Ruby Gaytime is the brainchild of long-time comedic collaborators Sarah Reuben and George Gayler. They are bringing their collective genius to The Butterfly Club in a new show called Short Change – the story of a single dollar coin passing from hand to hand as it traverses the globe.

For Rueben, money has always intrigued; more so, peoples relationship to money. “How we feel it defines us, drives us, enables us or inhibits us,” she elaborates. “It’s stooped heavily in family tradition, social circles and future ambition. Love it or hate it, everyone has some relationship to money, it’s universal yet so personal.”

In some ways a quirky topic to be explored but, on deeper analysis, quite a poignant choice: money is, after all, one of the few thing that touches so many (and I do mean literally) on a daily basis. If a single dollar could be traced around the world – what a story it would tell!

“Short Change explores the world of money, and the world without it, told through the life of a one dollar coin,” says Rueben. “We look at our relationship to money, and how having it, or not having it, defines us. It is the story of a single coin, but it’s also the story of the almighty dollar. Why we want it, how it drives us, what it makes us become.”

Rueben and Gayler met in Perth performing with the improvised comedy company The Big HOO-HAA! Their background is grounded in character-based comedy. Gayler says they became friends straight away “but it was only once I moved to Melbourne, a couple of years after Sarah did, that we discovered a like-mindedness which led us to collaborate.” The idea for their first show, BEST, began as a conversation on a road trip to Adelaide Fringe.

“Our initial plan was to create a show for the two of us; the theatre company aspect developed as a necessary part of that plan,” says Gayler. “But even before our first season of BEST was over, we were planning our next show and that was when we knew Ruby Gaytime was an ongoing project in itself.”

“One of the hardest things about being a two person theatre company is balancing the producing side with the creative side. Both are full time jobs – which have to be done after our day jobs, of course. But the satisfaction and the joy of getting total creative freedom with what we do and who we collaborate with are always worth it. And getting to share all the highs and lows with one of my best friends is pretty awesome.”

In Short Change Rueben and Gayler get to play a host of characters and all of them sparked from their imaginations. But there are exceptions, says Rueben. “Sometimes the roots of these characters are sprouted from some real event or aspect of a person in our lives that has captured our attention. For example, one of the characters I play is loosely based on my Grandma. While the details of this character’s story or the dialogue she speaks are not accurate, her essence is very similar.”

For Rueben, being able to connect with an audience through these characters and this story is so fulfilling. “I get to go on that journey with an audience every night, from laugher to poignancy and everything in between. This show is also just such a fun piece to perform; magic and dance and card games and so many ridiculous surprises along the way. And I get to share the stage every night with one of the most generous, hard working and talented performers I know!”

Rueben and Gayler acknowledge they are still a young company so are focused on continuing to establish Ruby Gaytime as a recognized name. Other aims include creating more original works that challenge them as writers and performers although established texts are not out of the question.

“We are predominantly interested in experimenting with writing/devising original works – we would never rule out producing classic or contemporary texts in the future but for now our focus is definitely on creating our own works,” say Gayler. “The kind of theatre we have been creating thus far has been accessible theatre with a strong comedic bent. Sarah and I are from similar backgrounds – classically trained actors with a strong connection to the comedy scene – so even though the themes we deal with can be less than hilarious, if there’s an opportunity to be playful or silly, we usually take it!”

Short Change
June 10 – 14