An Interview with the sensual minds behind Subiaco Theatre Festival's "Tissue"
Ahead of their season at Subiaco Theatre Festival we talked to Perth producers and playwrights Timothy Green and Samantha Nerida about the origins of their revolutionarily candid show, Tissue.
Where did Tissue's journey begin?
Samantha Nerida: In my second year at WAAPA! We had a 7 minute solo to make, and I wrote a slam poem in defence and critique of porn, set in a courtroom and performed in a Southern accent. Not my greatest work, but then I graduated and asked Tim to come on board as a collaborator to redevelop it for a blue room season.
Timothy Green: It seemed like such a rich, exciting and fun topic to explore — how could I say no to that?
How is the collaborative process of making a show as a duo of creators different to directing alone?
Timothy: Working with a friend as close as Sam, there’s just nothing else like it. It’s brilliant. One of the best things about co-directing for me is that it allows us to workshop and bounce ideas off each other, which helps me to keep the project out in the real world and not stuck inside my head!
Samantha: I love it! It makes for a really fun and open room, and it also means one of us can have a production meeting with a designer while the other workshops a scene, which is a godsend when you’re flat strapped for time. There’s a lot of trust between Tim and I, so there’s no need to be constantly checking on what the other has done when we’re away. It also helps to give perspective and keep me honest when I’m getting carried away, so thanks, Tim.
What do you feel the stage is able to offer when exploring Tissue's subject matter that a different medium isn't?
Samantha: There’s a lot to be said for the immediacy and the intimacy of live theatre. When you’re separated from this sort of content by a screen you can view it with a lot more detachment - I think placing this action directly in front of an audience you force them to be complicit and pay attention in a way they mightn’t otherwise. There’s nothing like a horribly awkward sex scene to get patrons squirming in their seats!
Timothy: There is something really magical about the particular way an audience can suspend their disbelief with live theatre compared to cinema or TV. The humanity and vulnerability of the actors anchors the story in the real, making things all that more intimate, and as Sam said, a little squirm-worthy at times.
How did you go about casting, especially for this second run after you'd already seen the show fully formed?
Timothy: We put a call out through Static Drive’s social media channels, and generally tried to get the word out around town as much as possible. It was just your standard audition process, really.
Samantha: It was such an exciting opportunity to fill these roles more deliberately than last time because now we know so much more about the show.
Does this rebirth of the show differ much from its first run and if so, how?
Samantha: In some ways, yes. There are two new faces, a new sound design, it’s not in traverse anymore because of the festival set up, and there’s a bit of new writing. But in all the ways that matter, no. This is still a story of two people crippled by their inability, to be honest with each other, and how that tears them apart.
Timothy: I would love to hear what people who saw the 2016 production have to say about this run. It’s so exciting to be able to freshen it up and give this work a new life.
What can audiences hope to take away from Tissue?
Samatha: I would love it if seeing the show sparked even one honest conversation that may not have happened otherwise.
Timothy: We talk a lot about hoping to start conversations when we talk about this show, but it’s really true.
What advice do you have for someone growing up in a sex-soaked world?
Timothy: Information is your friend. There is always more than meets the eye with any kind of media, porn or otherwise.
Samantha: Be proud, not ashamed. Ask questions, demand honest answers. Don’t trust everything you see on the news. Porn isn’t a replacement for sexual education, but it can be heaps of fun. Love yourself.
What are you most excited for this Subiaco Theatre season?
Samantha: I’m very excited to finally catch a run of The Man and The Moon from Variegated Productions, I’ve missed it every other time so far!
Timothy: Bus Boy! I was working during it’s Fringe run, and now we are double-billed together, which means it works perfectly to see Bus Boy before we’re on at 9pm.