Binary Stars & Best Lives

A fun and thought-provoking new work.

Paul Gilchrist, Theatre Red
Katie Beckett as ‘Babe’ in the New Fitz production

What’s it about?

If you don’t like it, then leave…

And so Babe, fed up with the blokey jokes and the Logies and her meaningless WAG-life, takes it literally and shoots herself into a parallel universe. It’s Babe alone in a kitchen in space.

Armed with just a few vague memories of Astrophysics 101, and her own Indigenous stories, she’s got to find a way to get back to her world and start living her ‘Best Life’. Luckily she’s got Meg and Lenny – multi-tasking, clean-eating, minimum-wage earning mums and self-help gurus – to lead her to enlightenment.

Binary Stars and Best Lives is a comic critique of the pressure on women to strive for perfect and nourishing lives. In a world where white men still take up the most space, Babe, Lenny and Meg fight to define their own identities, and to create purpose for their lives. In this mash-up of quantum physics, inspiration boards and Women’s Weekly covers, you’ll have to ask yourself: Are you ready to receive the positive vibrational energy of the universe?

Theatrical, ambitious and complicated.

Suzy Wrong, Suzy Goes See

Production History

In 2016, I was commissioned to write a new play in response to ‘Crimes of the Heart’, an American play by Beth Henley. I took the names of the characters, the idea of a dead cat, and was inspired by a line where one character explains that her violent husband hated her because she couldn’t laugh at his jokes. This ended up becoming Binary Stars & Best Lives, and was presented as a double bill with a new production of Crimes of the Heart at the Old Fitz Theatre, Sydney, in 2017. The play was directed by Michael Abercromby, and featured Katie Beckett, Nathalie Murray, Jenae O’Connor and Amelia Tranter.

An Excerpt

Meg and Lenny sit at the kitchen table with glasses of moscato, and the remnants of a busy afternoon making vision boards.

MEG:             But you don’t know what energies are vibrating with you. Sometimes the universe gives you a strange message, something you’re maybe not ready to hear yet. That’s what I thought when it spoke to me. I don’t want to do that sort of thing. But sometimes destruction can bring rebirth.

LENNY:        Destruction?

MEG:             Lenny, think about the universe. Like, the whole thing. It’s a thousand times bigger than you. Do you really think that you get to tell it what you want? No. The universe has a plan for you. It’s going to do some calculations or whatever, and it’s going to light the path you should be on. Even if it’s some dark, dangerous stuff, you’ve got to trust that’s what you’re meant to do.

LENNY:        Why would the universe tell you to do something dangerous?

MEG:             Yin and yang. Death is another rebirth. Sometimes the world needs to be destroyed so the good people can start it again.

LENNY:        Meg? What kind of messages are you getting?

Suddenly a gunshot goes off, making Meg and Lenny scream.

Babe – a gorgeous, young Aboriginal woman – has magically appeared in the centre of the kitchen, holding the gun. She’s dressed like it’s 1999 and she’s off to the Logies, although neither of these things are true anymore.

BABE:           Oh, shit! 

Babe realises she’s shot a hole in the cupboard.

BABE:           Shit…

She looks at the other women. She doesn’t know them.

BABE:           Shit.

Lenny whimpers.

BABE:           Did I just make that happen? Hey? Did I bring you over to my world, or did I just transport to yours?

They don’t respond. Babe runs to the window, and laughs in shock. Then opens the back door, looking out on the world.

BABE:           Look at that! Look  – sunshine! Those birds! The grass! I made that happen. Me!

She goes to the cupboard with the hole in it, and opens it to discover a box of BBQ shapes – half blown apart.

BABE:            (putting them on the table) Bloody hell, strong bullet, that!  It really worked, didn’t it? I transported back to this world, right?

Are you Shaina’s friends? (yells) Sis! I’m back!