Our dancers, Andrew Searle, Talitha Maslin and Zachary Lopez, are currently on the Gold Coast in rehearsals with The Farm for Frank Enstein. This collaboration sees Co3 performing at Bleach* Festival on 31 March – 1 April, before coming back to the West to perform at the State Theatre Centre at the Studio Underground from 5 – 8 April.
I play Frank’s creation. I am inspired by the character Liz, who Frank falls in love with at first sight but never thinks he could talk to her or that she would want to be with him due to his physical appearance. My character is a little scary as she is unable to control her body and falls madly, obsessively in love with Frank when she wakes up.
How do you get into the mindset of your character before a show?
I lay on the slab for quite a while during the show before I come to life so it is easy for me to inhabit the character coming to life. The beauty in playing a creation is that the emotional journey isn’t linear, it has the ability to explore and change ideas and emotions rapidly. I think we have all been cast in roles that allow us to bring our own interpretation to the character so it gives the opportunity to inhabit them and transform in to them.
Do you find the choreography challenging?
Yes, there is an extreme physicality that I explore during my creation which is very challenging, but I think that is what makes it beautiful. Also shifting in and out of conscious states and what that means during different sections of the work is interesting as it really changes the way the physicality is presented. I also do a lot of lifting which presents it’s own challenge in strength but also communication between performers. The best part is, I get to live out a commercial dance fantasy – I never thought there would be a place for such over-the-top Jazzy movement in a contemporary work but the amazing thing about dance or physical theatre, especially in a show that caters for young audiences, is that anything is possible.
What is it like working with The Farm?
Very rewarding. Not only do I get to contribute with what I am doing physically and with my character, but I also have input in the work, in the structure, the dramaturgy and we discuss everybody’s ideas and offerings so I feel like I am always learning.
There are also times where I get left to my own devices so it is great way to learn how to work efficiently and effectively so when we come back together we have solid ideas to present and dissect.
How did your experience differ from typical dance works, to this one which has an actor?
This question is interesting for me as I have been in works previously that have involved text and more formal ‘acting’ skills, so I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily new or different for me. In saying that, having an actor’s perspective in the creative process is the most interesting part. Daniel sees the work in a different way, he talks about his character in a different way and I feel I get to learn about a new form of communication in the creative process.
It is also fascinating as he has a physical disability and getting to see him deal with that. We as the dancers need to adapt very rapidly during partnering and when forming our physical relationships to him, I think that is what sets Frank Enstein apart from other works for me, regardless of the fact that he is an actor.
What can audiences expect from this retelling of Frankenstein?
I think they can expect to see a multi-layered love story. A story equipped with just the right amount of humour, horror and sadness. An interpretation of Mary Shelley’s beautiful story that brings us back to ourselves and allows us to question what makes us human, our desires and need for companionship.
See Talitha in Frank Enstein, on at the State Theatre Centre WA at the Studio Underground from 5 April – 8 April, 7.30pm.
Images by Claudio Kirac.