After bringing us Fringe shows such as The Chook House and The Book of Anything in 2019 and an adaption of Sophocles’ Antigone last year, multi-award winning playwright Jane Hille is back at Fringe World 2022 with something entirely different. The Almost Completely Terrible Tale Of Felicity Footin is a contemporary cautionary tale, exploring the absurd, mundane and marvelously inefficient nature of modern workplaces, showing at
Subiaco Arts Centre from Wednesday, February 9 to Saturday, February 12. KWANWOO HAN caught up with Jane Hille to find out how it compares to her previous work and why she can’t wait to take it to the stage.

Where did the story behind Felicity Footin come from and how long has it been in the works for?

The working world and how we communicate with each other in that has also changed. We have become masters of passive aggression. I had heard stories for years from friends about the corporate workspace and obviously, some of the experiences of Felicity are familiar to all of us. Being excluded, not fitting in, silencing issues you would otherwise address, being the subject of gossip or being manipulated ever so subtly to comply with the corporate rhetoric.

I wrote this during the COVID-19 lock down in Perth 2020. This is a “human” fable. The play uses some the literary elements of fable: it’s short, didactic, has two-dimensional characters, it’s highly stylised, and has a message/moral implicit.

You seem to write stories in a number of different styles and genres, was there a particular writer that inspired the story of Felicity Footin?

As a playwright, I am always looking for ways to tell stories in different ways. Felicity Footin is a satire – a genre I enjoy. I wrote this with Fringe World in mind because it’s fun and I think the message is relevant. I read and watch a lot. I am inspired by many creatives. I have grown up reading Phillip Adams (Australian commentator). He has been my inspiration, he is intelligent, articulate, witty, a fabulous wordsmith and courageous enough to say what at times, needed to be said.

And how does this show compare to shows you have created before?

This show is different from others I have done for Fringe, I guess that’s the point. I wanted to do something funny, almost ridiculous and engage the audience’s attention, so they can examine what is implicit in the tale or not. I think the ‘world’ Felicity Footin is in, is applicable to many of us. Felicity reveals our follies, in the hope that we are able to recognise them and change.

Who else has been part of bringing this to life on stage and what have they brought to the production?

This year I’ve worked with a choreographer, Brianna Prince-Wright, a past student and musician from overseas to help create movement and music to capture the piece using other mediums. I have a fabulous eclectic cast of performers with diverse backgrounds and experience; many who are Alumni from Fenceline Theatre Company.

What kind of night can the audience look forward to at this show?

The audience can expect to be entertained. To be amused by the collective of Soft Toy Company Co-workers and Felicity’s inherent predicament.

The show goes up as part of the Fringe World Festival and the Subilicous Hub at the Subiaco Arts Centre, which is really exciting. It’s a fabulous venue and the atmosphere in the gardens and around Subiaco throughout Fringe promises to be a place to visit during the festival.

And how about you? What are you looking forward to most for when this show opens?

I  delight in seeing the cast bring the script to performance. I especially enjoy watching how they develop their roles into something magical. Ensemble casts have a synergy that is unique and that develops from the very first rehearsal. The Almost Completely Terrible Tale of Felicity Footin takes on a ‘life’ of its own and this is attributed to the talent working on stage. I love to watch the audience, and obviously I want them to enjoy it, immensely; as much as we have done preparing for opening night on February 9.


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