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  • Mandy Plumb

TRANSFORMING CLASSICS: MINOLA THEATRE'S "PYGMALION"


In the enchanting realm of theatre, the magic of storytelling often lies in the hands of visionary directors who breathe new life into timeless classics. One such luminary is Kat Dekker, the acclaimed director at the helm of Minola Theatre's latest production, Pygmalion. With a penchant for reimagining the familiar and an artistic vision that transcends the ordinary, Dekker brings George Bernard Shaw's classic tale of transformation to the contemporary stage with a fresh perspective.


As the curtains rise on Minola Theatre's adaptation of Pygmalion, we delve into Dekker’s mind to explore the creative process, challenges, and inspirations that shaped this innovative production. Join us for an insightful conversation as we unravel the layers of storytelling and artistic vision that promise to make Pygmalion an unforgettable experience for audiences. Dekker shares her insights into the world of theatre, inviting us to witness the alchemy that occurs when a director breathes new life into a beloved classic.


Q. I’m sure you have a huge list of plays you want to produce, so what made you choose Pygmalion for your first production for 2024?

Over the last couple of years, Minola Theatre has focused mostly on new works, often solo shows (such as Begotten and Oh Crap Dammit, both written and performed by our own Bianca Butler Reynolds). We've recently been keen to sink our teeth into a classic text, especially an ensemble piece, to allow us to connect with the fabulous community of Brisbane performers with whom we love to collaborate. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw is a cracking text, with social commentary (and excellent comedy) that is as relevant today as ever.


Q. How similar is the play to the musical version, My Fair Lady?

Fans of My Fair Lady will discover beloved characters, a similar plot, that memorable whip-smart dialogue, and some excellent comedic moments that will feel familiar. Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins do battle, and it's as entertaining as ever! However, Pygmalion is not My Fair Lady, and that's not just about the lack of singing. Your readers will have to come see it to find out what we mean!


Q. What is different about the Minola iteration of Pygmalion?

When building this show, we became particularly interested in investigating the relationship between creator and created, between Higgins and Eliza, or — to go back to the Greek myth that inspires the title — Pygmalion and Galatea. We've really enjoyed emphasising the ways in which this story is mythic, or allegorical. Although Shaw set the play in London at a particular point in time, the themes are actually very timeless; it's a story that could exist anywhere, any time, and we've tried to reflect that in our design aesthetic. We hope audiences enjoy the new-look Pygmalion we will be sharing. We've also been asking questions about culpability. How responsible are the other characters in this story for what happens to Eliza? How responsible are we all, for one another? We really want this to be a show that makes people think, as well as laugh.


Q. Can you give us a hint on what Minola Theatre has in the pipeline?

We can't share anything just yet, unfortunately, but your readers can join our mailing list to be the first to know about upcoming workshops, shows and social club events.


Q. When and where can audiences catch Pygmalion?

Pygmalion is at the Ron Hurley Thetre, 28 Tallowood St, Seven Hills, Qld at 7.30pm on 2, 3, 9, and 10 February 2024. Tickets can be booked via https://events.humanitix.com/pygmalion.

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