Con­tem­plat­ing utopian dreams

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Business - By TANYA MACNAUGHTON

EV­ERY­THING Work­ing Dog Pro­duc­tions touches turns to gold and the Mel­bourne-based team’s lat­est ABC eight- part se­ries, Utopia, is prov­ing no ex­cep­tion.

Set in the of­fices of the Na­tion Build­ing Au­thor­ity, the satir­i­cal show fol­lows the gov­ern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tion re­spon­si­ble for over­see­ing ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects, where the col­li­sion of grand dreams and bu­reau­cracy is a haz­ard of the work­place.

While in Perth last week, writer, pro­ducer, di­rec­tor and ac­tor Rob Sitch said the Utopia jour­ney be­gan more than three years ago when the team started col­lect­ing “mod­ern ab­sur­di­ties” which in­cluded of­fice sto­ries from EpiPen pro­to­col to or­der­ing gluten-free muffins for a no longer em­ployed co-worker.

“Then we found we could scale it up be­cause the ab­sur­dity doesn’t stop,” Sitch said.

“You can do $10 bil­lion projects be­cause stu­pid­ity is very scal­able.”

The re­sult was sto­ry­lines sur­round­ing big build­ing schemes from rail lines to high-rise ur­ban de­vel­op­ments.

Sitch plays chief ex­ec­u­tive Tony and is sur­rounded by a cast of colour­ful char­ac­ters and fa­mil­iar com­edy faces, in­clud­ing Kitty Flana­gan, Lehmo, Luke McGre­gor and Celia Pac­quola.

He said Perth’s in­fra­struc­ture ideas had not gone un­no­ticed dur­ing their re­search into big projects.

“I reckon they spent too much on the Colos­seum and one thing that al­ways amuses me is the Parthenon al­most sent Athens broke,” Sitch said.

“So I think that build­ing big things that are too ex­pen­sive has got a long his­tory in hu­man civil­i­sa­tion.

“We’ve got three lay­ers of gov­ern­ment so that’s three lay­ers of dream mak­ers.”

Sitch said what he en­joyed most while the se­ries airs, prob­a­bly more than any other pro­gram he has done, is the num­ber of peo­ple who want to talk to him about their own brush with bu­reau­cracy.

“Life’s pretty com­plex and it’s hard to pre­dict how things go, so it’s quite sat­is­fy­ing to re­alise life is as silly as we’re mak­ing it out to be,” he said.

Utopia is screen­ing on ABC1, 8.30pm, Wed­nes­days un­til Oc­to­ber 1.

Pic­ture: Marcus Whisson

Rob Sitch at ABC Stu­dios in East Perth.

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