Chosen Family is an extended poetic dialogue between Betsy Turcot and Eleanor Jackson, as The Belles of Hell, which follows on from She Stole My Every Rock and Roll. It premiered as a part of the Anywhere Theatre Festival in 2013, with beautiful full houses and warm audience responses.
Set in a post-modern family, this poetic dialogue subverts the classic children’s story question, “Are you my mother?” to embrace kin in all kinds of flux.
Structured around a series of familial cliches, and drawing lines from classic children’s stories, Chosen Family ask audiences – queer and straight alike – to consider family as an arrangement of love and care, not necessarily predicated on biology or marriage. As poets, queer, people and members of families (biological and non-) Betsy and Eleanor weave a challenging but loving narrative of experience that not only shares family secrets, but exposes to secret to family.
As Nerissa Rowan, Anywhere Theatre reviewer said:
Their smooth, calm voices lead us easily through the suburb, opening the curtains to a series of windows so we can peer into the world of nuclear families, and those less “conventional”. We glimpse expectations and decisions, abuse and disappointment, but the strongest themes are those of love and the need for human connection.
And as audience members, we get what we crave. These two confident performers create a connection with their audience through their words and eye contact. In spoken word, there is no movement, no sets, no incidental music to fall back on. And yet the pictures they paint are almost as vivid as having it acted out in front of you.
These poems segue into a patchwork quilt of scenes, stitched with repetitive threads. It doesn’t seem like an hour has gone by when the show ends.
Title: Chosen Family
Co-authors: Betsy Turcot and Eleanor Jackson
Duration: 55 mins
Details: Two-person poetry dialogue
Premiered: Anywhere Theatre Festival 2013
Showreel and poster credit: Thomas Day