presented by Act-Belong-Commit and Class Act Theatre

WRITTEN BY LOUISE HELFGOTT (The Bridge – Finalist in New Musicals Australia 2011, A Closer Sky – AWGIE nomination 2005)
DIRECTED BY HELEN DOIG (Playhouse Creatures, Gertrude Stein and a Companion, Diva)

Maja Liwszyc,
Angelique Malcolm,
Nick Pages-Oliver,
Keren Schlink, and
Maitland Schnaars.

Subiaco Arts Centre                                                     
21 to 31 May 2014

Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
4 to 7 June 2014

When Elizabeth looks in the mirror, she sees someone who is fat and ugly, even though her boyfriend, Ben, consistently tells her how attractive she looks. Elizabeth begins to diet but with mounting pressures from within her family and conflict with her peers, this soon spirals into an out-of-control journey into anorexia. As Ben’s journey into self-harm parallels Elizabeth’s story, their families mesh in surprising and unexpected ways. This new play uses innovative visual images and set design as well as a blend of humour and drama to question how people form perceptions of themselves.

Dr Louise Helfgott wrote “Frames” as part of her PhD in Creative Writing at Edith Cowan University. The play was a finalist in Playwriting Australia in 2010 and 2011 and Louise was awarded the Magdalena Feminist Prize at ECU in 2013.

Mission Australia found after surveying 50,000 young people that body image and the quest for the “perfect body” was the number one concern of Australian youth (Rickard, 2010).

Liwszyc portrays Elizabeth in a gruelling ride through teenage discovery and disillusion, keeping energy levels high in every scene. Malcolm’s Barbara is the epitome of the frazzled wife and mother, mourning lost dreams while battling to keep her family together, finding herself endlessly criticised. Schnaars plays Ken as a distant father, providing creature comforts but losing sight of a happy home in the confusion of renovations, boat trips and swimming pools – while this portrayal is effective and complements the frantic energy of his wife and daughters, there are times where his sodden delivery feels wooden and there is a missed chance for character development later in the play.

Schlink is a joy to watch, it is just a pity that as the foil to the rest of the dysfunctional characters, she is given relatively little to explore beyond bringing attention to others’ deceptions. Similarly, Pages-Oliver is effective and projects a sense of enjoyment in each of his minor roles.

Frames is clearly-written and accessible, full of information and brutally honest about contemporary Australian family life. While it may be crammed to overflowing with food for thought and discussion, they would be thoughts and discussions well worth having for teens and those who live and work with them.” – Nerida Dickinson, Arts Hub

“This a play that parents and their teenagers should see. Well presented, with a genuine air of lives that sadly, can be seen too often in houses in Australia.” – Gordon The Optom

“This is confronting material, well handled in an intelligent manner with a compelling central performance. I may not be the target audience but I found Frames thought provoking and engaging theatre.” – Richard Hyde