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Billie – a girl, a swing and underpants

  • 2009

Melbourne Fringe Festival

In the tiny space a girl swings repeatedly in and out of her own imagined and real worlds.

Her mother has left her in a doorway of light, wearing nothing but a pair of white underpants, a packing box, clinging to an old family recipe that cooks up comfort, impending disaster and the haunting question of “What if…?”

Amid the smells and sounds of her grandmother’s kitchen, Billie conjures up the patchworked story of the moment in time following her mother’s departure. Not knowing what is real, what is imagined and what is a distorted memory, the experience of watching Billie is like looking through a glass bottomed boat at the shapes and colours of someone’s private submerged world. Images and repeated moments dart in and out of view, only to return in a slightly different version of events later on.

Deftly weaving together an enigmatic film and sound score with the delicately nuanced performance by Michelle St. Anne as the young girl, the woman her mother, the girl pretending to be the woman, and the girl becoming a woman, Billie immerses the viewer in visually rich territory and leaves you pondering the myriad of possibilities of what did, might have or didn’t actually happen. It is given all the more punch because of the beauty with which a horrifying tale is told and questions too awful to consider are posed; “What if…?”