Tag Archives: elaine acworth

6: Composing Venus

27 Mar

The weekend. What bliss. Lying in bed and reading Composing Venus.

book on rumpled bed

Reading Composing Venus in bed

Elaine Acworth is a Brisbane writer and she’s a force to be reckoned with. She wrote Composing Venus in 1995 and it’s a glorious feast of language and imagery.

Some of the lines and images that really caught me were:

Bea: You’re murky, Clivvy – you’re some murky crank with a piano who played us all the way to the knacker’s yard.

and, later:

Clivvy: I’m giving a voice to what’s bellying out in here and here till it overcomes me and I’m forging notes, bright chains of them, soft like feathers or glittering like polar ice, and it’s full of spit and fire and fumes down here all night.

Acworth’s play describes three generations of women in one home in Charters Towers, depicted at three crucial times in their lives, the final one being the night that Sputnik crosses the skies above them. I loved the strong female characters, the incredible dialogue and the mix of fantasy and realism. It’s wonderful to read a play with a large cast and so many great female roles. It’s hard to believe this was put on at Queensland Theatre Company in 1994 with a cast of 10, 7 of them women. That’s only 16 years ago and yet it feels like another lifetime. Small all-male casts seem to be the order of the day now. Sigh.

Publisher: Currency Press

Cast: 3 M, 7 F