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SCAN 2003

Angela Betzien

Stephen Carleton

Discovered by Queensland Theatre Company in the mid-90s when she won the Young Playwrights’ Award 3 years running, Angela Betzien’s theatrical emergence has come full circle. Her play, The Orphanage Project, is part of the company’s 2003 program. Along the way there have been stints at La Bôite, the Brisbane Festival and even London’s Royal Court. The thread running through Betzien’s writing is a mordantly wry fascination with children and neglect: scavenging children left unattended in city carparks (The Kingswood Kids); and missing children of deranged parents in shopping mall beauty pageants (Princess of Suburbia). Now, with The Orphanage Project, she shifts her attention from the backyard to the national stage in a play writ large with sinister, gothic focus on systemic childhood abuse. Betzien uses the maltreatment of young people as a metaphor for the rankness and corruption of innocence in the broad Australian imaginary. Betzien formed theatre group The Real TV Project with director Leticia Caceres in the late 90s and this independent outlet has run parallel with her considerable mainstream success, allowing her to experiment with form and tone before an appreciative alternative urban Brisbane scene. It seems fitting, then, that Brisbane has produced the writer touted as Australian theatre’s ‘next big thing.’ As Queensland seeks to redefine itself from ‘Sunshine’ to ‘Smart’ State, Betzien’s intelligent body of work provides a timely reminder that Paradise has its sinister side.

RealTime issue #57 Oct-Nov 2003 pg. 4

© Stephen Carleton; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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