Sophia Davey hosted the night to a full house and a screening of 'Bloomers' and The Association, followed by a Q&A session with the stars of the show.
Bloomers is a short film written by Corrie Chen and produced by Michelle Law about the teenage woes and the menstrual cycle. Stella is bullied at high school by her nemesis Emma, who is the pin-up girl for a new range of female sanitary products called 'Harmony'. Emma bullies Stella about not having her period or 'tits', and Stella decides to take drastic action to bring on her menstrual cycle. This is a very funny and clever short about the perils of high school sex education, which the audience enjoyed.
Following was the grand premiere of the 'The Association' a dark comedy screenplay written by Perri Cummings, directed by Lee McClenaghan and produced by Jennifer Monk, Lee McClenaghan and Marc Gracie.
The Association was originally performed as an immersive theatre piece in a suburban home. Following its success, Girls Act Good decided to make The Association into short film. Girls Act Good make new work for women about women, and this film touches on the 'hidden' stories of women's experience of marriage and relationships.
The Association follows the experience of Joanne (Kelly Kerr Young) who moves to a new neighbourhood with her husband. She returns home from work to find her husband 'unwell' and unhappy in his job. She receives a package with a handwritten invitation to a meeting of women and a black cape is enclosed. Nervous, but curious Joanne goes to check out the meeting of 'The Association'.
The meeting is like a Tupperware party mixed with a Country Women's Association meeting with a touch of the Blair Witch Project, with sinister jam and scones.
Joanne meets Audrey (Lisa Dallinger) who initiates her into the group and reveals footage of Joanne's husband (Benji Gee) not going to work, but returning home and getting drunk. Feeling deceived and betrayed by her husband, Joanne agrees to assist The Association to secure donations of a rare blood type for Patient Zero (Anthony Jackish), who lies unconscious in a bedroom hooked up to monitors.
Phyllis (Constance Washington) is the home baking queen and typical 'Stepford Wife' and institutes the 'swear jar' of which Audrey is the main contributor. She is also the 'jam queen' always winning the jam tasting competition and fundraising competitions. Her secret jam recipe is specially formulated to control rogue husbands' behaviour - a secret gift to the women of 'The Association' who are imprisoned in miserable marriages, housed in the mundanity of suburbia. Underlying the veneer of tea, jam and scones lies a quest to create a new and improved male form, to meet the needs of women of the future.
Part of that experimentation is Sylvie (Shanon Kulupach), a young pregnant woman held captive by The Association as she holds the offspring of the future, and another woman Ruthanne (Laila Thaker), who is in hiding from her violent and obsessive husband (Liam Seymour) who has consumed too much special jam.
As the drama unfolds, we find that no 'community' institution is safe, despite good intentions, evil can exist behind closed doors, and experiments can go drastically wrong.
The Association is a brilliant and quirky short film made with heart, and Girls Act Good have really worked hard to make it happen. The Q&A session revealed a bunch of talented ladies, including Jennifer Monk who created Girls Act Good out of the need for more roles in theatre and film for women in Australia. Together Girls Act Good dreamt up the storyline of 'The Association', hired a house for four weeks, ran an immersive theatre performance in the house, and then made the film. These 'chicks' certainly know how to 'get stuff done' and now have 17 members who are involved in all aspects of theatre and film production, and continue to hold monthly readings and create work.