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Inspiration and Collaboration

Julie Hill. Photo by Guy Capper.
Julie Hill is a playwright, screenwriter, fiction writer and journalist for print and radio. She’


Julie Hill is a playwright, screenwriter, fiction writer and journalist for print and radio – she classifies her diverse talents under the single descriptor of ‘writer’.  She’s the writer of I Won’t Be Happy Until I Lose One of My Limbs, which opens on February 2 at The Basement (Auckland).

Renee Liang interviews Julie on writing, inspiration and collaboration.

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How did you decide to be a writer?

My standard four teacher Mrs Harrison had us do creative writing once a week. It was like being in heaven.

How did you start?

I always wrote and read a lot. I was a full-on geek.  

What influenced you to start writing for theatre?

I’ve been tricked into it. Ages ago I auditioned for something and then I ended up writing it. Then later my friend made me write a play for his acting students because there were two guys and about a dozen girls and they all needed to have a part.

What's a favourite past work, and why?

Stories Told To Me By Girls
was fun because we got to tour it a lot. It’s a one-woman show and it starred Jo Smith and after 100 performances Jo was like a thoroughbred.

How did you get the idea for "I won't be happy until I lose one of my limbs"?

I read an article in The Guardian a few years ago about a woman who was in a nice marriage and family and she was happy, but she really wanted to hack her leg off. She’d just always wanted to do it. The strange thing is that she spoke about it making her feel more complete. And there are lots of other people in the world who want to do this.

You've been a frequent collaborator with Stephen Bain (design) and Andrew Foster (director). What's your working process with them?

Slow because there are too many people making dad gags including myself. But great to see their ideas manifest. I don’t want to spoil it but there are going to be inflatable animals and a woodchip mountain.

What do the actors bring to the piece?

Nisha and Gareth and Jeremy are all very funny. They are also dedicated and hard-working and most importantly for actors they are hot.

I hear there's going to be an actor changeover part way through the season... how's that going to work?

Yes, like The Young and the Restless only in theatre. In the last week Gareth becomes Jeremy. Then we’re going to judge them at the end about who was better, more attractive and knew their lines the best.  

What makes a successful collaboration?

Liking the thing you’re working on. Working with people you respect. Also having a good time. Once I worked on a TV comedy where no one laughed. It wasn’t funny.

What interesting visions or ideas are you exploring in this piece?

I’m exploring the idea of a rainbow diet, where food intake is determined by a different colour of the rainbow each week, starting from red and by the seventh week you’re in violet. It gets very difficult by about blue; hence people lose a lot of weight.

* * *

 I Won’t Be Happy Until I Lose One of My Limbs

Presented by Win Win Biscuit Factory in association with STAMP at THE EDGE

Written by Julie Hill
Designed by Stephen Bain
Directed by Andrew Foster

Starring Nisha Madhan, Gareth Reeves (Weeks 1 and 2) and Jeremy Randerson (Week 3).

When: 2 February 2011 – 19 February 2011

Where: The Basement, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland CBD

Buy tickets here:

Written by

Renee Liang

28 Jan 2011

Renee is a writer who is exploring many ways of telling stories, including plays, short stories, poetry (which she also performs), and cross-genre collaborations with composers, musicians, sculptors and filmmakers.