Meet Elizabeth Nabben / Picnic At Hanging Rock

5 February 2018

What is your favourite line in the script?

Miranda used to say that everything begins and ends at exactly the right place and time

Miranda is almost an angel who has transcended the rigidity of society, who demonstrates an acceptance and harmony with life that all the other characters struggle with and need to learn from.  

How does it feel to perform a quintessentially Australian work in a British context?

It feels exciting to be able to reflect on an aspect of our shared colonial history, as the English tried to tame the untameable, in an attempt to control and own this place, resulting in widespread suffering. Australia still reverberates with that history of trauma. Headmistress Appleyard’s pain at being separated from Bournemouth and English culture feels poignant to perform in the motherland, with an added nostalgia and in-joke. 

In the industry today, what inspires you?

I am inspired by stories that communicate our vulnerability, and attempts to reconcile ourselves with our painful circumstances and conflicting values. 

I love hearing stories about the invisible and silenced members of our society, and using humour and humanity to create empathy. Both naturalism and heightened theatrical expression excites me. 

What do you think happened at Hanging Rock?

I think Miranda and Marion and Miss McCraw became one with the landscape, as it was only those figures who had a love and appreciation for the land, as well as an acceptance and desire to understand it. They have become free of the absurdity of English settlement in the middle of the bush, and accept the danger and discomfort of the land in a transcendent way. 

PHOTOGRAPHY / Pia Johnson