Fri 14 Sep 2012
Anastassia Muhd Din Fikri
Carriageworks and Milk Crate Theatre present Fearless, the company’s most ambitious production to date. It runs from 13 – 22 September and is the first Milk Crate Theatre production to be presented at Carriageworks.
Milk Crate Theatre works with an Ensemble of performers who have experienced homelessness and/or social marginalisation. The company boasts a unique, respected and much-needed community of creative individuals and passionate storytellers.
Unique and inspiring, Milk Crate Theatre productions invite Sydney-siders to see the world through different eyes. A provocative play with music, this production explores a pivotal point in the lives of ten characters.
We had the opportunity of having a quick chat with Milk Crate Theatre Director, Mirra Todd, about the production.
Dumbo Feather (DF): Why the title Fearless?
Mirra Todd (MT): The title (Fearless) has several levels of relevance for me as a playwright, and for us as an organisation. It’s crucial to understand that when individuals initially link in with Milk Crate Theatre their experience has often been, due to ongoing mental, financial, social, familial or personal issues, one of isolation. So a process that demands collaboration is compelling and threatening in equal measure.
The initial step into one of our workshops is unto itself an absolute act of bravery, let alone venturing into a creative development and professional production with leading arts practitioners. I also feel that loneliness, the theme of Fearless, is our last societal taboo. We now easily talk about issues of bullying, homophobia, racism, sexual and emotional abuse, because we can explain we were not the instigators of such atrocities, but with loneliness, it feels as if it must be me that is deficient; or in some way emotionally corrupt, and so we disguise or hide it. To bring the theme of loneliness into the public arena for social enquiry is also a fearless act.
Milk Crate Theatre itself is fearless in its commitment to create theatre that is transformative for that that make it and those that engage in it.
DF: How did the idea come about?
MT: Our aim with Fearless is primarily one of advocacy, not only around the issues of the homeless and socially marginalized, but also around exploring our humanity. It strikes me as a parent that legally I have no rights over my children, only responsibilities, and that if I fail that responsibilities the courts can take my children away. It seems that same litmus test could be applied in regards to our responsibilities to our families, our friends, our neighbours and our community. This play is an exploration of those where we, as a society, have failed our responsibility to keep them safe, protected and valued without judgment. Fearless is therefore a play about us all.
DF: What was the most challenging thing about working on the production?
MT: The most challenging aspect of working on Fearless has been having my own sense and sensibilities challenged. I always say, “To be an artist all you need is a unique way of looking at the world (and then a way to distil that to an audience).” Our Ensemble certainly have a unique set of life experiences, and often I have myself reflecting on their innate tenacity, rigour, humour and compassion it has made me challenge my own commitment to surrendering wholly into those particular wells of vulnerability and humanity.
DF: What makes Fearless unique?
MT: Fearless explores the humanity of the every man, of the person you walk past every day and notice, maybe even smile to, but never more than that. It probes inside our internal selves with humour, wit and piercing clarity- no one is what they seem on the surface is this play, just as in life. And please, don’t feel weighed down by the themes we are exploring, this play is energizing, provocative and yes, very, very funny.
DF: What do you want the audience to take away from the experience?
MT: I see myself fundamentally as a theatrical storyteller, one who is driven to generate stories that sometimes whisper sometimes scream secrets in the dark to the audience in the hope to provoke and/or challenge thought and debate post show. It’s my job to open a crack in their emotional sensibility to allow them to identify with how these themes truly resonate in their own lives, family or community.
For more information, head to the Carriageworks website.