On Wednesday night, Kings Cross Theatre (KXT) will host the official opening night of Trevor, written by Orange is the New Black and GLOW writer, Nick Jones.
Presented by the award-winning Outhouse Theatre Company (also behind the critically-acclaimed production of Gloria currently playing at the Seymour Centre), Trevor tells the story of a Hollywood has-been, who’s seeking another shot at the big time. Of course, it’s tough to make a comeback in Tinseltown, even more so when you’re a 200-pound chimpanzee!
Starring Jamie Oxenbould as the title character and Di Adams as Sandra, his owner, Trevor is inspired by true events and described as both hilarious and touching. And according to director, Shaun Rennie, “Audiences can expect to laugh a lot, while also being confronted with two characters who love each other deeply, but miscommunicate their way to tragedy and heartbreak.”
Theatre People had the opportunity to find out more about the production from its star, Jamie Oxenbould. He told us what he loves about the script, what he hopes audiences will take away from the show, and about playing a 200-pound chimpanzee.
Theatre People: How did you become involved with this production?
Jamie Oxenbould: My partner, Di Adams, who is also in the play, saw a production of Trevor in LA a few years ago. She brought it back home and we both just loved the script and wanted to put it on. Jeremy Waters at Outhouse also knew the play and eventually we connected over our mutual admiration for the script and here we are.
TP: When you first read the script for Trevor, what were your thoughts?
JO: I was struck by its originality and its tone. I’ve never read a play with an animal at its heart who can be understood by the audience, but not by the other characters in the play. It has a quite absurdist tone in that regard, but it’s also quite a tragic, cautionary tale as well.
TP: Can you provide a snapshot of what the play is about?
JO: The play is about a chimp, Trevor, being raised by a woman in rural America. He went to Hollywood and appeared in a few commercials, etc when he was young and cute, but now he’s old and getting unruly and he wants to get back in the ‘acting’ game. Desperate and frustrated that no one seems to recognise his talent, his wilder instincts are starting to takeover, as he navigates the human world that is beginning to turn on him.
TP: Why do you think Trevor is a play that Sydney audiences should see in 2019?
JO: Well it’s a very funny play, and who doesn’t need a good laugh right now? It’s a play that looks at miscommunication and our inability to listen to each other, which today I think is pretty relevant. It’s about how we treat animals and why we feel the need to tame and squash and humanise our animal friends’ natural instincts.
TP: Can you provide an insight into how you are preparing to play a chimpanzee?
JO: Trevor is a chimp who desperately wants to be a man, so I’m not going the full chimp routine when it comes to playing one. It’s pretty subtle, and there’s actually surprisingly little you have to do physically to become monkey-ish. He’s also an ageing, frustrated actor, so there’s very little preparation needed for me to tap into that.
TP: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far in preparing for this production?
JO: The biggest challenge has been that Trevor’s dialogue is mostly just in his own head, so there’s no responding to the other actors on stage. It’s difficult for all of the actors to have two concurrent conversations going on at once.
TP: What do you hope audiences take away from their experience seeing Trevor?
JO: I hope audiences just have a really fun time. I love a show where you have a smile on your face the whole time. And, yet, there’s a punch in the guts of emotion somewhere along the way. That’s what we hope Trevor achieves.
TREVOR – SEASON DETAILS
When: Playing now until 6 July 2019
Times: Tuesdays – Saturdays at 7:30pm; 5pm on Sundays
Tickets: Adult $42 | Concession $35 | $20 for Under 30s (Thursday events)
Where: Kings Cross Theatre (KXT) – Level 2, Kings Cross Hotel, Kings Cross