Perth’s theatre scene is full of enterprising people who want to work on creatively fulfilling projects that allow them to produce cutting-edge works, maintain artistic control, and provide Perth audiences with quality, unique productions. Cicely Binford takes up-close look at some of the ‘independents’ in Perth and their steadfast commitment for producing exciting theatrical works of superior quality for Perth audiences.
Next up in the Independent Spotlight is a bright young theatre collective formed by Scott Corbett and Zoe Hollyoak.
Scott and Zoe met in high school a mere four years ago and forged a creative bond that has resulted in a new theatre group called The Cutting Room Floor (TCRF). They’ve based their approach to theatre on Robert LePage’s belief that theatre should look at what’s left on the cutting room floor of the editing room to get its ideas. They want to examine what’s on the fringe, to tell stories that normally don’t get told in mass culture, to ask questions of each other about things that are usually left unsaid.
They’ve struck upon a way of doing theatre that is both practical and intimate; putting on shows in people’s homes. For their installment of what they call Home Open back in June, Scott and Zoe called out for submissions from playwrights for 10-minute pieces pertaining to the concept of Change. They received entries from all around Australia and culled them down to six new works to be presented, Round-Robin style, on the night. The audience will be split into three groups of roughly twenty (provided there’s a total attendance of sixty, which is their aim for each night) and will move from room to room to see each piece. Each actor does his or her piece three times during the evening.
Mathematically I still can’t work it out, but Zoe and Scott reassure me that the format works. Their inaugural Home Open took place in June, so this is a format that allows for quick turnaround and flexibility. Everyone involved has to think quickly on their feet: from the writers, who have to write to a deadline; through to the directors, who have to make it work in small spaces filled with real people’s stuff; to the actors, who have to learn the pieces and perform in a space where they’ll probably be able to see the faces of every single audience member. There’s no hiding behind the veil of blackness for the audience either, so intimacy is likely to be the operative word for the evening.
Presenting theatre in homes gained popularity in Victorian times and this is where we find the genesis of the drawing room play, most notable of which is probably Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. These works were initially written for that setting, but have since gone on to be performed outside the drawing room and in major theatres across the world. I asked Scott and Zoe if their ambition in working in this format was to find pieces or concepts that are strong or inspiring enough to become bigger projects down the line. They agreed that this would certainly be a happy outcome, but that their main focus was to simply provide a collaborative space that encourages their fellow writers and creatives to present new works.
They like to involve a little mystery in the proceedings, so if you want to book a spot on either July 19th or July 20th, you have to let TCRF know your mobile number so that they can text you the location the night before the event. Their first Home Open sold out, so they’re hoping for the same this time around. I suspect it will, as word has definitely gotten around about what TCRF are up to. At least on Facebook, that is. And if an event is not on Facebook, is it really happening?
Home Open is not their only project in the works. They also developed a full-length show called Poly which was met with great success and accolades at this year’s Fringe Worldl. TCRF were invited to bring the show, about a polyamorous relationship between three women, to the Melbourne Fringe Festival in October. So Scott and Zoe will be travelling over east, along with their three actors Amanda Watson, Ann-Marie Biagioni and Verity Softly. Not ones to rest on their laurels, TCRF have announced a pop-up show for August. This will be a piece, devised with Tyler Jones, purportedly called Fuck Decaf which explores addiction. They want to put it on in an actual cafe, so have put the call out to any cafes in the Northbridge/Leederville/Mount Lawley area who close down in the evenings and would let them turn their cafe into a pop-up theatre space.
These two have a lot of ideas, plenty of energy, and their whole creative lives ahead of them. They aren’t daunted by the task of making art without funding, or without much outside financial support at all; they will make the work no matter what. Fortunately they have a pool of like-minded individuals who also want to explore new concepts with them; so where there’s a will there’s a way. Their ultimate goal is to tour their work and sustain themselves financially. But for the moment, they’re focused on developing their own brand and growing their audience.
“We’re all in this together,” says Zoe.
Look for a “change” coming on July 19th and 20th at The Cutting Room Floor’s Home Open at 8pm; location to be advised once booked.
To book, simply email: [email protected] with your name and phone number
Find The Cutting Room Floor on: Website: http://thecuttingroomfloor.com.au/