Interview with Monikka Eliah
December 8, 2019
We spoke to playwright Monikka Eliah about her upcoming reading of The Garage Sale in True West.
Can you tell us a little bit about The Garage Sale?
The Garage Sale is a comedy about an Assyrian family living a simple life in Fairfield until their household appliances start to break down around them. Asyet believes the damage to be a message from the great beyond, Dina thinks they just need to quit buying cheap. Desperate to pay for replacements, the family decide to pawn their faulty goods off to their naive neighbours in a garage sale.
For someone who hasn’t been to a reading before what should they expect?
A reading is great chance to get a taste for a play while it’s still in development. Working with a Director and Actors, a reading gives life to the script. It’s an opportunity to play and explore characters, narrative and audience reception.
Where do you look for inspiration for your writing?
Most of my inspiration comes from my own experiences or my conversations with others. I unconsciously collect phrases or ideas I think are interesting and play them out in imaginary conversations in my head. Once I find something I can’t let go of, I start writing.
What is your writing process?
To begin with I give myself lots of room to play with characters. I write them into a variety of scenes and learn everything I can about them.
I try to weigh up what’s important to them and what isn’t. What excites them and what infuriates them. Then I force them all together in a situation and test their responses and reactions to one another. I do this over and over. Then I get every piece of feedback I can and I edit until I can get every idea across in the simplest way possible.
What is the first hook that gets a play started for you?
It always starts with characters. They are, for me, the source of everything.
What is your relationship with Western Sydney?
Ever since moving to Australia I have been living in Fairfield. It has the biggest Assyrian community in Australia. I can’t imagine my Australian identity separate from the city of Fairfield. I also work and write in Western Sydney with a focus on empowering the people of Western Sydney.
Table reading of The Garage Sale and Q&A
Saturday 11 January 2pm to 3pm
BOOK NOW Free event but bookings recommended
Monikka Eliah is an Assyrian-Australian writer. She has presented work at the NSW Writers Centre, Studio Stories, Wollongong Writers Festival, Sydney Writers Festival, NYW Festival, Playwriting Australia Festival and WITS Festival Fatale. She was involved in the Girls Write Up Sydney event, helping to workshop stories by young writers and Digital writers festival 2017. Her work is published in The Big Black Thing: Chapter One and Two, Sweatshop Women: Volume 1, Runway Journal, Southerly Journal, SBS Life and The Lifted Brow. She is currently a member of SWEATSHOP. She has participated in Riverside’s National Theatre of Parramatta’s Page to Stage program, Playwrights of Parramatta and CuriousWorks Breakthrough Screen Writing Program. She was also the theatre recipient for the Southlands Breakthrough Award 2018 and received mentorship from Wesley Enoch.