Watch And Act At Blue Room Theatre In Perth – Open Letter From The Show's Writer/Performer

Published in Arts  
'Watch And Act' 'Watch And Act' Image © Marnie Richardson

Katie reads emergency fire warnings on the radio as a job – but things have taken a turn. . . The whole world is burning and her life is on fire.


In this one-woman show, Katie learns to live with OCD and realises that it might be a good way to cope with the uncertainty of climate grief.

'Watch And Act' is a theatrical audition to be Nigella Lawson's emergency contact in a climate crisis. It's a darkly comedic fight or flight response to bushfire season, playing at Blue Room Theatre in Perth.

Here, 'Watch And Act' writer and performer Katie McAllister pens an open letter ahead of the show.

“So, Nigella Lawson says ‘emotions are messy, contradictory and true’. I think she’s describing what climate grief feels like: chaotic and full of contradictions. Which is what it can feel like to live with OCD symptoms; messy contradictions that make no sense but feel desperately true. Navigating back from chaotic confusion to focused action is what I’ve had to work on every day in my brain and I’ve learnt a lot from doing that.

I’ve learnt a lot from reading out Watch And Act warnings during summer, too. The warning system taught me that no matter how dire or desperate the situation, there were always choices you could make to survive it. There were clear, practical steps to walk your way out of something that was dangerous, confusing and terrifying. As someone who doesn’t identify with practical, this was a momentous concept to me.

WatchAndActcreditDuncanWright
Image © Duncan Wright

I’m inspired by the way Nigella protects her pleasure. She’s more useful to all of us because of it. And I think it’s an inspiring way to think about dealing with the end of the world. I’m more sane once I’ve spent time walking through the bush, or swimming in the ocean in the places I grew up in on Menang country, in Albany and Denmark. I’m more useful when I’m celebrating those places, not being scared I’ll lose them.

So this work is a desperate late-night message to every karri tree in Denmark to say: thank you, I love you, I’m sorry it took me so long to see you properly. I couldn’t see the trees for the forest of my fear. The show is possible because of the brilliant set design of Clare Testoni, the immersive, emotionally honest sound design of Georgina Cramond, the evocative lighting design of Kristie Smith, the patient direction of Michelle Endersbee, the performance coaching of Andrea Gibbs and the genius of Alexa Taylor’s dramaturgy.

Mainly, it’s possible because of the genius of Nigella. Who knows what to do with her hands when she’s sad: make sweet potato macaroni cheese and return to the present moment, over and over again, and go from there.”

'Watch And Act' is on at Blue Room Theatre (Perth) 28 September-16 October.

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