Interviews

FIERCE. A WOMAN IN THE MEN’S AFL? AN INTERVIEW WITH THE ACTOR UP TO THE CHALLENGE.

Featured image credit: Steve Christo

What if a woman was drafted in the men’s AFL?

This is the provocative question at the heart of Jane e Thompson’s play FIERCE which tracks the career of Suzie Flack, an extraordinarily talented Australian Rules Football player who achieves her lifelong dream of being drafted to play alongside her male counterparts in the AFL. This raw but imaginative play explores the impact of this success on Flack and on her family, her relationships, her team and the sport as a whole.

The Guide had the opportunity to ask some questions of Lauren Richardson who plays Suzie.

SAG:            So were you fierce before you started work on the role?  Is that drew you into the project or have you had to learn fierceness in some way?

LAUREN:   I don’t think I would have described myself as Fierce before starting this role. I don’t think women are encouraged socially or culturally to take up space, stand their ground, or be heard fully without apology.

So it has definitely been a learning process. Finding the character’s physicality really helped, the ease with which she takes up space. And training and getting physically really fit and strong makes you feel like a bad ass too so that helps.

SAG:            I gather it’s been a very physically demanding rehearsal period with boxing and AFL included, what new skills have you been working on?
LAUREN:    Yes, boxing has been the main one as we see Suzie boxing in the play, so I thought I better work out what I’m doing. I’ve got a brilliant coach and to my own surprise I’ve fallen completely in love with it.  Who knows maybe next I’ll be getting in the ring?

We also train together as a cast at Spectrum Fitness who sponsor us and absolutely flog us in our sessions. It’s been great bonding for us because nothing builds camaraderie quicker that sweating it up and suffering through a tough session. Then the boys and I usually go for a kick before rehearsals.

SAG:             Your character must be extremely emotionally resilient too, where does that strength in her come from?
LAUREN:     The biggest influence in Suzie’s life is her Dad. He was once an accomplished footballer himself so footy is in her blood and it was her Dad that first taught her to kick out in the backyard at 3 years old. So Suzie’s love of the game is one of the ways her connection with her Father manifests.

But her single mindedness to achieve her dream, has meant her life is all about training and playing and not much else. So the way she interacts with others and the world more broadly beyond football has definitely been compromised. Despite everything she goes through she never gives up fighting and that trait most definitely comes from her Dad.

SAG:          The Old Fitz is a pretty intimate venue if male aggression is disconcerting should the front rows be avoided?  How full on is it? 
LAUREN:  Front row is great! Up close to all the action. The lovely thing about the play is there’s wonderful contrast, so there are scenes that are physically dynamic, violent or fast. But then also more quiet, intimate, still moments so the audience will get the chance to breathe.

SAG:             Do you think there will be a gendered take-away in the audiences or are you expecting some kind of solidarity of response?
LAUREN:   Not really, I feel like the play prompts questions for the audience and I feel like there will be a multitude of responses to it.

But however they feel, we want the audience to experience some of the passion and thrill you get at the footy so I hope we manage to excite them. We very much intend to!

That sounds like front rows and a beer for me.  Best wishes for a successful season and I am really looking forward to the show.

FIERCE from Red Line Productions [Facebook] opens March 20.

JESS AND JOE FOREVER. AN INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTOR OF THIS AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE.

Director of JESS AND JOE FOREVER, Shaun Rennie with Ally Moon, Nyx Calder and Julia Robertson

Sugary Rum Productions is about to present the Australian Premiere of JESS AND JOE FOREVER as part of 25a at Belvoir Downstairs.

Meet Jess and Joe. They want to tell you their story. Joe is Norfolk born and bred and wears wellies. Jess holidays there with her au pair and likes to sneak Spam behind the bus stop. This is a story of growing up, fitting in (or not), boys, girls, secrets, and maybe even love, but most of all, it’s about friendship. Spanning several summer holidays, Jess and Joe Forever is an unusual coming of age tale that explores what it means to belong somewhere, if you can really belong anywhere.

The Guide had the chance to speak with director Shaun Rennie as his cast and crew head into bump-in and production week.

SAG:          Very excited to see this play … so it’s country boy meets city girl? How does this story unfold?
SHAUN:    Why I love this play is because it sets up binaries.  It sets up storytelling tropes that we all know: boy meets girl; country kid meets city kid; rich kid-poor kid.  Jess and Joe both meet each over a series of summers in Norfolk where Jess is on her holidays and Joe lives there full time. So they develop this friendship over the course of their ‘tweens’, their adolescence essentially.

Continue reading JESS AND JOE FOREVER. AN INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTOR OF THIS AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE.

DELTA SIERRA JULIET EXPLAINED. INTERVIEW WITH ONE OF THE CO-CREATORS

Timothy Walker as Reginald Taylor, image by Darcy Green

It’s an intriguing title so The Guide reached out to the co-creators of DELTA SIERRA JULIET  to get more of an idea about the production.  We had the chance to send through some questions to Jackson Used who with Darcy Green (also directing) and  Elliot Vella created the show when it first appeared as part of the NIDA Directors’ and Designers’ Graduating Productions.

SAG:                The name of the play is obviously a call sign, what’s going here?
JACKSON:  Delta Sierra Juliet refers to the callsign of the Cessna 182L light aircraft that Frederick Valentich was flying when he disappeared in 1978. We found a transcript of the conversation between Valentich and the Melbourne Air Traffic Control Tower right at the beginning of our creative process, which is genuinely spooky. Delta Sierra Juliet felt obscure and mysterious, almost like you were reading code.
Continue reading DELTA SIERRA JULIET EXPLAINED. INTERVIEW WITH ONE OF THE CO-CREATORS

THE CARETAKER. AN INTERVIEW WITH NICHOLAS PAPADEMETRIOU.

 

THE CARETAKER, a classic of the English stage by Harold Pinter is coming to Riverside Theatres and Glen Street Theatre.   The Guide had the opportunity to speak to Nicholas Papademetriou who is acting in a role he has played before but this time, co-directing the show with Alex Bryant-Smith.               Continue reading THE CARETAKER. AN INTERVIEW WITH NICHOLAS PAPADEMETRIOU.

BRIELLE FLYNN INTERVIEWED ABOUT THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED PRODUCTION ‘THE MOORS’

This image: Brielle Flynn
Featured image: Brielle and Enya Daly in rehearsal for THE MOORS. Photo credit – Clare Hawley

The Sydney premiere of THE MOORS by Jen Silverman and directed by Kate Gaul, looms darkly through the fog before its opening to previews on February 7.

After being lured by mysterious letters, Emilie takes the position of governess in a household on the forbidding moors. Upon arriving, she finds two sisters – the stern and domineering Agatha, and the needy and flighty Hudley – a dog, and a glowering maid who isn’t always who or what she seems. Emilie’s arrival sets this odd assembly on a strange and increasingly bizarre path.

Inspired by the lives of the Brontë sisters, THE MOORS is a black comedy about love, desperation, and the way women are seen.

We had the opportunity to annoy cast member Brielle Flynn, who plays the hapless Emilie, while she was fog-deep in production week.

SAG:              Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.  So, there are 4 women and a dog in the cast?  I’m assuming The Moors passes the Bechdel test?

BRIELLE:      Make that 4 women, a dog and a moor-hen! I think the great thing about this play is that it highlights a universal need for connection, happiness, independence and visibility – a need that goes beyond human relationships, but also one’s connection to their sense of place. Continue reading BRIELLE FLYNN INTERVIEWED ABOUT THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED PRODUCTION ‘THE MOORS’

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. REHEARSAL VISIT AND INTERVIEW WITH MARY

This image: Joe Kalou as Jesus and Toby Francis as Judas
Featured image: Brittanie Shipway as Mary

In a rare treat for our readers, Sydney Arts Guide was invited into the rehearsal room for the first full run-through of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, produced by Packemin and directed by Neil Gooding.  Escorted by the disarmingly chatty and vibrant Brittanie Shipway, who plays Mary Magdalene, assisted by the completely charming Toby Francis, taking on the role of Judas, I had a production desk seat for a thrilling evening of unburnished performance excellence from the full cast of nearly 70.

Flouro lights above, only a piano, bass and drums, no mics, a no-set flat floor and a Green Room in the carpark, not to mention a Quidditch T Shirt in the crowd, the noise and pre-rehearsal hubbub hit a peak with a whole cast warm up to Calvin Harris’ ‘We’ll Be Coming Back’.  Then that mysterious thing happened with one bar … just one bar … of an electric guitar wail as an ensemble of superior focus transmogrified the place and time. Continue reading JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR. REHEARSAL VISIT AND INTERVIEW WITH MARY

THE WOLVES. AN INTERVIEW WITH MICHELLE NY – ONE OF NINE FEMALE LEADS

This image: Michelle Ny
Featured image: THE WOLVES coming soon to Belvoir

THE WOLVES had a sell out season last year (SAG Review) and is making a welcome return to a new venue.  A Pulitzer Prize short-listed play by Sarah DeLappe the production is again directed by Jessica Arthur.

Nine young women are members of a soccer team and over a season the audience will get to know each, their drive and weaknesses as they bond as a team.  Michelle Ny is reprising her role as #14 and we had the chance to speak with her before the show moves into production week.

SAG:                          Thank you so much for your time.  I gather it’s your lunch break so special thanks on that.  You must be pretty busy.

MICHELLE:           Yeah, we are in our third week now so we just have this last day of rehearsal and then we start our production week tomorrow. Continue reading THE WOLVES. AN INTERVIEW WITH MICHELLE NY – ONE OF NINE FEMALE LEADS

KING. AN INTERVIEW WITH SHAUN PARKER

Images Credit: Prudence Upton

For Mardi Gras 2019, Shaun Parker & Company will  present the world premiere of KING, an international music-dance collaboration between award-winning Australian director/choreographer Shaun Parker and renowned Bulgarian singer-songwriter/performance artist Ivo Dimchev.

This latest work from one of Australia’s most highly acclaimed contemporary dance companies builds on Shaun Parker & Company’s reputation for combining hard-hitting cutting-edge choreography with theatrical invention and striking soundscapes.  The Guide had the opportunity of asking some questions of Shaun Parker.

SAG:           The setting is two parts, cocktail bar and jungle.  How does the name of the show, KING, sit inside those two places?

SHAUN:    The set design is part cocktail bar, part jungle.  The men are dressed in dinner suits, complete with bow-ties pomade-slicked hair, and polished black shoes.  Only the cocktail singer is dressed in a deep wine velvet jacket, which sets him apart from the other men.  He has a seemingly otherworldly quality, possessing a gender neutral essence, and as he sings he becomes a puppet-master for the suited men beneath him.   Continue reading KING. AN INTERVIEW WITH SHAUN PARKER

SUNDAY SERIES: URSULA YOVICH IN INTERVIEW ABOUT THE MAN WITH THE IRON NECK

Production images: Brett Boardman

Playing as part of Sydney Festival 2019, THE MAN WITH THE IRON NECK, a powerful new work by leading physical theatre company Legs on the Wall and Ursula Yovich, is about a family embracing life after trauma.  Weaving together a story written by Yovich, with aerial performance and innovative video design, this bold and tender story addresses the issue of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths.

In one of our favourite interviews this year, The Guide had the chance to speak with the deeply humanist and completely captivating writer and performer, Ursula Yovich.

SAG:                      This is a very exciting project.  I gather it began with Josh Bond’s original concept and work some ten years ago. (Bond is co-director with Gavin Robins) Then you came on as an actor before you started to work on the text?

URSULA:              Yes.  I wasn’t available for the initial workshops but I had committed to joining as an actor and I think at that time they were having some discussions around the writing and that’s when they asked if I’d be involved as a writer. Continue reading SUNDAY SERIES: URSULA YOVICH IN INTERVIEW ABOUT THE MAN WITH THE IRON NECK

NED: A NEW AUSTRALIAN MUSICAL. AN INTERVIEW WITH NED (JOSH)

Plush Duck Productions‘ inaugural production is the NSW Premiere of NED: A NEW AUSTRALIAN MUSICAL. Based on the life and experiences of Australia’s most iconic bushranger, NED:  explores Ned Kelly’s turbulent life and the events which led to his demise.

We sent through some questions to Josh McElroy who is playing the legendary character.

SAG:      Thank you for taking our questions, especially so close to opening.  What attracted you to the role?

JOSH:    Every time a role for Ned Kelly has ever come up I have been chomping at the bit to get involved. He is an icon, a legend, a puppet, a politic. It’s odd to think that once upon a time he was just an average man though.

For me, it has been absolutely riveting getting into his head and trying to understand, not just what occurred on some of those dark days, (for even the facts of a lot of these incidents are contested) but why they occurred, what his thoughts must have been, what he feared, what he valued and what he championed. Continue reading NED: A NEW AUSTRALIAN MUSICAL. AN INTERVIEW WITH NED (JOSH)

SQUABBALOGIC IS BACK. AN INTERVIEW ABOUT ‘HERRINGBONE’ – KXT IN JAN.

HERRINGBONE marks the welcome return of Squabbalogic to Sydney stages.  Award-winning director, performer and Artistic Director of Squabbalogic, Jay James-Moody,  will be assuming the title role of Herringbone and the ten characters that live inside him at Kings Cross Theatre in January.  The Guide had great fun chatting with Jay about this unique and odd show.

SAG:                Well … no Christmas for you if you are getting all these characters together ?
JAY:                  Absolutely!

SAG:                So they range from an 8 year old ?
JAY:                  The youngest character is an 8 year old and the oldest … who is probably an octogenarian… is his grandmother. A range of ages and genders.

They all look like me though.                   Continue reading SQUABBALOGIC IS BACK. AN INTERVIEW ABOUT ‘HERRINGBONE’ – KXT IN JAN.