Art-Music-Fund-Seesaw-leaderboard-ad-970x90-1.jpg
Q&A/The Festival Sessions/Fringe World Festival/Theatre

Wreaking feminist havoc

18 January 2019

Charlotte Otton may be a Sydneysider by birth but in the four years that she’s been living in Perth, she’s carved out a niche for herself in the local independent theatre scene as a theatre maker and performer. Her debut play Let me finish. enjoyed a sell-out season at The Blue Room Theatre and was named a “Top Show” for 2018 by Seesaw’s Claire Trolio, who described it as “bold, brash and powerfully feminist”.

Just three months later, she is premiering her one-woman play, Feminah, described as “a havoc-wreaking power ballad that embraces the vulgar women of the world.” Just hours before opening night, Otton squeezed in Seesaw’s Q&A.

Charlotte Otton headshot
Charlotte Otton

Seesaw: When did you first know that you wanted to be a performer?
Charlotte Otton: The earliest indication for me was probably when my mum took me to see Annie on the mainstage in Sydney when I was five. I don’t know if my memory is built from stories or real memories, but regardless, I know I was singing along to every song and wanted to be up on that stage. My absolute dream role, to this day, is to play Miss Hannigan.

S: Tell us about your training… 
CO: I’ve studied mostly improvisation; I started in Sydney and then studied in Chicago and New York for a few months. It’s the first training I had where I got a hint of the type of artist I could be. Then when I was 20 years old, I moved to Perth to do the Performance Making course at WAAPA. That course really shifted and clarified things for me, it made me take myself more seriously as an artist.

S: Describe your artistic practice…
CO: I’m still discovering it, but at the moment I’m interested in telling brutally honest stories and bringing comedy, filth, glee and spontaneity to the forefront of my work.

S: Career highlight so far?
CO: The very final performance of Let me finish. at The Blue Room in October last year. It was such an emotionally charged performance and the love from the standing crowd at the end and the women on stage was unlike anything I’ve experienced in a show before.

S: Career lowlight?
CO: I did a monologue as David Koch “Kochi”, the Sunrise presenter, for an end of year drama concert once when I was 14. I wore my dad’s suit and I think I just did a weather segment… I should bring it back. Perth audiences would love it.

S: Funniest career moment so far?
CO: Maybe when I played a series of animals and objects in the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre and WASO collaboration of “Carnival of the Animals”. It’s a not a funny “ha ha” moment, it was more just me straight out of uni, playing a flowerpot, looking out into the crowd of 1500 audience members at Perth Concert Hall, wondering how I got to that place.

S: Tell us about Feminah… 
CO: Feminah is about one woman on a war-path to discover and dismantle the constructs that have made her the woman she is today. It’s a personal battle of expressing femininity and vulgarity.

It’s equal parts bawdy and vulnerable. Think personal stories, ridiculous history lessons, primo filth and live music!

S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to seeing/doing at Fringe?
CO: Silence My Ladyhead, Grace, Manwatching, Poorly Drawn Shark and The Big City are just some of the ones I’m excited to see!

S: What is your favourite part of the playground?
CO: I love a good monkey bar set, but an adult one, I’m 6ft. 1, I’ve been dragging my feet on monkey bars since I was 10.

Feminah plays The Blue Room Theatre Summer Nights, January 18-26.

Like what you're reading? Support Seesaw.

Author —
Nina Levy

Nina Levy has worked for over a decade as an arts writer and critic. She co-founded Seesaw and has been co-editing the platform since it went live in August 2017. Nina was co-editor of Dance Australia magazine from 2016 to 2019. Nina loves the swings because they take her closer to the sky.

Past Articles

Read Next

  • On the left a headshot of a woman with blue eyes and long blonde hair, on the right a man wearing black and holding a classical guitar What to SEE: Rachelle Durkin & Jonathan Paget
    Q&A

    What to SEE: Rachelle Durkin & Jonathan Paget

    18 November 2021

    Enjoy an evening of exquisite music as soprano Rachelle Durkin and guitarist Jonathan Paget take to the stage for Musica Viva in a concert livestreamed from Cullen Wines.

    Reading time • 7 minutesMusic
  • A woman leans over an open grand piano What to SEE: Two piano concerts with Gabriella Smart
    What to SEE

    What to SEE: Two piano concerts with Gabriella Smart

    11 November 2021

    Audiences have come to expect the beautiful and the extraordinary from Gabriella Smart. The award-winning South Australian pianist will present two concerts at WA Museum Boola Bardip that promise both slow listening and visceral pounding.

    Reading time • 7 minutesMusic
  • The cast of 'The Tempest' in action. Centre is Mararo Wangai. Photo: Daniel J Grant. What to SEE: The Tempest
    What to SEE

    What to SEE: The Tempest

    3 November 2021

    Black Swan State Theatre Company is inviting audience members into the dream-like world of Shakespeare’s Tempest, promising an experience from which you won’t want to wake. Nina Levy spoke to director Matt Edgerton to find out more.

    Reading time • 10 minutesTheatre

Cleaver Street Studio

Cleaver Street Studio

Cleaver Street Studio