Student-written play 'Razor Women' sells out, telling a forgotten history

Razor Women set

“Razor Women,” which ran Sept. 16-19, takes place in Sydney, Australia in the 1930s. The show is a historical drama that follows six real-life women and how their paths cross: two mob bosses, a police officer, two sex workers and a reporter. 

“Razor Women” is a fully student-run production written by senior Elizabeth Peller and presented by Alpha Psi Omega, Creighton’s theatre fraternity. As a student-run production, the cast and crew faced challenges that tested their experience and real-world knowledge.

“Naturally that brought its own challenges,” Taylor Wiley, the show’s scenic designer, said. “But it gave us an experience to know how the theatre world runs and truly understand what we need to do when we are in these positions later on in life.”

Peller drew inspiration for the show from a lecture she attended whilst studying abroad in Sydney. Peller’s lecture mentioned two of the characters, Kate Leigh and Tilly Devine. Peller had to do exhaustive research on Leigh and Devine’s lives with the goal of making the show as historically accurate as possible, as a timeline with their friends and acquaintances is not digitally available.

Following the performance on Sept. 19 the cast and crew held a talk-back with the audience, giving information and allowing the audience to ask questions about the creation of the show from writing to producing. 

During the after-show talkback, Peller was asked why she chose to write a play to share the story of the “Razor Women.” After doing research into them, their lives, who they were and not just the label they were given, Peller did not believe an academic paper could do them justice. 

“It allowed me to show their full humanity in the way you can’t encompass on a page,” Peller said.

In an interview with Peller, she revealed that during the writing process there were four different versions of the show and about fifty drafts before deciding on the show that was performed.

The show performed well, with tickets selling for every performance. During the after-show talkback, Peller said that she couldn’t have had a better cast and crew performing her writing. 

“It’s a big deal, trusting others to take care of your art,” Peller said. “But it was worth it, and the outcome was so beautiful, and I was so happy to be able to share this story with everyone.”

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