This was my solo performance for year 11 drama. Of the ten given, I chose the prompt called “The Cuckoo Affair”, tasking me to write and perform a short play about a detective investigating the real world disappearance of Willi Koeppen, a 60s celebritiy chef who ran ‘The Cuckoo’ in the Dandenong Ranges. My story follows the actual series of events with heavy film noir stylization and personification of each character as a different bird[1] (The names are changed to indicate this: Willi Koeppen becomes ‘Cook C’koo’, The Detective becomes ‘Blue Jay’).

1^This descision came from noticing parallels between accounts of Willi Koeppen and the Cuckoo bird: In literature (particularly Shakespeare) the Cuckoo symbolises cold-bloodedness, madness, cuckoldry and elusivity. I made the detective a Bluejay (a curious and intelligent bird perhaps best known for its habit of collecting bright, eye-catching objects like bottle caps, foil and feathers) to reflect his hopes to collect enough clues in the wake of C’koo’s departure for a picture of him to begin to form. The feather distinguishes the different characters surrounding C’koo’s disappearance, and acts as the pen he uses to record the details of the case.

The entire play is scored exclusively by the jazz of Donald Byrd, from his album “Byrd’s Eye View”.