A Melbourne-based company comprised of young, tenacious theatre-makers, Freshly Ground Theatre hits the stage this December with it’s latest premiere season; Affair Play. Running from the 9th to the 19th at the Mechanics Institute in Brunswick, audiences can expect a fast-paced, sharp, contemporary nod to the much- loved bedroom farce.
Ahead of the opening, We Know Melbourne had the opportunity to interview director Sam Floyd.
Where did you draw your inspiration from for the subject matter in Affair Play?
I’m turned on by a premise that brims with immediate conflict. That throws up a potent philosophical debate, boiled down into a cracking yarn. My imagination runs away with punchlines. The more I got to know the characters, the more I cared about them, the more the debate gained depth. For me the inspiration is the idea itself, and yields the more you unpack it.
One writes from experience, I believe it’s impossible not to. But I don’t write what I’d consider autobiographically. I take an observation and apply exorbitant imagination. Then craft is in exploring it every which way, then scrupulously shaping, distilling, and continuing to antagonise it.
It’s quite an intimate topic – what’s the dynamic like between the four of you, have there been any awkward moments in rehearsal?
We’re a tight unit. There’s an electric gelling of senses of humour. Freshly Ground Theatre co-producer Remy Coll and I have been working and drinking together since 2008. Director Max Barker and actress Anthea Greco have worked with us, now, on several productions and are key company fixtures. We’re thrilled to have found Lucy Norton, who completes our cast, through exhaustive auditions.
There’s been some getting to know each other, for those who weren’t already well acquainted. Awkward… but more fun than awkward, I think!
The themes have sparked the lively debates you’d expect, the ones we hope to hear over beers in the foyer afterwards. I take this as a sign that we are exploring salacious themes, and the team has their hearts and heads invested.
Have you got a favourite scene you can share with us (without giving the game away)?
The play is one long scene. No time lapse, no blackout, all confined to a small apartment. Nowhere to run or hide.
You discover immediately that one affair is already on the boil. Another is on the brew. Not a “spoiler” really, this is what you’re signing up for.
The writer, listener and armchair behavioural analyst in me is endlessly fascinated by the link between what people want, and what they do; the gap between what they say, and what they mean. So, I most love the conversations that are pregnant with subtext, that fill us with uneasiness. They work to set up the catharsis of the climactic scenes, when the disastrous truth starts spilling out.
If you could explain Affair Play in 5 words only ….?
Disastrously perfect mess of impulses.
We’ve been told you are a veteran juggler, any tips for the first timers out there?
Yes. Order your priorities strangely, with the learning of impractical skills close to, preferably at, the top. Start early in life and focus on this instead of distractions like academic achievement or losing your virginity. And catch them. Catch the balls.
What’s next on the horizon for you, and Freshly Ground Theatre?
The Fumbling Bumblers, a brand new duo circus act comprised of myself and fellow jester Tom Davis (Long Answers to Simple Questions), are primed to make our mainstream debut at the first event clever enough to hire us.
I plan to unleash my busking act, The Uku-Lady, on Christmas shoppers. (The Uku-Lady nails vocally ambitious retro pop songs. “She” stops you with her stunning visage, then rivets you with charisma and a powerful, distinctive voice.) This is a youtube sensation waiting to happen. Weddings, funerals, children’s parties… find it on facebook.
I have screenwriting projects on the slate (I am studying this at RMIT). A feature, and a narrative comedy series.
I want Freshly Ground Theatre’s next project to be the fruits of collaboration from its inception. Achieve the fun of improvising in the rehearsal room from the get go, rather than slog away alone in a café (which I do enjoy, but within reason).
When: 9 – 19 December, 2015
Where: The Brunswick Mechanics Institute: 270 Sydney Rd, Brunswick