INTERVIEW: Zachary Lopez in Frank Enstein

Co3 dancer Zachary Lopez is on the Gold Coast rehearsing Frank Enstein with The Farm and dancers Andrew Searle and Talitha Maslin. In just FRANK_Portraits_007_ZachLopezunder a week Frank Enstein will have its world premiere at Bleach* Festival before coming to Perth on April 5 – 8 at the Studio Underground. Read on to see why Zachary thinks Frank Enstein is unlike any other contemporary dance he has performed in.


What is your role in Frank Enstein?

I am created through Frank’s forgotten and unused excess parts that are thrown into the bin and left outside. When the storm rumbles and lighting strikes, I begin to form and assemble into an uncertain, mismatched and bipolar being. I am Liz’s companion and her imaginary friend, she tries to get me fixed but hasn’t yet realised she firstly needs to repair relationships with Frank and herself. I go on an emotional and physical rollercoaster, never understanding my capabilities and the reasons why I entered this world. I question my strengths and weaknesses and whether they matter in a place where you just need to ‘be’.


How do you get into the mindset of your character before a show?

It’s a process throughout the creative development and the performance season to be able to portray a character that gets to a place where it makes sense for you as a performer. It’s a continual journey and doesn’t ever get easy, it becomes second nature. I get to explore other ways of portraying a character and with this continual exploration I begin to see clearer and I’m able to thread ideas more cohesively.


Are there any challenges with the repertoire? 

The challenging part of the work is working with props, specifically vacuums. As many times you practice with a prop there still could be chance it could go a way you didn’t intend. Other than that challenge, the physical dance movement in the piece comes in bursts, so a lot of high intensity movement followed by small rests. The repertoire itself for me is physically demanding, but theres avenues for exploring new ideas within the body and where it can go and that’s what interests me as a mover.


Do you have any pre-performance rituals?

I don’t yet have a specific ritual but it’s always important to keep the body and mind active. If the work requires a lot of partnering, I spend time with the other dancers getting to know their movements and energy so it’s not a shock when you connect for the first time that night on stage.


What is it like working with The Farm?

It’s a whole new experience, a bit of a dream. Every creative process is different with every company and choreographer. Developing this particular work with The Farm it has opened up a whole new skill set for me as a collaborator. I am continually challenged as an artist to be versatile in other forms of movement and ways of approaching tasks. We are nurtured into finding our own journey within the piece and given space to find and explore our own movement vocabulary. It’s an awesome environment to work in and theres always something new to learn and experience each day.


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How did your experience differ from typical dance works to this one? 

This piece is definitely not a typical contemporary dance work in comparison to others I’ve worked on. This work is open to all people and invites the weird, the whacky and the beautiful. It’s not fixated on the beauty of the movement but the intentions of each character and their body language. It was great to learn from Daniel who plays Frank and how he captures the ideas through his voice and expression.


Have you ever performed at the Studio Underground?

It’s always exciting performing in such amazing venues and the State Theatre Centre is one of them. I have had the pleasure of performing at the State Theatre but the Studio Underground will be something new to me to perform in, so I’m looking forward to it.


What can audiences expect from this retelling of Frankenstein?

You will just have to wait and see! The story unravels in such a magical way you may find yourself lost in this world, relating to a character or all of them.


See Zachary 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 and Michael Maclean.