Black Chicks Talking

December 11th, 2002 — December 21st, 2002


Optus Playhouse, QPAC, South Bank


La Boite Theatre
Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Bungabura Productions


Sean Mee
Leah Purcell


Leah Purcell
Sean Mee


Brendan O'Brien


Leah Purcell
Nikki Copley
Tessa Rose
Kyas Sherriff
Sher Williams-Hood
Nadine McDonald

Costume Designer

Eamon D'Arcy

Set Designer

Eamon D'Arcy

Lighting Designer

David Walters

Sound Designer

Brendan O'Brien

Black Chicks Talking

Under Mee’s artistic leadership, the Company increasingly embraced the programming of new Queensland works generated through La Boite’s commissioning service to local playwrights. With 20 La Boite commissions between 2001 and 2003, only Griffin Theatre Company and Playbox under the artistic directorship of Aubrey Mellor could claim this kind of commitment to Australian writing. This was an all-out effort to badge La Boite with a particular creative identity ready for its move to The Roundhouse. The 2002 season had three commissioned works and one of these was Black Chicks Talking. Written and directed by Leah Purcell and Sean Mee it was a co-production with QPAC in association with Bungabura Productions. It opened on the 11th December 2002 at QPAC’s Playhouse. In 2003 Black Chicks Talking toured to the Sydney Festival and the Perth International Arts Festival, the first Queensland production ever to be invited to both festivals. Of this production Mee had commented that “Strategically, Black Chicks Talking placed La Boite at the forefront of contemporary creative endeavour in Australia”.[i]

Black Chicks Talking may have been an important play for La Boite to champion but it was not universally a critical success, locally or nationally. Rosemary Sorensen wrote in her review of this greatly anticipated Brisbane production: “If the first act of this play about indigenous Australian women is flawed, the second act was a small disaster”. [ii] Critical of Mee’s claim of a “landmark production” she said that “alongside Bangarra’s work presented this year at QPAC, or Kooemba Jdarra’s festival production of Purple Dreams” this production was “way behind”. Michael Bodey’s review of the production on tour to the Sydney Festival named Black Chicks Talking as one of the “chief disappointments” of the Festival.[iii] These negative reactions were balanced by more positive reviews in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian, with comments such as “an important night in the theatre … deeply moving and brilliant … riotously funny”.[iv]

Writer: Christine Comans

[i] La Boite Theatre 2002 Annual Report.

[ii] The Courier-Mail, Dec. 16, 2002.

[iii] Bodey in The Daily Telegraph, Jan. 24, 2003.

[iv] La Boite 2003 Annual Report p. 9.

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