Review of ‘Security’ by Michele Lee, Darebin Arts

Security”, written by Michele Lee, directed by Alice Qin, is now showing at Northcote Town Hall until Sunday. I saw it last night with my teenage daughter and we both thought it was brilliant.

I’ve heard a lot of positive things about Michele Lee’s writing, but this was my first experience of it. I was drawn to seeing this play as a creative colleague, Katerina Kotsonis, plays the lead role, and after all the COVID lockdowns, I couldn’t wait to see her perform again. I didn’t even know the play was about sexual assault when I organised tickets. I found out just before walking in as there was some written material about the play up on the wall. Something I found interesting from this text was that Michele sees the development of a play as a collaborative process:

“A play is slippery. It starts as one thing. It ends up, as always, shaped by your collaborators…Many people’s brains, hearts, souls and hands have made this play. Kat (“Naz”) [sic Katerina Kotsonis] and Em [sic Emilie Collyer], the dramaturg, have been on this project from the very first drafts. They both have been the lighthouse shinning in the choppy dark oceans of re-writing and refining the play.”

I mention this point because I really felt that collaboration with this play. Yes, it was Michele’s play, but I felt the voices of other women were involved in handling this complicated and delicate subject matter, and in fine-tuning this work so it could pack the most effective punch. And it really did.

As is the case with being a bystander of sexual assault, especially in a workplace setting, and especially when the perpetrator is in a position of power, the trauma inflicted by one act is widespread. Turning a blind eye to protect oneself, preoccupying oneself with makeup and the latest fashions, is easier than examining how unjust the world is. It’s a man’s world, and this point was made abundantly clear. Act like a man, follow the rules of men, and the world rewards you. Go against the grain, try and “change the world” and you’ve got your work cut out for you. However, hardening up, and turning a blind eye, can only last for so long.

This play would suite those theatre lovers who are politically inclined and question patriarchal structures, gender roles, and the role women have to assume as a means of survival. The acting on all fronts, by Katerina Kotsonis, Sina Brown and Zoe Boesen, was believable and palpable, the directing, lighting (Rachel Lee), sound design (Russell Goldsmith) all working hand-in-hand with the writing to produce really engaging theatre. Michele’s writing is relevant and critical, and it’s art like this that helps to shift things, even a little bit, in the right direction. I also very much enjoyed that all three actors were from different cultural backgrounds and walks of life, and the little bits of Greek dialogue. A show that needs to be seen by all high-school students.

– Koraly

Koraly Dimitraidis is a Cypriot-Australian writer and performer and the author of Love and F—k Poems and Just Give Me The Pills. Her theatre show “I say the wrong things all the time” premiered at La Mama in 2016. She has received Darebin Speakeasy funding to work with Stephen Nicolazzo on a new theatre work. Koraly’s opinion articles/essays have been published widely including international publications in The Washington Post and The Guardian.

“Security” runs 26th May – 4th June, Wednesday to Sunday, at Northcote Town Hall, Northcote. Book tickets here.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Darebin Arts

Photo credit: Jodie Hutchinson