FROM THE PLAYWRIGHT: EMMA WORKMAN

Playwright Emma Workman is currently Brisbane-based, and with the aim of making sense of her disparate paths she has returned to theatre-making. As a Disability Support Worker, her experiences clearly feed into the work she now created. Yielding is one of six one-act plays Emma is developing under the banner Let’s Speak of the Unspoken. Emma sat down to shine some light on the Yielding and its upcoming production at Metro Arts.

 Where did the idea for Yielding come from? 

The play was seeded mainly from my experiences working with people who were leaving rehab after a fall or stroke. They were seeing themselves, their homes, even their relationships through a different lens - sometimes for the better and other times not. 

What kind of research did you undertake? 

Carers Queensland were invaluable; They facilitated meetings between myself and many of their support groups who meet regularly throughout Brisbane. I conducted several group interviews, met people in their homes and read heavily the research into suicidal ideation within family carers - specifically the work conducted by Australian researcher Dr Siobhan O'Dwyer.

What has been the most challenging part of the creative process of Yielding?

People had, and have, trusted me to treat their lived experiences with dignity and honesty. It was made very clear by the carers I interviewed that I was not to blur edges or hold punches. I'm more fearful of the responses from carers than I am anyone else.  

What have audience responses been like during earlier readings?

There was some really encouraging responses, specifically from people who'd never had any experience with carers or disability. The audiences were really willing to ask questions of each other and take the time to listen. 

 Performers Jessica Veurman-Betts (Liz) and Joey Kohnke (Dot). Image by Adam Finch.

Performers Jessica Veurman-Betts (Liz) and Joey Kohnke (Dot). Image by Adam Finch.

 

What are you curious about, now that the production is being realized in a different theatrical form than earlier reiterations?

I'm interested to see Dot and Liz move around each other and how their little bubble of house/garden/car is conjured. It’s a wonderful thing to have others reimagine a world you've only ever had in your head.

Yielding will be presented at Metro Arts from Wed 2 to Sat 5 May. Tickets are now on-sale through Metro Arts. Book now by heading to metroarts.com.au.

 Image by Sean Downling.

Image by Sean Downling.