Talk us through the concept of Bad Day Insurance.
Bad Day Insurance is a sci-fi comedy about an insurance company set in the not-so-distant future, which gives payouts for when you have a bad day. Wouldn’t that be great?! I really hope this catches on in life. We follow the lives of two old women, Ethel and Mavis, who work there and uncover their secrets and lies in their personal lives as the play unfolds.
Without dragging up bad memories, was it inspired by a particularly bad day of your own?
My friend Mary and I were having a bad day last year – I think the official term for it is ‘clusterfuck’ – and after missing the opening of a show due to bad weather, train lines changing and no taxis appearing, she looked at me and said, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was an insurance company for bad days?”
You won two Logie Awards for your acting on McLeod’s Daughters – how did you go from acting to writing plays?
I’ve always written. When I was in my 20s, between tele jobs I would write and produce shows; they were always a bit bonkers and lots of fun to do so it’s really great to be doing that again. I’ve also been writing screenplays, tele pilots and my album When Then Is Now. Mum always thought I’d be a writer, so I think she’s secretly pleased I’m doing writing so much now just so her motherly instinct wasn’t off.
Your plays seem to vary in manner and theme, after your one-woman show Fred and cabaret On/Off. Are you always looking for new inspirations and ways of working?
I never quite know when the muse is going to hit, or why, but I literally just follow it. Inspiration can come from anywhere – a comment you hear on the street, a story someone tells you, a documentary you watch, or in Fred’s case, my one-woman show, just starting to type and then just trying to keep up. I just follow my nose, really.
What’s more rewarding, acting or writing?
Both – I write to act. I’m not a writer for hire, yet, although I’d like to try it. Each has its different challenges and rewards. I love the social element of acting and I love the privacy of writing. But if I write for too long without acting my show pony gets very frustrated and wants to have a trot around. I’ll always be an actor first. That being said, I’ll never stop writing. Cue sounds of Queen’s ‘I Want It All’.