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HELLO, BEAUTIFUL! is coming to Frankston! Writer Hannie Rayson caught up with Frankly Frankston Magazine ahead of the Victorian Tour.


February 15, 2017

Humour. Smarts. Telling it like it is. These are the words that come to mind as I mull over my interview with writer, playwright and performer Hannie Rayson. Oh, and giggling. Chuckling. Sarcasm and chutzpah. Cherry blossoms with a whiff of cyanide on top?

Watch out for this woman’s craft. She knows what she’s doing and does it so well that every word on her page has something to tell. She weaves her words with wit, intelligence and an understanding of the human condition and connectedness that makes her audiences feel like they belong together in this dinghy of life with all its up sides and sometimes drowning downs.
Hannie’s words speak to her listeners. That’s why her “back catalogue” of work continues to be performed. Hotel Sorrento is set to tour nationally in 2018, while Inheritance, Two Brothers, Falling from Grace and Life After George keep enthralling new generations of theatre goers. Hannie loves to write with a pen that has been dipped wholeheartedly into the dramaturge of living. “I’m actually quite a 19th Century person. I can imagine myself writing with a quill in a bustle dress – you know, with the big bulge over the bum.”

She’s been ‘lettering’ full time since she was 24 and is the only playwright to be nominated for the Miles Franklin Literary Award for Life After George. This jovial juggernaut of journalism (Sydney Morning Herald columnist), non-fiction (her memoir Hello, Beautiful!) and screenwriting (Sea Change) is a true dialogue diva. She just hears it. “Dialogue is a freak skill. Teaching it is hard because you’ve got to train your ear. I always remembered what people said when I was young and loved eavesdropping on conversations.

“I’m a bit of a control freak as a playwright.” Actors beware, the AWMF = As Written Mother F…. rule applies here. That’s why her acclaimed show Hello, Beautiful! which is set to hit the Frankston Art Centre stage on March 15 is going to be worth a visit. It was rapturously received by Malthouse Theatre audiences in 2016 and will be travelling throughout Victoria for the rest of 2017. It goes remote in 2018. “I hope to be going right up to the Northern Territory. I only go to nice places I want to visit, ” she laughs. “I can’t wait to be on stage in Frankston. It’s so much fun because it’s very personal and every audience responds differently.” There were 43 stories in the Hello, Beautiful! Scenes from a Life collection (Text Publishing) and she shares 11 of them in this one-woman show.

Hannie’s plays are about social issues and connecting generations. She’s currently at Aireys Inlet trying to write the last two scenes of her new Sydney Theatre Company’s play Noah’s Daughter. “I’m doing this one backwards! From present day into the past. It’s only taken me about four months instead of the mandatory 12!” Noah’s Daughter is about sperm donation, secrets and family, but while you’re waiting for that little gem get along to the Arts Centre in Frankston to experience Hello, Beautiful!

The stage door to this prolific writer’s inexhaustible mind is ajar. Step inside.
And laugh.

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