Screenwriter Nakkiah Lui says Australia is more than ready for ‘the V word’ – that certain part of a woman’s anatomy that Lui has cheekily personified and brought to life as a character in her first standalone short series Kiki and Kitty for the ABC.
“When is Australia not ready, when is the world not ready, for a vagina on screen?” says Lui, a Gamilaroi-Torres Strait Islander writer and actor who cut her teeth on the ABC series Black Comedy.
“Half of the population have vaginas. We have these spaces around women that often we police so much and we come to these words and it’s like they are taboo or they are crass and you can’t talk about them.
“But that is so much to do with how limited a woman’s narrative can be when it comes to stories and identities and space in the world.”
Lui’s six-part, 12-minute series, currently screening on ABC Comedy on Tuesday nights at 9.30pm and ABC iview, follows the adventures of Kiki, a 25-year-old lawyer played by Lui, and her best friend and protector, her vagina, personified in the fabulous Kitty, played by Elaine Crombie.
The series also stars Christine Anu as Kiki’s mother and Tessa Rose as her nan.
Sydney-based Lui says the idea for the series sprang out of a Christmas message she filmed while tipsy and in which she asked Crombie to spring up from under a table and be her vagina.
“It started off as a bit of a joke, but then I started thinking if I had a vagina that came to life I would be so lucky if it was half as amazing and fabulous as Elaine Crombie,” she says.
Lui wrote the series last year and it was filmed in February.
She says the vagina she dreamed up in Kitty was one that would stick up for her and do the things she wished she could do and say, all while wearing sequins and high heels and sipping martinis.
“Like when people say ‘How Aboriginal are you?’ or ‘You’re not like other Aboriginal people’,” Lui says. “Or when people push in front of you in a line.
“All those ways in which racism is so innocuous or subversive that when you are the person being told it, you understand what is going on.”
Lui’s childhood dream of being a professional ice skater also features in the series. Her character leaves a career in law to work at an ice rink.
Lui’s sister, Lowanna Gibson, a retired international competitive figure skater, performs her on-ice body double.
“I fell in love with it, but unfortunately I didn’t have the discipline, skill or physique to be a figure skater,” Lui says.
But she says writing gave her a voice and she’s never looked back.
“As soon as I wrote my first short play, I felt at home,” Lui says.
- Kiki and Kitty is screening on ABC Comedy on Tuesday nights at 9.30pm and ABC iview.