INSIDE CRACK – One Typewriter and all Types of Writers

An interview with Cj and Ciella of The Frankensteined Monologues
By Alex Morris @Nemiwai

“It’s kind of the opposite of a regular theatre show, hundreds of writers and two performers,” theatre practioner Ciella Williams said of her upcoming show, The Frankensteined Monologues, co-produced with freelance theatre maker Cj Fraser-Bell.

Leading up to their performance, they’ve left their typewriter all around Darwin with writing prompts created by local poets, writers, rappers and playwrights. They’ve had hundreds of responses from different Darwinians, and now Cj and Ciella are going over the words and creating a show.

“’Frankensteined Monologues’ is a daggy metaphor for the process. We are experimenting – sewing together pieces from all the writing we collected over the last few months to create a beast! Is it good? Is it bad? Are we responsible?” Ciella said. The typewriter, pictured in the photo, is also named Frankie.

L-R: Cj Fraser-Bell, Frankie the typewriter and Ciella Williams.

L-R: Cj Fraser-Bell, Frankie the typewriter and Ciella Williams.

This week Cj and Ciella began making their artistic mark on the project. Cj described their venture as an experiment, and she’s curious to see if it’s still engaging and interesting by the time it gets to the performance stage. She said that The Frankensteined Monologues examines how work is typically created for the stage; it’s often written in a very formulaic way.

“It’s taking ourselves out of the project as much as we can and presenting something different,” Cj said.

The two are still determining how to convey all the different voices from the contributors, but however they go about it, the typewriter will be on stage with them.

“The typewriter has been a strong visual cue for us through the whole process, so it will be really nice to have it as a prop in the most literal terms but also have it as a character on stage,” Ciella said.

Both women are 24 and live in Darwin. Ciella is Cj’s co-producer and partner in crime, though she said the concept is Cj’s.

“We’re very much doing what flows naturally” Cj said of Ciella and their collaborative efforts. “We haven’t prescribed any roles. We’ve worked on projects before. We know we work well together.”

“I really love creating my own work in an artist-collective, low-budget, community style,” Cj said. “A small intimate audience is my absolute favourite, doing raw undeveloped work. I don’t like doing the same show for ages and ages.“

Cj and Ciella are happy to call the Northern Territory home for the time being.

“It’s a very supportive arts community up here, if you’re keen to give it a go,” Ciella said.

“I see myself in Darwin for a while, it’s got a great arts community. I definitely want to stay now that they’ve helped train me up. I want to stay around and help make the opportunity for other young creators and young performers,” Cj added.

The two will be performing shows at Crack based on the collected writing from Darwin on Friday and Saturday. During TiNA the typewriter will be out in various locations, where anyone will be welcome to type. On Sunday Ciella and Cj will unleash the new beast and share the new material from the weekend’s writers in a group reading style.

“It will be a little bit of a closing ceremony if you will,” Cj said.