Here's some of what we've been up to so far...
17 Nov 2016
I've finished the first draft of the script. It's 58 pages long. Tiffany gives it a first read through for us. She cries a bit. I cry a bit. Daisy cries a bit. It runs about twice as long as it should. We're going to need some cuts.
I have ruthlessly cut the script down to 41 pages. Daisy likes it! Tiffany likes it!
I send it off to our advisory panel for feedback - social worker, doctor and nurse at the Pregnancy Advisory Centre, genetic counsellor and parent at SAFDA (Support After Fetal Diagnosis of Abnormality) - and wait nervously to see what they're going to say.
The social worker forwards the script to an ex-colleague of hers who is also the parent of a child with Down Syndrome. She (the parent) sends me some very honest, articulate and generous feedback and I am grateful for her perspective.
We start three days of creative development - kindly hosted by State Theatre in their rehearsal room at Lion Arts Centre.
We talk. A lot. About all our experiences, about ethics, about this story and others, about the characters within this story and how to play them, about the emotional journey.
The script is still too long. I cut another five pages.
Tiffany and I go to the Pregnancy Advisory Centre to meet with our panel for feedback (Daisy has to work and can't come). It's the first time I've been there since I had the termination, and I don't know how I'm going to feel. Tiff's nervous - she's never been inside an abortion clinic before.
The social worker comes to the door and gives me a big hug and I'm so pleased to see her and we go and meet the genetic counsellor and the director of the clinic. And they give us their feedback and it's very positive and I am hugely relieved and we could all keep talking for hours but everyone has places to be. And the social worker gives us a tour of the clinic so that Tiff can go everywhere I went - everywhere her character goes in 19 weeks - and I'm a little surprised at how not-upset I am, even when we go into the operating theatre. The clinic feels like a warm and friendly place where I was really well cared for.
Tiff is struck by something the social worker says, about abortion being a normal part of women's healthcare. And when we come away she says, "I never thought of this as a feel-good story. But it could be, couldn't it?"
We're in the Dance Studio at Flinders, doing some more creative development. Daisy gets us all writing about what scares us about doing 19 weeks, what excites us, what we don't want people to think and what we do, and why we want to tell this story.
We visit the pool. Tiff swims, jumps, dives. This show is going to be beautiful.
I am in producer mode. Do admin, order props, email venue, talk to illustrator about design, do contracts, build website, set up crowdfunding campaign.
Rehearsals start on 5 Jan.
Here we go.