Mat­ter of fac­ing up to re­al­ity

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Weekly Life - TANYA MACNAUGHTON

YEARS of watch­ing re­al­ity tele­vi­sion has paid off for sand­pa­per­plane co­founder Jack­son Used, who is di­rect­ing the in­de­pen­dent theatre com­pany’s fourth pro­duc­tion, So You Think You’re Char­lie Smith.

“We knew from the start that I wanted to di­rect this one,” Used, of Ned­lands, said.

“Some of the re­al­ity TV I’ve watched is ridicu­lous and oth­ers I get to­tally sucked in to, so I was itch­ing to have a crack.”

Used co-wrote the play with theatre com­pany co-founder Ben Thomas, of Clare­mont, who di­rected their 2017 Fringe World Fes­ti­val ex­per­i­men­tal mu­si­cal Fairy­bread.

The pair met while study­ing at UWA and work­ing on Univer­sity Dra­matic So­ci­ety pro­duc­tions be­fore Used trans­ferred to WAAPA to pur­sue a per­for­mance mak­ing course, grad­u­at­ing in 2015.

They started sand­pa­per­plane in 2014 as a plat­form to make their own work.

“It started as an idea to cre­ate orig­i­nal, en­gag­ing and some­times ex­per­i­men­tal work as a com­pany,” the former John XXIII Col­lege grad­u­ate said.

“But it now also fo­cuses on de­vel­op­ing the voice of young artists or young cre­atives too.”

Used has had his own men­tors in Finn O’brana­gain and Will O’ma­honey while work­ing on

Char­lie Smith.

He met O’brana­gain through a Play­writ­ing Aus­tralia and The Blue Room Theatre dra­maturgy train­ing pro­gram, while O’ma­honey was al­ready a men­tor from Used’s WAAPA days.

“I got in touch and showed them some of our ideas while we were pitch­ing the show and they were happy to get on­board,” Used said.

“I think with this piece in par­tic­u­lar, there’s some re­ally in­ter­est­ing the­matic con­tent and it’s hard, so I’m re­ally work­ing with those guys to help me ex­tract the heart of it and make the most en­gag­ing ver­sion I can for the au­di­ence.”

So You Think You’re Char­lie Smith fol­lows three con­tes­tants on a re­al­ity TV show try­ing to with­stand the ma­nip­u­la­tion of the pro­ducer and host who are in­tent on get­ting the most en­gag­ing drama out of them.

“We’re play­ing here with the idea of iden­tity and who we are in the so­cial me­dia age,” Used said.

“It’s got a lot to do with how per­va­sive re­al­ity tele­vi­sion is, it’s such an enor­mous genre, and how far it’s come in the last 15 years.

“A lot of the things I want to talk about with this show is how fast we con­sume con­tent th­ese days in the 24hour So You Think You’re news cy­cle.

“We just don’t have the same at­ten­tion span or in­ter­est in con­sum­ing a whole breadth of information; in­stead one im­age can be enough. We’ve be­come a very vis­ually fo­cused so­ci­ety.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.