Appropriation by writer Paul Gilchrist, is debuting this week – presented by Fledgling Theatre. Paul took some time out to e-chat to me about the new show, easter and chocolate vs hot cross buns.
Joy – You seem have gotten this year off to a running start, first directing the new Daniela Giorgi play at the Old 505 (Seed Bomb) as a part of their Freshworks program. Is this going to be a busy year for you?
Paul – Yes, you ask for rain and you get the Flood.
I finished writing Appropriation earlier this year, but luckily it’s being produced by Fledgling Theatre, which means Chris Huntly-Turner and his amazing team are doing the hard work of taking it from page to stage. I’ve dropped in on a couple of rehearsals, and what they’re doing looks very exciting. Fledgling produces very energetic physical theatre and I think that’s a great combo with my more language-based approach.
And after this, Patina Productions presents Daniela Giorgi’s The Poor Kitchen at Limelight on Oxford. And after that, subtlenuance presents my Simple Souls, also at Limelight. So, yes, a busy first half of the year!
Joy – The lead character in Appropriation, Fortinbras, has a ‘politically gifted wife’ – was this wife inspired by anyone in particular?
Paul – Sonya Kerr plays his ‘politically gifted wife’ and she does it frighteningly well. The inspiration for the character was every woman (and man) who has understood the power of language. We tend to contrast words and actions, as though they were opposites, but they’re not. Words are a type of action, and sometimes the best type. Appropriation is a dark comedy built on Fortinbras’ inability to understand this. He thinks he can push and shove his way into power, but he can’t, not while this playwright is on watch.
Joy – Recently you were described online as ‘the Mozart of Sydney playwrights’ I hope this hasn’t gone to your head, but in what way do you think they meant like Mozart? Guessing – what would you say?
Paul – The similarity is obvious – Mozart wasn’t much good at writing plays either.
And, of course, I’ll die a pauper like he did.
But seriously, I suspect the rather outrageous comparison comes from speed of output. Mozart famously wrote a lot in a short time. I write more quickly than many playwrights do, but Mozart’s output leaves me in the dust!
Joy – On a non-theatre topic, this Easter – chocolate or hot cross buns? Or both?
Paul – Chocolate. The writer of the prequel to Appropriation would ask ‘To bun or not to bun’, but the answer is obvious.
Joy – If you had to name one Shakespeare play that had a profound influence on you, which one would you pick?
You’d think it might be Hamlet, since Appropriation is being marketed as “Hamlet 2. Only funny.”
But As You Like It is my fave. The poetry is superb, and the protagonist is a brilliant creation.
Rosalind encapsulates a beautifully exuberant wisdom, embracing the joys of life but also understanding their transience. Desperately in love herself she still manages to accept that “Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love.” This gentle irony, which is both life affirming and clear-eyed, is the inspiration for many of my own female protagonists.
A big thank-you to Paul for answering some important and some (not so important) questions – don’t miss this show:
Presented by Fledgling Theatre Company
Written by Paul Gilchrist
Directed by Chris Huntly-Turner
With William Bartolo, Damien Carr, Tara Clarke, Clay Creighton, Alex Daly, Marcela Franco, Sonya Kerr
Angus Mills, Nick O’Regan, Alex Rowe, Shannon Ryan and Asalemo Tofete
12 – 27 April