Musical Chameleon, Brad McCaw, wears many hats – singer, winning cabaret artist, composer, playwright, director, and producer. He is one talented Queenslander.
As part of McCaw’s Artist-In-Residency at the Gold Coast Arts Centre, his production company – An Old Fashioned Production Company – will be presenting a free play reading of his new work, The Game tomorrow – February 6.
As the economic landscape of the artist’s journey is a rocky and unpredictable one, it seems the ones who survive are not only talented, but entrepreneurial in creating their own works and jobs. McCaw is one of those lucky people – actually, luck has nothing to do with it. He is uber-talented, clever, passionate, hard-working, and motivated.
Aussie Theatre’s Queensland reporter, Bobbi-Lea caught up with Brad to chat about the development process of The Game, and the task of mounting an independent production.
Currently in development, The Game follows two bored siblings who are sucked into a fantasy world while playing a video game. McCaw likens the 2-act family friendly play to, “Monty Python meets Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings”.
“I wanted to write something for children and something about technology. Brisbane Boys Grammar commissioned what was then called Farnawee, as a play for 8-13 year olds, and had to be 50 minutes”, he said.
His initial ideas were developed and finally workshopped in 2014. In fact, over its lifetime, the play has undergone between twenty and thirty drafts.
According to McCaw, the playwriting process is about trusting your imagination enough to give over to the complexities of your story.
“See it like a puzzle that needs to be fixed, with each workshop and reading, the pieces become clearer”, he said.
McCaw mentions that timing plays an important part in the process. It’s not just simply ‘being in the right place at the right time’. McCaw says it’s more than that;
“Timing has a lot to do with it, in every aspect of the process. Do I work on another draft, or leave it for a while? At the end of the day I ask, is this the best that I’ve got for today? The timing of when to bring people in for a read, and when to find a director, or another company to produce with.”
It is interesting to note that although McCaw is well-known as a performer and cabaret artist, he chose not to perform in his own production, but instead concentrated on writing and facilitating the workshops.
“I couldn’t be as present in the process doing so many jobs. I realised in a workshop, that the people you are surrounded with are your teaching room, if you just allow and trust in the skills and the instincts of the actors.”
In talking with McCaw about his work ethic, it was obvious he has framed his practice with some buzz-words to live by , and “Trust” is one which stood out. Trust in the process, your actors, and yourself.
“Take little steps, grow something, and surround yourself with talented people you trust. And not rush, but trust yourself. Don’t be afraid to take some risks. I don’t remember once ever taking a risk and feeling that it was a waste of time.”
Ever optimistic, McCaw then mentioned a couple of famous antidotes of once every-day artists taking a risk which lead to success and fortune. One was John Farnham’s manager, who mortgaged his house for the Whispering Jack album.
The grounded McCaw quickly quipped, “Be realistic, but courageous”.
The Game is an example of such a courageous work, with sci-fi elements requiring a significant amount of backing to mount a large production.
Following his own philosophy of taking little steps in order to grow something big, The Game and will be presented as a live reading at The Arts Centre Gold Coast, by actors Steven Tandy, Elise Greig, David Laverty, Nicola Stewart, Daniel Simpson and Erika Naddei.
For more information about Brad McCaw, visit An Old Fashioned Production Company’s website.