Rollercoaster Theatre Company return with their latest politically charged offering, fish. Billed as a fantastical soap opera about fear, fish delves into the politically charged landscape that is built on the recent roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Says director Maude Davey:
“ fish is about how ordinary people negotiate fear and power in these unsettled times.
A couple go out each evening onto a lake with their fishing lines, but they take a device to watch TV with them. A Lighthouse Keeper, charged with keeping people safe, is overwhelmed by what he sees out there in the world. One of our characters, Mr Grump is a little bit similar to a real life political figure – he’s all bluff and bluster in public but in private he is frightened too.
We’re all frightened. It’s as if all the information that we have at our fingertips makes us more frightened as we learn how many things we should be frightened of. ”
Davey trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and has worked as an actor, director and writer for more than twenty-five years, with her primary focus being the creation of new work .Davey admits that she has always sought work that is inclusive and relevant.
“I’ve always made work, for myself, with other people and in communities. In the nineties I worked with Back to Back Theatre Company in Geelong, which was my first experience of working with actors who have different abilities. Then when I was working in Adelaide for a few years I worked with a company called No Strings Attached.
Making work is what I love best, starting with nothing and inventing stuff on the floor. The Rollercoaster actors are very experienced devisors, with a fantastic range of skills. So, it’s been a delightful experience for me.”
Davey is a Green Room Nominee with a career that has been varied and challenging. I was interested to learn what themes she has found herself drawn toward and how these have gratified her creatively.
“It’s hard to see from the inside. I’m not really aware that I’m working with continuing themes, but sometimes I will look back over the last few years and realize that all my work has been revolving around a particular notion. In the nineties I kept chewing at the notion of the mind and body being separable. Lately I’ve been looking at the ways in which we imagine the future. So that definitely connects with what we’re working on with fish.”
Davey’s relationship with Rollercoaster was due to a fortuitous meet with the General Manager, Anna Kennedy, a few years ago. The duo were working on a big devised show about living with HIV when Davey was approached by Kennedy about working with Rollercoaster in the same way. Davey then meet the company.
“Interestingly, a few days before I met the company I went to see Yumi Umiumare’s White Day Dream, a show she made with the Weave Ensemble. I was very impressed by two dancers in that work, and there they were in Rollercoaster! Ryan and Dave are highly skilled dancers and dance makers, and in this show they are both writing as well.”
Davey describes Rollercoaster as a company with a determination to showcase talented performers who have a significant contribution to make. “The company is all about a respectful, creative space that allows the unexpected,” she says.
fish is written by the Rollercoaster ensemble – an independent, not-for-profit ensemble of trained actors with disabilities – and is an all singing, all dancing soap opera of the psyche which analyses the anxieties that pervade contemporary life… no matter who you are, or how you see yourself.
Davey says about fish: ” Great songs, funny and quirky stories adding up to a unique perspective on how we live our lives in this weird post-post-modern world. It will be unlike anything you’ve seen before, thoroughly enjoyable as well as deep! What more could you want?”
August 31 – September 2