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  • Stephanie Fuller

How to make a show when the whole company is only awake for 2 hrs at a time

How to make a show when the whole company is only awake for 2 hrs at a time Below is our blog, written for La Boite Theatre, Brisbane reflecting on what it is like to make TOXIC CRAZY LUCKY STRONGER, our first project made purely over the internet... enjoy!


Hi, this is Maddy. To write about how we made HOME (now renamed TOXIC CRAZY LUCKY STRONGER ) is pretty difficult because somehow the process was both totally isolated and plugged in 24/7. And it was all new, we just hit the ground running after being separated in early March because of the Pandemic. With everyone working from their homes, via their laptops, and with each of us in different countries...chaotic! Things kind of happened in...shifts. Or time-zones? Or sleep patterns? I think each of us thought about the passage of time differently. So we’re going to write this blog post in the same kind of way. It seems like the best way to go about it so you get how everything sort of merges from four brains into one...thing. For example, this is Maddy writing now. LaBoite Theatre is in the city where I am living and where I was born so it made sense for me to kick everything off. I’m starting the ball rolling and everyone else will jump in at some point and add/subtract something.


The reason we settled into this ‘shift work’ working mode was, at least for me, because we were always meeting at either 6am and 9pm Brisbane time. An unavoidable truth of working between three time-zones is that usually everyone is riding extremely different rides ~energetically~ . Whenever you find time to meet on Zoom, one of us has woken up pre-dawn, maybe someone’s at the end of a day of work, the pandemic was doing wildly different things for all of us and on top of all that Steph was pregnant...eventually we had to accept that the disharmony was never going to go away.


Hiya, it’s Steph writing now. Forgive me if I don’t make much sense, I had a baby three weeks ago! I wanna pick up on that sense of disharmony that Maddy was talking about. Most of our rehearsals don’t begin in a very ‘theatre’ way, we don’t do warm ups, we don’t play games, we sometimes do check-ins. We start our rehearsals with a gossip, a catch up and big old bitch about the latest things that have pissed us off (this is almost always capitalism and if it’s not we can find a link back to it). We crave this time to be together ‘properly’ (but Zoom will have to do) and although our desire to hang out as friends creates a moment of blissful unity it also generates an anxious rush to do something creatively interesting in the short amount of time we have left. As a result, a little friction is left over as a residue; a knackered request to finish rehearsal, a rushed goodbye, a disappointing ‘end meeting for all’. It was a friction that became taboo for a while, we didn’t speak about it. But ignoring it didn’t make it go away.


I can’t remember which of us came up with the idea of having an argument in the show (MADDY HERE: It was you, Steph) but it was exactly what was needed. It took the underlying friction and animated it.


The thing is, you can’t make utopia without a few arguments along the way. You can’t make a show without putting the process into the show. And you can’t make an omelette without cheese and mushrooms.


This is Ally now, currently writing while on bedrest after a small medical procedure (I’m okay!) But I say this because over this wild rehearsal process, life happened in big, small, consequential and inconsequential ways that we could’ve never imagined a year ago. We’re different people than we were a year ago when we last saw each other IRL in London. Our circumstances are vastly different and how we make work together is vastly different.


But there is one core thing that hasn’t changed, our love for each other and our love for this company. Which is a key component to how we navigated this unusual process of making a brand new show across three very different time zones and counties. We are patient with each other. We communicate what’s happening in our lives, our emotional states, our happiness and our anxieties, our rants about the latest celeb and personal goss. And all those things came into play along the way and all those big, small, consequential and inconsequential moments played out in HOME.


This piece is a love letter to each other and to you, the audience. And it is also a critical look at a world that we know could be better than it is. We want to fix this, we want to make things better for us, for you, for the next generation. In these scary and unpredictable times, doesn’t a utopia sound nice? I imagine it like a never ending beach vacation, surrounded by the people that I love and without all the things in the world that make me want to burn it down and start over again. We love a contradiction and this process was finding that within who we are now, who we want to be and the making of this piece.


ELANA IS HERE!!! Just to close everything out. I think i’m going to talk about the future. Because what comes after yesterday? Now. Tomorrow. The Future. And in the time since we did the residency at La Boite, a lot has changed for us. We learned to work across the internet, and took the first steps into developing a whole new hybrid practice, all live, all online, all together, all apart. I imagine this work will carry on forever. Also, Steph had her baby (Oshy!), that’s the big one. And he is the future!! He is hope. And I suppose the show was always about hope; the hope that it’s all worth it, all the difficulty and boredom and annoyance and frustration and loneliness. And it is worth it, because I make work with my best friends even when one is on bedrest and one is breastfeeding and one is getting up at 5.30am just to be there. I know this all sounds very sappy and emotional but it’s where I’m at right now.


So: the future. In the future, all the now redundant office buildings in the middle of the glossy cities of the colonial powerhouses we live in will be turned into social housing, and rewilded, so the middle of our cities are forests where people can afford to live. In the future, borders will only exist as a way to give people a sense of community and cultural identity, and not as a way of creating a hierarchy or keeping other people out. And in the future we will all be in one room together for an extended period of time, and run out of things to say to each other, and just sit in content silence. Ok, end of blog.





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