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Reaching for the stars
Maid of dishonour
They were stargazers. At night, Deborah Mailman and her rodeo rider dad, Wally, would lie on the trampoline in their front yard in the Queensland mining town of Mount Isa, seeing what they could spot. Once, when she was about 12, a mysterious light appeared in the cloudy sky.

“This might sound really crazy,” the Total Control and Offspring star says at her family home near Wollongong, NSW, where she has lived for almost 15 years. The 49-year-old leans forward and pushes her hands away, palms facing out:

Two servant sisters plan on criminal glory. In French writer Jean Genet’s three-hander play The Maids, they indulge in dress-ups while plotting to poison their mistress, who treats her underlings as children, their identities interchangeable.

Closet readers of tabloid Murder magazine, these siblings cannot achieve class equality, plumping instead for violent infamy as outcasts: elder sister Solange dreams of donning a red dress to accompany her blazing headline: THE FAMOUS CRIMINAL. “My despair makes me invincible,” she says.

Steve's essays Bent Man Running published in Growing Up Queer in Australia and Stream drama in Meanjin autumn 2020.
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