxies and talking fish, living above a strip club, being looked after by a star and learning it’s ok to be different whether it’s because you’re mistaken for a langur or because you can’t stop dancing.
This is a gear shift from Babyteeth … did you feel like you needed to ‘lighten up’ a bit? It wasn’t a conscious choice to get more upbeat but it is so excellent to land in this world with so much starlight in it. I love it.
And how have the elements of dance with choreographer Byron Perry been woven in? Well we’ve just finished day one of the workshop, and it’s so far about creating this child’s universe of infinite possibility.
Mar 30, 6.30pm, Wharf 2, Sydney Theatre Company, Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay, free but RSVP essential, 9250 1777, sydneytheatre.com.au