Oliver Wenn

Oliver Wenn is a recent acting graduate from the National Institute of Dramatic Arts and is currently producer of the new sci-fi musical - Risky Lunar Love.

In the lead up to Opening Night he spoke to Australian Stage's Sonia Allan



Risky Lunar LoveTell me about the process behind the show - how did you arrive at what we're going to see on opening night?
It harks back to 2002, when the original writer Luke Milton wrote Risky Lunar Love or the original. Long story short, that got put on and was successful in WA. I came to Sydney and went through drama school at NIDA, and the success of the original show stayed in the back of my mind. I thought it was an amazing play and had a lot of potential. And then about two years ago, I approached writer Luke Milton, and Brent Hill who was the composer about re-staging the work. About a year later we put together a company. I got some money together, we pieced the team together, and it went from there.

How would you characterise the director and cast's approach to the rehearsal process - what is the rationale?
John Sheedy is an amazing director and he always brings out the best in people. What I love about him is his general sense of ADD! He's off the wall. He fills the characters and actors with an extreme sense of life. They're really big characters, these guys. He instils the confidence in these actors to really go all the way and fill the characters to their full dimension. They're larger than life.

This show is definitely the opposite to naturalism. I think that's what John does the best, and I think the cast are people who have the ability to really extend, it requires a willingness to really go for it, and to have a lot of fun.

You have a strong background in performance - what led you to take on the role of producer on this show?
To get myself a job! As an actor. What inspired me to do this role was the fact that I came out of NIDA and had two years of hard slog and worrying, thinking 'oh my god how do I get onto the big stages like STC and Belvoir?

I realised that if you have enough money, you can hire a venue and put on a one-man show. You can be in control of your own work and be in command of your own destiny. I just think that you can do it on your own. It's an issue of security. Do you want to be always asking someone else for a job?

I think it's also to do with having an entrepreneurial approach. I really enjoy the side of being a producer, I think if you look at the really successful people in the arts, I think that success requires a sense of business. The successful understand how business works, how you have to market yourself and be aware of how that side works.
{xtypo_quote_right}This show is definitely the opposite to naturalism... I think the cast are people who have the ability to really extend, it requires a willingness to really go for it, and to have a lot of fun.{/xtypo_quote_right}
Just out of interest, what's the show's budget?
About a quarter of a million.

Are you planning to take the show on tour?
Absolutely. The huge emphasis that we're putting on this show is that this is the pilot season, this is its initial run. What we want to do is get this show on again and again and again - we want this show on the West End in five years.

Is there something different that this show brings to Sydney's audiences, something new that we might not have experienced before?
One of the big things for us is that Risky Lunar Love really has a strong sense of modern fun. It's a show directly pitched towards younger audiences, towards Generation X and Y. That's a group that's not generally interacting with live theatre mediums. The show is a lot like an episode of South Park or Family Guy, but except that it's live, and onstage, with really cool music, and the storytelling is quite deconstructionist as opposed to the traditional musical theatre tale. It's entertaining, but also of a new style and of a new genre in the lines of Avenue Q. I think younger audiences especially will really enjoy it.


Risky Lunar Love is now playing at Carriageworks. For further information: www.riskylunarlove.com

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