Just a Boy, Standing in Front of a Girl
photographs by Lachlan Woods
From the creative team behind The Yellow Wave and Cuckoo comes a Medea for our times.
Just a Boy, Standing in Front of a Girl is a darkly funny, tragicomic take on the legendary relationship between J and M, from teenage romance to domestic nightmare, as they fall in love and hit the road in search of fame and fortune. A contemporary and subversive re-imagining of events surrounding a classic text, Just a Boy is a parable of the patriarchy that shows what happens when you’re smart, strong and female.
First produced at La Mama Courthouse in 2018, 15 Minutes from Anywhere is proud to present the return season of Just a Boy, Standing in Front of a Girl at Fortyfivedownstairs in August 2021.
writer – Jane Miller
director – Beng Oh
with – John Marc Desengano, Annie Lumsden, Andrea McCannon, Glenn van Oosterom and Gabriel Partington
set and costume design – Emily Collett
lighting design – John Collopy
sound design – Ben Keene
stage manager – Teri Steer
DUE TO LOCKDOWN #6, SADLY PERFORMANCES 5 – 15 AUGUST (INCLUSIVE) HAVE BEEN CANCELLED. NEW DATES ANNOUNCED SOON.
Just a Boy, Standing in Front of a Girl looks at serious, often dark, material through a tragicomic lens that combines elements of subversive humour, feminism and pop culture and has its genesis in our desire to adapt a second classical work as a follow-up to Motherf##ker, our 2014 adaptation of Oedipus. In the process of investigating existing adaptations of Medea, often by male writers, I became frustrated with the depiction of the central female character. Medea is almost always portrayed as irrational and driven almost exclusively by sexual jealousy. I became interested in the world she and female characters of her ilk inhabit in literature, history and mythology. This led me to reflect on the patriarchal foundation of our society, its impact on all genders and the way we operate in the world, both consciously and unconsciously. We see on a daily basis the different standards to which we hold each other based on traditional ideas of gender. As the play developed, it was surprising just how resonant its classically-drawn themes remained in relation to the discourse around gender politics in contemporary society, particularly in very recent times.
Using a comedic lens for an adaptation of Medea was always going to be tricky and audiences will judge how well it lands for them. I can say as the writer that the intent was never to justify or ridicule the serious themes and events of the classical play. Comedy and tragedy are two sides of the same coin and in this work the use of humour attempts to illuminate the darker aspects of the piece bringing them into sharper focus and stimulate an ongoing conversation. I knew from the beginning that I couldn’t write a version of Medea where the central event is simply the act of a woman scorned. I don’t believe that story and for me, it trivialises what remains among the most fundamental of transgressions. Just a Boy, Standing in Front of a Girl asks why and how the unimanginable can happen and what complicity, if any, we share as a community and society.
Like any writer for performance, I do nothing alone. This work is the result of a three-year collaborative process and my love and thanks to my creative partner Beng and our family of artists who so generously contributed their ideas, talent and time.
Just A Boy Standing in Front of a Girl was assisted through HotHouse Theatre’s A Month in the Country residential program, a project delivered in partnership with Albury City.
Just A Boy Standing in Front of a Girl is supported by Creative Partnerships Australia through the Australian Cultural Fund.