On a scorching morning I sat down, with a very pleasant iced tea, at a Beaufort street café and chatted with Scott Corbett and Casey Elder from The Cutting Room Floor – a young Perth theatre company with a fresh twist – about their 2016 Fringe season.
So, tell us: who are you?
Scott Corbett: I’m the co-artistic director of The Cutting Room Floor with Zoe Hollyoak. We’ve been devising and writing new theatre since 2012. Our focus is on found spaces and making things in a little bit of a different way. We made a show here [where we’re speaking], for example, at the Mary Street Bakery.
Casey Elder: This is my first time in Perth! I’ve been directing in Canberra freelance and am also one of the Associate Directors of the Canberra Youth Theatre. I’m also a makeup artist!
What can we expect from The Cutting Room Floor this Fringe season?
SC: We have three shows being performed at Fringe – so we’re keeping very busy. Our first one is Casey’s show Talk Dirty to Me, our second is Inside We Hide– which is part of the Blue Room’s Summer Nights Program– and the third is The War on Food at Paper Mountain. Casey can tell you about Talk Dirty to Me.
CE: Yes! It’s very exciting and nerve-wracking, but I’m stoked. Talk Dirty to Me is about escapism, sex and loneliness, and how that drives people’s particular behaviours on the Internet. What is it about the Internet that gives people the space to act out and be someone different, even lie, doing things they wouldn’t do in real life?
Have you experienced some strange interactions with people on the Internet?
CE: We started a Tumblr of confessions and screen shots of behaviour on the Internet when the project begun. The concept came from my experiences as a Tinder user, and the weird sh*t that that I would get sent sometimes. I just don’t understand… you wouldn’t walk up to someone and say half the things people say online! It’s this weird place that exists where people think it’s okay to do whatever they want.
What are the other plays about? Are they as heavy as Talk Dirty to Me?
CE: Talk Dirty to Me is still quite funny! There are awkward sexting scenes that are very humorous, but heartbreaking too. It’s all so relatable because everyone uses the Internet!
SC: Yeah! Of the other two, one’s heavy and one is not. Inside We Hide is an onstage thriller that looks at vulnerability, and how hard it is to put into practice. It’s got a Saw-esque vibe, in that there’s three people locked in a room that have to complete a task for the voice of an 8-year-old girl controlling the room. So it’s a bit creepy! They have to do or give something to this voice –
CE: That’s a bit scarier than Saw…
SC: We had a fantastic girl do the voice! One guy has to give the voice his ‘heart’, one has to give her ‘pride’ and the other person has to give her ‘mask’ – all metaphors for vulnerability. It explores mental illness and the taboos around talking about it and seeking help. A really important aspect of seeking help is being vulnerable, and maybe we should see that as a good place to be – the characters struggle with that.
The War on Food is the funny one. Definitely the breath in the season. It’s a dark fruit and vege comedy exploring the monopoly that Coles and Woolworths have – which Zoe smashed together as ‘Coolworths’. It’s set in this sort of dystopian future where the price of fruit and vegetables has gone through the roof so no one can afford them besides the few people that are ‘in’ with the guys at Coolworths. Some of the staff lose their jobs and they band together as vigilantes fighting back and tackling this evil corporation to give fruit and vege to the people.
Our time together may have been brief, but there’s nothing like a sunny breakfast with two formidable theatre talents. It really is wonderful to see young theatre makers from across the country coming together to make plays relevant to all audiences.
Words by Caz Stafford