IT was war that brought Zina Carmen to a life in the theatre. The director of the coming 1812 Theatre
production Brilliant Lies stumbled across a derelict theatre while accompanying her husband, who was working as a civilian contractor, on a trip in war-torn Kuwait.
The former actress couldn't resist.
"It was a beautiful little theatre, and I decided then to start directing some plays," she says.
"I fell into it I suppose."
More than two decades later, war and art still intersect for Carmen - only now it's a battle of the sexes.
Brilliant Lies, which opens tomorrow, centres on a legal battle between Susy and her sleazy
Gary asks Susy to stay back at work late one night, and it's then that Susy accuses him of
sexually harassing her.
It looks an open-and-shut case, except Susy lies to everybody she knows and has a bit of a
reputation as a party girl.
Carman said the ensemble cast delivered a
fantastic performance of the 1993 David
Williamson play - especially Dhania
McKechnie, who plays Susy.
"Susy is such a complex and complicated
character who has had a lot happen to her in life. She does a great job."
Carmen said the play maintained its relevance because fundamentally nothing has changed between men and women.
"There are still bosses who think a 'harmless comment' about a woman's figure is just that - harmless comment.
"And there's some women who are very tough-skinned and it wouldn't bother them, while
others are I guess more sensitive.
"How do you prove what happened when there were only those two in a room? It's her word against his."
She wants audiences to be not merely
entertained by Brilliant Lies, but to think
seriously about male-female dynamics.
"Of course, I want it [the show] to be
entertaining, but art is a social forum, not just entertainment.
"I want people to leave the play thinking about what they've seen." Brilliant Lies runs from tomorrow to September 1 at 1812 Theatre, 3 Rose Street,
Upper Ferntree Gully. Cost $25, including supper and after-show meet and greet.