KING OF PIGS: AN INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR, BLAZEY BEST

This photo: Blazey Best, Director of KING OF PIGS Featured image: KING OF PIGS in rehearsal

It doesn’t take a psychology degree, to work out why I was so nervous when speaking to Blazey Best about her directing of KING OF PIGS, a new Australian play soon to open at the Old Fitz Theatre.  This is a woman of infinite talent whose performance work I have admired over many years.  This production will see Blazey with her directing hat on and I began our conversation by fangirling her.

She was so lovely.  “Sorry you’re nervous.  Don’t be nervous” she responded with a wonderful laugh … “I’m very kind.  How’s the weather where you are?”  And I immediately felt better! 

KING OF PIGS is written by  Steve Rodgers

 “Do you know how many times I’ve told this story? Cops, counsellors, the family court... I mean, fuck.”

One Woman. Four Men. She could be with any one of them.
At 22, on a date on the Gold Coast.
At 31, moving into an apartment in Albert Park.
Or at 40, happily married with a nine-year-old son living in Campsie.

Four very different worlds share an identical space; our homes.  King of Pigs throws us into a blistering series of reality pockets. Each glimpse we get provides a momentary view of a vast panoramic lie. It’s a lie every man tells himself privately but every woman lives with publicly.

SAG:   Thanks so for taking time out of rehearsal to talk with our readers.  You must be knee-deep in it.  It was announced last year but did you get much time off after Gypsy?

BLAZEY:  No, they kind of dovetailed in.  So last week of Gypsy I started rehearsal for this but I have had lots of time to think about it.

SAG:  It’s written by Steve Rogers who is doing a wonderful job in another show at the moment.  When he speaks of the play he speaks as a parent and talks about the world of objectification that his daughter is growing up in.  I expect that’s a big element within the story?

BLAZEY:      Oh I think so, he’s a parent of both daughter and son, I have two sons.  You look around and you say ‘How can I change this?’ ‘How can we, as a society, make a difference with the next group of young men?’

So I definitely think that was for him and I can imagine with a daughter you would see the world quite starkly. With the objectification of female bodies and the way we normalise that.

SAG:     Absolutely.  And in this play there are four different men and four different places and there’s one woman.  And you don’t know who she’s attached to.  Is that the concept?

BLAZEY:  That is the concept.  The one woman is played by the one actress, Ella Scott-Lynch​ and it’s obviously very deliberate that she is not readily identifiable at the start.

SAG:    So what do we see?  Is it episodic?

BLAZEY:      Ahh. It’s mildly episodic.  It’s a sort of interwoven episodic structure, I would call it a kind of collage nearly.  Each episode informs the next and it comes together to create a kind of tapestry … a whole picture.

SAG:  And is the woman an Everywoman or is she a distinct character in each of the four scenarios?

BLAZEY:      Well that one you are going to have to see for yourself. 

We’ve made some decisions that came from Stevie’s text.  They are written differently and they speak in slightly different voices in the text but you have the one actress playing them so … yes it’s possibly both.

SAG:      I will look forward to seeing how that feels when I see it.   Do you think that the audience is going to have a gendered response to the play?  Will some men see something different to some women?

BLAZEY:   Good question yeah. …. Yes probably …. Yes I hope so.  What I’m trying to do ….  I hope that some people get a surprise from their reaction because I don’t think we don’t realise how entrenched some of the misogyny is in our society and how entrenched our reactions are.  How gendered they are even for women. 

So I would like to think that even a liberal minded woman might be surprised by how she reacts.  That’s what I would hope.

SAG:        So … it’s obviously written by a man, directed by a woman but the work doesn’t sound manhating from your perspective.

BLAZEY:         It isn’t.  I think Stevie was full of despair and wanted to do something.  But I think he wanted to find hope.  And what he’s written is a story of four different men and their relationships with the woman. 

They are not archetypes, they’re not evil men and I think that is the danger when we talk about the name and shame on the internet and we call people out and we label certain people as really bad. Actions may be heinous but while we keep seeing people as ‘the other’ … that they are bad people and all the rest of us are good people, it doesn’t seem particularly helpful. 

So what we’ve tried to do is present four really real relationships. 

SAG:      Given all that I imagine there’s been some tough times in rehearsal?

BLAZEY:      Yeah, it’s been pretty gruesome at times.  But look, it’s a really funny play too, there’s lots of humour.  We are finding the laughs but it’s really quite gross sometimes and it’s desperately sad sometimes.  But that’s kinda fun.  It’s why we do it, that’s why we make art, to go places that aren’t comfortable.

SAG:     And that’s a small stage with nowhere to hide.

BLAZEY:      That’s right and we have made it even smaller.  The playing space is so focussed.  You can’t get away with anything.  I just really wanted to focus the energy, it’ll be extraordinary in that space.

SAG:  I can’t thank you enough for chatting with me and with our readers, and for putting me at ease after my nervous start.   It sounds like a show not to be missed.

BLAZEY:  It’s a new Australian work, brilliantly written, tight you know.  It’s a challenge, it’s probably not a first date play, unless you are vetting!  But come, it will throw some ideas around.

KING OF PIGS written by Steve Rogers and directed by Blazey Best opens at the Old Fitz Theatre [Facebook] on August 1.

Produced by Red Line Productions
Set and Costume Design by Isabel Hudson
Lighting Design by Verity Hampson
Sound Design by Tegan Nicholls
Composition by iOTA

CAST:
Ella Scott-Lynch
Mick Bani
Christian Byers
Ashley Hawkes
Kire Tosevski
with Thomas Blake and Wylie Best

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