ArtsLab Shopfront's artists in residence


It’s done.

It’s rather surreal.
I think I went into a state of extreme nerves last night and made a total ass of myself in front of many. I was so so so so so so so SO scared that I seemed to forget everything, and my entire focus during all my interactions was on trying to unlock my knees so I don’t dislocate them in stress and fall over. However, I have recovered from the shell shock of the Work In Progress showing and I think I am ready to voice some responses to questions and comments I received last night.

Numero Uno: Why is it set in 1830 in London? Make it closer to me, it’s too BBC.

It’s set here because it is. There is a story here that is locked into this very specific period of history and I am very interested in exploring it. The resurrection men are real, the doctor is real, the murder really happened. The dramatics are mine. I also love the setting because this play is a reaction to Sydney’s favourite modernised classics. We love to take old writing and set it in now-times. Bring it to us. Make it about us by being blatant and literal and setting it in our world. I want to create a play in opposition to; this. A new piece of writing set in then-times. A brand new story and voice that is removed from us by time and space yet still connects to our world. The desperation of the people in London in 1830 was caused a good deal by urban expansion and population growth. Is that not an issue today? One main theme is fear. Societal fear, personal fear, religious fear. Is society now fearless? Would we not recognise our fears reflected back at us from almost two centuries ago? It may seem quite BBC right now, and harder to connect with, but it’s a work in progress. As Augusta Supple wonderfully said, I need to now add the Ava voice to the genre I’ve constructed. That’s absolutely right. Once I’ve added the secret spice of Ava, this script will become a story truly connected to the here and now. I have faith in my ability to achieve this.

2: I couldn’t see anything.

Yeah. Me neither. That was a bad idea. Oops. Live and learn.

3: I wasn’t scared because I knew she was wearing a wig and I knew it wasn’t real.

This response really bothered me and I feel I should have sought out the commenter and asked for an elaboration. Whenever we enter a theatre to view a performance, we know it’s not “real” in the strictest sense. We know we are seeing people who are pretending to be other people in order to convey a story. We know that what they’re saying didn’t actually happen to them and the action that occurs on stage is not going to harm them. This is in the great majority of theatrical performances anyway, although I don’t think there is a single example of an actor being intentionally physically harmed on stage as part of a performance. My point in saying this is; of course it’s not real. And you never thought it was. No one did. You were not scared and you feel it’s to do with the fact that props were used, but it’s not because you knew they were fake. Everyone who did experience fear or some variant of it knew it was fake too, because it’s theatre. So I would love to know what specifically caused this to not affect you.

These were the main things that were sticking to the sides of my brain, and I hope I’ve articulated them well. Thank you to everyone who came and saw and conquered with me. Thanks so much to my fab actors Saskia Roberts, Justin Milteny, Gus Wyllie and Paul Musumeci. You’re amazing at putting up with my insanity, I owe you beer. And thanks to everyone at Shopfront for caring and helping and believing and not believing but keeping it to yourself so I could figure it out my way. This was an amazing opportunity and I now know what path I have to follow as I further develop this piece.

However, now it is time to write my holiday play. A play with absolutely no werewolves! Also, I’ve got a meeting with my Nintendo DS and Pokemon Black which I really have been putting off for far too long.

Until next time!


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