As the Brisbane arts scene expands, the appreciation for theatre and performance grows.
Tremayne Gordon and Kristen Maloney are just two of the hundreds of people involved with Anywhere Festival, and they've put together a double bill of shows that challenge and explore ideas about contemporary life. 'The Picnic' and 'Saying Goodbye To Ally' are both widely different works of theatre, but also have their similarities.
“'The Picnic' explores patience as a virtue by focusing on four young adults and their experiences with anxiety and enthusiasm,” Tremayne says. “I really wanted to explore the lives of four young adults in a comical way.”
In order to really commit to the production, Tremayne conducted an online survey where anonymous people could share experiences and contribute to the overall presentation of the performance. "Knowing that there are members of the public that have had similar experiences inspired me to write."
Rehearsals for 'The Picnic' have been in full swing since March, and Tremayne says he's learned a lot along the way, including making sure the message in his work is properly communicated. “One of my biggest challenges was in preventing the comedy from overpowering the story... 'The Picnic' is comical but it's definitely grounded in heartfelt moments and raw truth."
In terms of what Tremayne hopes audiences learn from his show, it's pretty simple. “I think it's really easy to forget the interesting and intricate moments in everyday life, and I hope my work shows these moments as value... I strongly believe there's a lot of untapped material in exploring the beautiful in the ordinary and hope audience members leave the performance feeling like they're not alone.”
Kristen Maloney's performance, 'Saying Goodbye To Ally', had been brewing in her brain for a while. It asks what women give up for their relationships, whether it be their job, their career, their friends. But Kristen wants to make sure of one thing. “We were very careful that the performance isn't 'man bashing' or saying 'all men are evil'... It's to provide a strong female voice on stage, something which is very much lacking in Brisbane's theatre scene.”
The performance is a modern look at the story of mythical Greek queen Alcestis, who according to playwright Euripides, gave up her life so her husband could live longer. So how do the two performances tie in, if at all?
“They are both set at parties with possibly too much alcohol and definitely too much cake,” Kristen says. “But more than that, we wanted to created playful, participatory performances that added a strong voice to the cultural conversation about contemporary life.”
In 'The Picnic' and 'Saying Goodbye To Ally', expect deeply relevant and personal themes perfectly interwoven with comedy and lightheartedness, featuring a touch of audience participation to make things even more interesting.
'Backyard Double Bill' plays Toowong Bowls Club 12 May as part of Anywhere Festival which runs 5-21 May.