The Advisors is a new work about the universe of advice; the good, the bad, and the ignorable. This new work was created by The Last Great Hunt, winners of the Fringe World Martin Sims Award – the top honour for best local work – in both 2016 and 2015.
The show is directed and co-written by Gita Bezard, and performed and co-written by Jeffrey Jay Fowler, Arielle Gray, Chris Isaacs, Frieda Lee, and Mararo Wangai.
Tabetha caught up with Gita ahead of the season to talk a bit about the show and the company behind it.
Can you tell us a little bit about the premise of the play?
The piece is made up of advice. Just advice. Good, bad, absurd, we cover it all. I’d describe it as a non-traditional theatrical work with a healthy dose of dance and movement. It’s savage fun.
Where did the idea come from?
I wanted to talk about the advice women get on how to stay safe and how well meaning it is but how infuriating I find it. What to wear, where to walk, how to deal with a man approaching you on the street. It all adds up to feeling like we’re being controlled through this advice and if you don’t take it, then whatever happens to you is your fault.
You co-wrote the script with Jeffrey Jay Fowler, Arielle Gray, Chris Isaacs, Frieda Lee, and Mararo Wangai. Describe the process of this collaboration?
We would pick a topic and all write as much advice on that topic as we could think of, then we would read them aloud and discuss what worked, what was missing. Then every day or so we would each take a topic and edit it down to a manageable amount. This went on for about three weeks in total. In the end we had about one hundred pages and I edited it from there.
The Advisors is a story about getting advice. Some warranted, some not. What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
I did some training with some amazing theatre makers in Serbia after I left university. They used to tell us to ‘Break your personal cliché’. They would make us stand in a different place in the room every day, so we never fell into patterns or got comfortable in a routine. I think that was great advice for theatre and for life; shake things up and embrace being uncomfortable.
Speaking of good advice, what advice would you give to fledgling playwrights, wanting to break into the theatre scene?
Watch as much theatre as you can. Write your play and get it out there. The Blue Room Theatre is an amazing place to get your work up and lots of emerging artists get their start there, so go chat to them, they’ll let you in on all the secrets of theatre in Perth.
How do you see the current state of the Perth arts scene? Is it thriving, struggling?
A bit of both. We have one of the strongest independent theatre scenes in the country and so this is an exciting place to be a young artist. But we have seen the demise of our small to medium companies in the last few years and it means there is less and less opportunity to grow and climb the ladder.
Were roles written with specific actors in mind, or was an audition process undertaken?
There was no casting process. Everyone who had been invited to take part in the development was there as a performer as well as a writer. So they essentially wrote their own parts.
Did you have a firm direction for how you would move this piece from paper to the stage, or did much of the final performance that audiences will see evolve as the rehearsal process began?
I had an idea that I wanted lots of movement but apart from that it all happened once we were in rehearsals. This kind of work is hard to plan in advance, you need to just try things out with the actors and see what works.
The Last Great Hunt continues to win awards and dazzle audiences with its new and innovative productions. What is your proudest moment with the company?
We have so much to be proud of it’s hard to choose just one moment. But I’m very proud of when we got triennial funding. It doesn’t sound as sexy as awards or international tours but it was a huge moment for us and takes us to the next level as a company.
Finally, with all these great achievements under your belt, what’s next for Gita Bezard?
I have a short play coming up at WAAPA as part of the show Petits Fours. It’s with the second year acting students and it opens June 16th. Then I’m off to Jordan to kick off a two month holiday.