Oleg Pupovac chats to thebuzzfromsydney about his show Me and My Mother, Singing that will be a part of the Unwrapped Season at the Sydney Opera House next month.

Joy- I had the pleasure of seeing Me and My Mother, Singing so know what a special piece it is, are you excited to have it appear at the Opera House? Is this your first time performing there?

Oleg - I am very excited to perform at the Opera House, this will be my first time performing there. The Opera House only lives in postcards and imaginations for people who are not from Australia, so to be performing at a place that still seems so far and magical is very special and surreal. Now I will be able to point to a postcard and say ‘I performed there!’

Joy – This is a piece that speaks to so many people, even if they are not from somewhere else, as many people feel different for a host of reasons. Do you still feel a sense of ‘otherness’ within the community?

Oleg - Yes, I think I do. Australia is a strange little island isn’t it? Like a young teenager who is still trying to work herself out but is also the CEO of a major company (if that’s not an 80s comedy then I don’t know what is). I’ve felt like a foreigner my whole life (which is fine) and still do after 14 years here. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just a thing. I try and not let it become my entire personality, as much as that is often projected onto me. At least I am able to make borderline inappropriate jokes because of my ethnic ambiguity. And no one can take that away from me.

Joy  – I saw the show at the Blood Moon Theatre in 2018 and was impressed by its hypnotic artistry, will this new production differ at all from its previous runs?

 Oleg - I am trying to say this in the most interesting way but – no, it’s almost exactly the same! The thing is, when we staged it at Griffin Theatre, we had to rework all the blocking from scratch, and will have to do the same here. Because of its simplicity and direct relationship to the audience, the piece lives differently in every venue. We will tailor it to suit this venue, and hopefully this audience.

 Joy – It’s 3:40am and you can’t sleep – what do you do?

Oleg - Well, it involves my right hand and a good imagination. But other than that, put a podcast on and pretend that I am not afraid of the dark.

 Joy – Oh god – 70s porn music just popped into my head!

What is next for young Two Peas? And will the other Pea Tara be back in town for this?

Oleg – Young Tara will be in a show of her own in London while this is going on. This will be the first time a Pea won’t attend a Pea show. Tara is such an integral part of me and this show, I would never be here if it wasn’t for her, and that’s no exaggeration. I wish it were different, but I know she is very proud of the show and its evolution.

A big thank-you to Oleg, and chookas for the show opening in March! For more information on the show see: https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/events/whats-on/unwrapped/2020/me-and-my-mother-singing.html

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ArtsLab is Shopfront’s annual emerging artist program which provides 6-month residency space, an industry mentor and season to showcase new works. In 2019 we supported 6 emerging artists to create 5 new works. The season includes 3 theatre works, an installation and a video artwork.