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Theatre Works and Footscray Community Arts Centre in partnership with the VC A present

F I V E B O L D N E W P L A Y S F R O M T H E N E X T G E N E R A T I O N O F A U S T R A L I A N P L A Y W R I G H T S

flight


WELCOME TO FLIGHT DAN CLARKE

IT’S AN ABSOLUTE PLEASURE TO BE PRESENTING FLIGHT FESTIVAL OF NEW WRITING TO MELBOURNE AUDIENCES. This new initiative is a unique partnership between Theatre Works, Footscray Community Arts Centre and the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). It is an exciting program that provides a platform for performances of new Australian plays to take flight.

for Performance at VCA led by acclaimed playwright and dramaturg, Raimondo Cortese of Ranters Theatre. They are five writers with unique voices and distinct styles. Alongside the plays, we’ve also curated a series of talks which are free and open to all. With such an exciting line-up of guests we are sure they will provoke thought and spark debate. I encourage you all to head on down to Theatre Works (or FCAC) visit the bar, see the shows, talk about the shows and be inspired by what these new voices of the Australian stage have to say.

I’ll see you there! I’m thrilled to be introducing audiences to new works by Bridget Mackey, Fleur Kilpatrick, Patrick McCarthy, Dan Clarke Morgan Rose and Chi Vu. Each of these writers CEO / Creative Producer developed their plays during their Masters in Writing Theatre Works

SEEING THROUGH THE DUST STORM

by OLIVIA SATCHELL

WE ARE LIVING IN

EXTRAORDINARY TIMES.

acclaimed playwright Raimondo Cortese, this program is It is this complexity that is representative of the five new producing the next generation of Australia’s theatrical voice. plays that make up the FLIGHT season.

In his keynote speech at the 2014 National Playwriting Greece is imploding.The United States Festival, Andrew Bovell was at pains to point out has legalised same-sex marriage. that the stories we choose to tell are those that are The surviving Chibok schoolgirls commissioned, developed and produced by our are still missing.

Meanwhile, Australia is being submitted to a manufactured national crisis. Flags are multiplying. Boats are being turned back. Budget belts are tightening. This tightening is being felt keenly by the arts sector.

“Creative Producer Dan Clarke has created

FLIGHT as a public platform specifically for the work produced from the VCA Masters of Writing for Performance program.

In May, it was announced that $104 million had been diverted from the Australia Council for the Arts to Recognised as a national leader in its field George Brandis’ National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA). It was quickly realised that the vague and led by acclaimed playwright Raimondo indeterminacy of “Excellence” was directly matched by Cortese, this program is producing the next the concrete reality of this diversion. Multiple avenues of funding from the Council were immediately frozen. generation of Australia’s theatrical voice.” The spate of end-of-financial-year emails requesting taxdeductible donations acquired a newfound urgency. theatre companies. The economic imperative hinted at The dust of this overhaul is yet to settle. What is important here now stands in stark relief as, one year later, Brandis is that in this dust we do not lose sight of art’s power to breathes down our collective neck. illuminate who we are. What is important is that we remain Bovell was also at pains to advocate the importance of willing to engage with this process of illumination. new writing. The temptation for companies to revert to The FLIGHT season here at Theatre Works is a key programming canonical work in hard times is easy to understand. Produce a ‘sure thing’ and you can not only example of this willingness. Creative Producer Dan Clarke has created FLIGHT as a bankroll your riskier unknown work but also potentially public platform specifically for the work produced from safeguard your company’s future. However, Bovell the VCA Masters of Writing for Performance program. argued that new writing must be foregrounded as it gives Recognised as a national leader in its field and led by expression to our “national conscience by reflecting the society in which we live in all its complexity.”

f o r M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N

Chi Vu’s site-specific work The Dead Twin takes the postcolonial gothic tradition that has developed over the last ten years (outlined recently in Andrew Harmsen’s article for The Conversation) to explore the bicultural identity of refugees. Bridget Mackey’s Kindness and Patrick McCarthy’s Grief and the Lullaby both investigate the spaces between people - how they grow, dissipate, and reemerge. Morgan Rose’s Virgins and Cowboys responds to the American recession through a suburban Australian lens, and Fleur Kilpatrick’s Yours The Face considers the ugliness of perfection. These five plays are deeply diverse and are united only by their formal inventiveness and their interrogation of our need for human connection. They are all new, they are all about our society as it stands today, and they are all making sure that we do not lose sight of what is important in the midst of our government’s economic duststorm.

Olivia Satchell is a theatre-maker dedicated to developing and producing new Australian work. With the FLIGHT writers, Olivia curated the FLIGHT panel discussions and interviewed the artists for this publication. Her credits include Antigone (SUDS), Transformer by Jessica Redenbach (Griffin Theatre Company; Festival of New Writing), Heart Dot Com (multi-playwright project; Tap Gallery), Come and Join Me by Ellana Costa (Performance Space; Carriageworks), her onewoman show My Name is Truda Vitz (Somersault Theatre Company; Tap Gallery), and Twelfth Night (SCEGGS Darlinghurst). Satchell co-founded Somersault Theatre Company in 2013 and is undertaking her Masters of Directing for Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts.

BOOKINGS AND ENQUIRIES V I S I T T H E AT R E W O R K S . O R G . A U


F I V E B O L D N E W F R O M T H E N E X T O F A U S T R A L I A N

P L A Y S G E N E R A T I O N P L A Y W R I G H T S

14 - 23 AUGUST

virgins & cowboys

31 JULY – 9 AUGUST

KINDNESS by Bridget Mackey

by Morgan Rose Motherboard Productions

7pm Theatre Works: St Kilda

‘You’re a Galápagos tortoise, a beautiful creature that you wouldn’t want to see locked up.’

Bridget Mackey’s play is a meditation on the pressures of modern life and the intricacies of relationships between strangers. Kindness asks us to consider In a dead-end office job apathy may be if acts of altruism can ever be devoid of essential to survival. Three office workers cruelty and reflect on our obligation to befriend Evelyn, a woman in her late reach out to those in need. eighties. Unfulfilled by their jobs, the workers’ boredom manifests in paranoia Writer: Bridget Mackey and violent escapism. Evelyn’s presence Director: Kate Shearman & Alice Darling Designer: Yvette Turnbull allows the office workers to vent their Lighting Designer: Sarah Walker frustrations and to seek guidance from Sound Designer: Andrew Dalziell someone who, for once, seems to have Cast: Maggie Brown, Tom Heath, Emily Tomlins, Rachel Perks the time to listen.

8.30pm Theatre Works: St Kilda A sitcom reject set in cyberspace (sort of) about how it takes 20 years to realise your grade two teacher was lying when she said you could be anything you wanted to be. Sam meets two women online. They are both virgins. He decides it would be really interesting if he were the one to…. you know. The one. But Lane is more than he bargained for and Steph doesn’t really like him all that much. Then everything goes

the dead twin

yours the face

by Chi Vu Presented by Footscray Community Arts Centre

by Fleur Kilpatrick Quiet Little Fox

8.30pm Theatre Works: St Kilda

From Fleur Kilpatrick (Best Writer, 2014 Melbourne Fringe for The City They Burned) and the team behind the critically acclaimed Insomnia Cat Came To Stay comes a new Australian work, thick with grit, glamour and beautiful people being very ugly. Described as a theatrical ‘tour de force’ (Adelaide Advertiser) and ‘the most cutting – yet subtle – commentary on

objectification at this years’ Fringe’ (Festival Freak), Yours the Face tells the story of a photographer and his model, both played exquisitely by Roderick Cairns, who come together to create one perfect image. Behind the pixels lies a world of obsession, exploitation and emptiness. Writer: Fleur Kilpatrick Director: Sarah Walker & Robert Reid Performer: Roderick Cairns Designer: Sarah Walker Sound Designer: Tom Pitts Dramaturg: Raimondo Cortese

Writer: Morgan Rose Director: Dave Sleswick Assistant Director: Katy Maudlin Choreographer: Dale Thorburn Sound Designer: Liam Barton Lighting Designer: Lisa Mimbus Stage Manager: Kate Brennan Cast: Katrina Cornwell, James Deeth, Penelope Harpham, George Lingard, Kieran Law

13 - 22 AUGUST

31 JULY - 9 AUGUST

This is the thousand words a picture does not say.

to hell when the internet and the past and present and the future and the stage smash together and everything falls apart.

Times vary - see website for details The past comes back. Enter the horror. Secret departure point in Footscray. Ticket holders will be Steve is a young man with a bright future. notified where to meet ahead of the When he meets Lola, he develops the performance. ability to contact his long dead twin, who Writer: Chi Vu died during war. Steve’s parents have a Director: Deborah Leiser-Moore pact not to talk about the twin, but each Visual Artist: Naomi Ota Sound Designer: Jacques Soddell of them dreams of encountering him. The Dead Twin re-imagines the horror genre as an immersive, cyclical, sitespecific performance.

Costume Designer: Ross de WInter Performers: Deborah Leiser-Moore, Alex Pinder, Harry Tseng, Daniel Han and Davina Wright footscrayarts.com

14 - 23 AUGUST

grief & the lullaby by Patrick McCarthy Fabricated Rooms

7pm Theatre Works: St Kilda ‘Have you ever caught your reflection in a window and thought it was one of us?’ Unfolding across a single scene, Grief and the Lullaby is a drama of lightness and sensitivity, examining the quiet moments of connection that occur between a group of semi-strangers in a garden at night. This new work explores what it means to grow apart from those you grew up with, and the difficulty of bridging that space when you’re drawn together again.

Writer-Director Patrick McCarthy launches his new company Fabricated Rooms with this delicate and moving work, bringing together an accomplished team of collaborators. Writer and Director: Patrick McCarthy Dramaturg (text): Raimondo Cortese Creative Producer and Dramaturg (performance): Mark Rogers Set Design: Andrew Bailey Lighting Design: Lisa Mibus Sound Design: Tommy Spender Costume Design: Zoe Rouse Assistant Director: Mick Roe Cast: Rebecca Bower, Dean Cartmel, Ryan Forbes, Ben Pfeiffer

B O O K I N G I N F O R M AT I O N See multiple shows and save

F L I G H T PA C K ( 4 S H O W S ) $80 / $ 60 FLIGHT DOUBLE (2 SHOWS) $40 / $30 SINGLE TICKETS $30 / $20

Bookings at:

theatreworks.org.au (03) 9534 3388 *Booking fees apply


FREE EVENTS Join us throughout FLIGHT Festival for a series of insightful, candid and thought-provoking discussions. These are free and will take place on Saturday afternoons during FLIGHT. All welcome! The Process of FLIGHT

Ta k i n g F l i g h t

T h e Q u e s t i o n o f Te x t

SATURDAY AUGUST 8

SATURDAY AUGUST 15

SATURDAY AUGUST 22

THEATRE WORKS 3:00PM

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4:30PM

FOOTSCRAY COMMUNITY ARTS CENTRE 3:00PM - 4:30PM

FLIGHT is a new festival built for staging the work of writers who have completed the Masters in Writing at VCA. The five plays being presented in this inaugural program are deeply diverse and are linked by their formal inventiveness and their interest in human connection.

This panel will be a discussion between the playwrights - Bridget Mackey, Fleur Kilpatrick, Chi Vu, Patrick McCarthy, and Morgan Rose - about the similarities and differences in their work. It will focus on their writing process, the relationship between form and content in each play, and each writer’s investment in theatre as a social art form. Chaired by Raimondo Cortese.

What is the relationship between our training institutions, independent, and main-stage theatre in Melbourne? How do they feed each other? How has this changed over time and what shape is this ecology likely to take in the future? Panelists include: Alyson Campbell (VCA), Mark Pritchard (Malthouse Theatre), Jane Montgomery Griffiths (Monash University), John Kachoyan (MKA Theatre of New Writing) and Daniel Clarke (Theatre Works). Chaired by Fleur Kilpatrick

BRIDGET MACKEY P L A Y W R I G H T ,

K I N D N E S S

How would you describe your play You’ve spoken of your interest in the plot in one sentence? happening outside of the scenes in your play. Kindness is a meditative black Why is this?

comedy about an older woman’s My script, along with the work of the creative team, relationship with a group of city suggests plot through the characters’ behaviour on office workers. stage. I invite the audience to approach the text in the way that they might watch a dance performance, in that How has your ongoing collaboration they are present and in the moment with the performers with director Kate Shearman on stage. I’m also interested in what the audience can bring to a performance from their own life experience helped shape Kindness? and I’m hopefully creating some space for them to do so. Kate went through the graduate directing program at the same time I did my Masters. Because Kate has been with Kindness from its very first draft she has a deep What do you consider to be an act of kindness? understanding of my vision for the script. I have to say it Mostly we go through life focusing on our own immediate has now become OUR vision for the script, as well as co- needs. Obviously in a big city like Melbourne, we need director Alice Darling’s. Kate has directed a number of to act this way to keep our sanity because you can’t give readings of Kindness both at VCA and since graduating. your money to every homeless person, or take the time These readings have been invaluable to my ongoing to talk to everyone you pass in the street. Regardless of writing process because I have had feedback about this, I think that a real act of kindness is when someone how my ideas translate from the page into performance. breaks out of their bubble and makes the effort to share Kate is sensitive to the tone and shape of the text and a moment of connection with a fellow human. I don’t this understanding has allowed me to keep refining think we do it enough, and it is difficult to do! (Have Kindness in the lead up to FLIGHT. you seen the way train carriages fill up? No one wants Who is your favourite playwright and why?

It’s not very cool to say this, but my favourite playwright is Samuel Beckett. I love Beckett’s commitment to stage imagery. When I think of Beckett’s plays three strong images stick in my mind: the tree in Waiting for Godot, the garbage bins in Endgame, and the lips in Not I. I’d like to write plays that get into people’s brains like Beckett’s stick in my mind. I know this is what some people find frustrating about him but I love how open to interpretation his texts are. I worked Front of House on a production of Waiting for Godot and saw the show about a dozen times. One night, an audience member came up to me and said that he learnt more about himself watching Waiting for Godot that he had out of years of therapy. Finally, I like Beckett because he divides people so wildly.

to sit next to someone if there is a space for them to sit on their own… we maintain such an illusion of distance from one another.) Why do you write?

I watch theatre because it makes me feel less alone in my experience as a human being. I write for the same reason. I think existence is weird and that human beings are bizarre creatures and I want to share my experience of this with you. Maybe you feel the same way as me about things or maybe your experience is completely different to mine… how weird is that?

THEATRE WORKS 3:00PM

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4:30PM

The FLIGHT season raises a series of questions about the status of text in theatre as we progress into the twenty-first century.

What is text-based theatre in Australia? Does it cover the spectrum of work being made here and how can it conform or depart from our traditional understanding of ‘playwriting’? What implications do these questions have for authorship? Panelists include: Chi Vu, Chris Mead (MTC), Emma Valente (THE RABBLE), Patricia Cornelius and Marcel Dorney (Elbow Room). Chaired by Mark Rogers


PATRICK M CC A R T H Y

MORGAN ROSE

A N D

V I R G I N S

P L A Y W R I G H T , T H E

G R I E F

P L A Y W R I G H T ,

L U L L A B Y

What motivated you to write Grief and The Lullaby as a single scene?

I think the experience of watching something unfold in real-time can help create a sense of intimacy in the theatre. When you’re asking the audience to come with you to a place that’s quite emotionally dark, it can be helpful to eliminate the need for a lot of scene changes or jumps in the audience’s understanding of when and where we are. Instead, Grief and the Lullaby unfolds very gradually through a series of interconnected conversations, and the accumulative effect of this is hopefully quite powerful by the end of the play. This pace and energy also allows us to create a feeling of authenticity in the performances, and generates moments that are surprising and confronting. Who is your favourite playwright and why?

Probably Will Eno. His work feels like the most accurate and insightful depiction of humanity at the moment. Beckett went okay too. This play is the first work of your new theatre company Fabricated Rooms. What is your vision for this company?

I’ll be writing and directing each work that we make, but collaborating closely with a range of artists depending on the needs of the project. The aim is to create works that are entirely original in terms of the text (as opposed to adapting classics or doing plays from overseas), but to employ experimental devising and design methodologies in order to stretch the possibilities of what new-writing might look (or sound) like in our theatre. You are directing this production. What is the difference for you between collaborating with a director and directing your own work?

There aren’t many writer-directors in Australian theatre. In fact, it’s often discouraged. I think this comes from a suspicion that playwrights try to protect their scripts from changes, which is a bit of an old cliche. It’s much more common in film for people to write and direct. I think one of the benefits is that you can leave space in the text for other material to enter in the rehearsal/ production phase, whether that’s sequences devised with the cast or design driven moments. On a personal level, I really enjoy the experience of starting a project in my imagination, moving to a blank page, and then ultimately moving into a collaborative mode during rehearsals and production. This allows for a very holistic approach to the project. Why do you write?

The writing phase of a project is always a lot of fun. I really enjoy the solitary nature of it, the private dreaming that goes on whilst trying to bring people and places to life through dialogue. I think this part of the theatre-making process is really important, as it allows for a period of creativity that’s not under the immense pressure of time that exists in a rehearsal room or a theatre. I’ve made work that’s purely devised in the past, but found that without the foundation of the writing process it felt quite unsupported.

C O W B O Y S

How would you describe your play in one sentence?

How would you describe your play in one sentence?

Grief and the Lullaby explores how our relationships with people change as we move through our twenties and into our thirties, and the difficulty of reconnecting in the wake of a tragedy.

A N D

A sitcom that falls apart to reveal its ugly insides.

You are collaborating with choreographer Dale Thorburn  on Virgins and Cowboys. What interests you about exploring your play through physical movement?

I’m a writer who prefers dance. The performances that have affected me most have always been movement based. I can’t create this myself, I don’t have the mind for it. I spent years studying physical theatre before admitting that I was much better at writing text. Words, I get. Movement is a mystery, which is perhaps why I’m drawn to it. Dale Thorburn, our choreographer, and I have known each other for many years, and artistically we click, even though we’ve rarely gotten the chance to work together. One day, over dinner, he said to me ‘I’ve always wanted to do a choreographic treatment of a text.’ I had just finished writing Virgins and Cowboys and as soon as he said it, I knew that’s exactly what the piece needed. Because the traditional form of the play disappears halfway through, and the characters no longer have realism to assist them in deciphering blocking, we suddenly have more options and movement becomes more important. Who is your favourite playwright and why?

I’m going to cheat and name a screenwriter, and that’s Charlie Kaufman. He’s dark, and funny, and he doesn’t write realism. Being John Malkovitch was an epiphanous moment for me. It was so bold. I didn’t realize that was allowed. If you want me to play by the rules, I would name Will Eno. His work is heartbreaking and strange. It washes over you rather than asking you to cling to a story.

“I write specifically for performance. I love conversation and the way people communicate and miscommunicate. I love that people can say one thing and actually mean the opposite. I love banter. I love a live audience. I love the things you can get away with on stage...” How does the form you’ve chosen speak to the content of your play?

The characters in the play are all desperately trying to find some sort of happiness, and they are all failing miserably. They are disconnected from each other and from themselves, and so their attempts to fill the void are disingenuous and futile. We use a lot of tricks in the work to mimic the ways we communicate these days in a theatrical way. The dialogue flows like a television sitcom to begin with, there’s a falseness and familiarity to it, and then it becomes disjointed and out of sync like an instant messenger conversation. A single conversation can last for hours as the conversationalists walk away from their computers, have lunch, come back, reply to a question, etc. This speaks to the bizarre world we currently live in where we confuse our own identity with our Facebook profiles. Or at least I do. This play is a response to the US recession through the lens of suburban Australia. How does your position between these two cultures affect your work?

I’m definitely half way between the two cultures at the moment and it’s problematic. I get called out on it frequently (‘Will this read to an Australian audience?), but there’s not much I can do about it. I can’t help the fact that I grew up in America, and that my past is going to inform my work. I also can’t ignore the fact that I live here now: all my interactions are with Australians, my own accent is changing, my way of socialising is changing, I am not as American as I was 5 years ago. I am somewhere in the middle, and so is my work. There’s a sort of freedom in it though. Being in between two things means you can ignore the norms of both places. I play the two countries against each other in order to get away with things.   Why do you write?

I write specifically for performance. I love conversation and the way people communicate and miscommunicate. I love that people can say one thing and actually mean the opposite. I love banter. I love a live audience. I love the things you can get away with on stage (singing! dancing! silence! painting yourself blue and beating a drum!) I love how difficult performance is, how it requires collaboration and timing and luck and there’s no way to ever be 100% successful at it. I guess, in short, I’m a masochist.


FLEU R K I LPATRICK P L A Y W R I G H T ,

How would you describe your play in one sentence? It is the story of a photograph and the many thousands of words it does not say. Yours The Face is about beauty and ugliness as seen through the lens of fashion. How has your experience as a model and your director Sarah Walker’s experience as a professional photographer informed the work? Two key things from my experience as a model have found their way in: Firstly, I know how fake a photo can be. I don’t just mean photoshop. Image manipulation begins before the shutter even fires. It is about the way a model holds their body during a shoot, the way they’ve changed their diet leading up to it, the way their makeup and expression become a blank canvas for someone else’s art. Which leads to the second thing: I know the passivity required of a model. Emmy is an incredibly passive character. She has strength and darkness within her but overall she moves through life as she’s been taught to move through a photoshoot: with cool detachment. I think Sarah’s visual skills as a photographer have a massive impact on the show and how it is presented. It is beautiful and every moment looks like a picture. She and the actor, Roderick Cairns, were also able to carefully choreograph the photography scenes with an acute awareness of the camera and what a photograph would expect of a professional model in that moment.

Y O U R S

T H E

F A C E

her poetry and how it erupts from ugliness and bravado? Have you seen how hard that woman fights in every aspect of her work and craft? I’m so proud of Australian playwrights and so, so proud that someone like Patricia is screaming out in such a uniquely female and Australian way.

each rehearsal. This will actually be the third season for Yours the Face and this is the first time we have had a decent-length rehearsal period. This has meant that I’ve been able to play with some rewrites that I’ve wanted to do for a year and a half. It was wonderful to have reviews and audience responses to What fuelled your decision to have help me as I’ve re-interrogated my your two characters played by a own work. single performer? The instant I started writing Yours the Face, I knew it was “a duet for “This is an incredibly solo voice”. There are many, many demanding show for reasons this appealed to me: I think it physicalises their loneliness, how the actor. It is precise, they are two parts of the same world and how being cruel to each other physically demanding, only further isolates them. Peter, the emotionally complex photographer, cannot view Emmy as a person. To him, she is only beautiful and requires an immense and, despite his loneliness, he is amount of intellectual disgusted when she reveals what is going on inside her head. This kind engagement.” of objectification is damaging to both men and women. Most importantly, without make up Why do you write? or costuming I wanted to try and turn I write because I have to and because a male body female in the eyes of some stories feel too urgent to leave the audience. We make no attempts unsaid. Because I want to make to hide the actor’s maleness but I people feel things and think things hope that over the course of the play as hard as they can. I write because people will begin to view him as a I’m angry, happy, sad, frightened, woman. Hopefully they will question aroused and excited about the world how they look at and treat women around me. and their bodies.

This work was produced at Perth’s FRINGE WORLD Festival at the beginning of the year. What has it been like to remount it for FLIGHT? This is an incredibly demanding show for the actor. It is precise, physically demanding, emotionally complex and requires an immense amount of intellectual engagement. Who is your favourite playwright Remounting this has meant an enormous amount of work for and why? Roderick and Sarah. It isn’t just Patricia Cornelius because have a case of polishing it back up. you seen her work? Have you heard They are still finding new things at

W E H AV E A B A R . . . ...and we want you to enjoy it! We sell a range of wines by Vinaceous, Coopers beers, as well as soft drinks. Come and spend time in the Theatre Works bar before or after your show.

GETTING HERE FOOTSCRAY COMMUNITY ARTS CENTRE (for The Dead Twin)

Footscray Community Arts Centre is located on the banks of the Maribyrnong River and can be easily accessed by public transport and car. By Train: Catch a train to Footscray Station and take a 5 minute walk down Bunbury Street. By Bus: Take the 402 bus to the corner of Moreland Street and Dynon Road, and then a 5 minute walk down Moreland Street. By Car: There are two hour unmetered car-parks in FCAC’s front car park and metered parking on Moreland Street.


CHI VU

P L A Y W R I G H T ,

T H E

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T W I N

How would you describe your play for being able to reveal a location (and community of in one sentence? people living there). The audience sat in the back of the taxi as it drove around different parts of Footscray. Immersive. Family. Horror. It made new connections between these locations for me. The Dead Twin uses the horror genre Overall, I admire performances where the script is to explore legacies of trauma. What really well-integrated into the overall work, and yet the motivates this choice? words that are spoken have a ‘shine’ to them. The Dead Twin describes an experience that is core to being a refugee using a pop culture genre (horror). I think the You speak of your interest in exploring the ‘diasporic metaphor of a dead twin is an interesting approach to uncanny’ and the postcolonial gothic in your play. portraying grief and trauma. Our work is new because What is this? Why does it interest you? horror is usually found in film, is rarely done in theatre in this way (we are reimagining the genre as an immersive, cyclical performance), and we’re exploring these themes with an extraordinary ‘colour-blind’ cast.

The Dead Twin explores a sense of alienation experienced by immigrant families, particularly those who’ve fled war. Migrants are often buoyed in their new country by new opportunities, and yet they are still haunted by their previous identity. Our intention is for the play’s themes of trauma and suppressed cultural How has your collaboration with director Deborah identity to resonate with Australia today. Leiser-Moore informed your work? When I wrote The Dead Twin, I used the postcolonial In 2013, I asked Deborah Leiser-Moore to direct gothic to explore my bicultural identity, having left The Dead Twin for a reading at the VCA because my Vietnam as a child refugee; this play is not, however, script explores repressed identity, postmemory and autobiographical. The postcolonial gothic is a genre inherited trauma through the ‘diasporic uncanny’ used to represent the ‘other’ – where true ‘otherness’ and postcolonial gothic. These themes intersected can neither be killed off nor assimilated. And unlike remarkably well with Deborah’s performance works – magic realism, the gothic emphasises the terror of in particular, the trauma of ex-soldiers (KaBooM), and this encounter, rather than ‘glossing over’ differences. the silence/emptiness inherited by the children of I also use the ‘uncanny’ to describe being in-between Holocaust survivors (Cordelia, Mein Kind). By working two worlds – Australia and Vietnam. Hence the work’s together, we realised we had many shared areas of exploration of doubles, twins and the path not taken. interest. Our approaches were also complimentary: Deborah is known for her visually stunning and This work’s themes of trauma and ‘otherness’ has highly physical works, whereas I like obsessing about relevance to contemporary Australia, especially given the prevalence of our experience of displacement and narrative, dialogue and texture. migration since white settlement. The horror genre is a way for us to connect with pop-culture to explore Who is your favourite playwright and why? these themes. I love narrative whether it’s created by an individual playwright or an ensemble. So two of my favourite Why do you write? performance works are by Back to Back Theatre – Small Metal Objects and Ganesh vs the Third Reich. I think writers and artists in general make work because These works are very successful in the way they reveal they have to. Because it feels weird not to; because ourselves to ourselves through the overall design and you cannot engage or comprehend your world fully unless you write it down or paint it or record and pared back dialogue. manipulate it. Once I’ve written something, no matter Another favourite is Ranters Theatre’s Holiday. How how fragmentary, it just feels great to move the ideas can dialogue be so engaging without being overtly around: grow this, pare back on that, until it captures about any particular topic? It’s more about the subtly the texture and energy that existed inside you when changing relationship between the two men on stage. you first noticed it. I also love Susie Dee and Patricia Cornelius’s Taxi –

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By Tram: Catch tram numbers 16, 79, 96 & 112 (stopping at Fitzroy street) By Bus: Catch bus numbers 600, 606, 623 & 246 By Car: We recommend arriving early and leaving yourself plenty of time for parking. You can use the paying car park at the Prince of Wales Hotel, located on the corner of Acland and Fitzroy Streets. Or, the council run car park in Shakespeare Grove, next to Luna Park.

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(corner of St Leonard’s Avenue)

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GETTING HERE THEATRE WORKS 14 Acland Street, St Kilda

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CRICOS No: 00116K 9270 ZO570071

Anna Ng, The Invisible City, 2013. Master of Contemporary Art. Photo by Drew Echberg.

Study what you love at the VCA & MCM The Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (VCA & MCM) offer professional graduate study and research training programs in an environment that fosters the pursuit of artistic excellence and innovation. Choose from over 20 study areas including: Dance, Dramaturgy, Visual Art, Directing for Performance, Voice Studies, Music Therapy, Design for Performance, Filmmaking, Producing, Screenwriting, Production, Design for Screen, Writing for Performance, Community Practice, and Music (Performance Teaching) Find out more at one of our information nights during Graduate Study Week, 21-25 September

vca-mcm.unimelb.edu.au/gradstudy2015

hockingstuart St Kilda is proud to support FLIGHT and help emerging Australian playwrights launch their careers.

WE LOVE HOCKINGSTUART

Flight Festival of New Writing  

30 Jul 2015 - 23 Aug 2015 Theatre Works in partnership with the VCA and in association with Footscray Community Arts Centre A new intitiat...

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