- Lee Bemrose
World War T is a speculative comedy about what might happen if everyone's favourite misogynistic, racist, narcissistic daddy-made-me-rich, draft dodging buffoon wins the keys to The Whitehouse... currently a terrifyingly possible prospect. But the Canadian creator of the show – current Melbourne resident Blair Moro – believes that we have to laugh at the whole thing. And given how crazy everything in the world seems to be right now, maybe he has a point.
Ooh – interactive bit: Read the interview and guess Blair's age based on the interview. Leave your guess in the comments box.
How long have you been in Melbourne? What are your thoughts on Melbourne so far?
I’ve been in and out of Melbourne for just over a year now. I am originally from Vancouver, Canada. Before coming to Australia I spent 10 months traveling around Asia, visiting 12 countries along the way.
Melbourne has become my second home. I’ve made some great friends, have been working fairly consistently, and have been able to do a bit of theatre along the way. This Fringe will be my 4th in Australia. I took a solo show to Sydney and Melbourne Fringe Fests last year called ‘The Audience Dies at the End’. It was a valuable learning experience as I had never performed outside of Canada before. I then took a new drama to the Adelaide Fringe. There were many factors that resulted in the show being unsuccessful: new to the Adelaide Fringe, taking a drama, taking a new piece of work, and booking a venue that turned out to be a almost entirely music venue. The show turned out well, the audience turnout was very small. I am not deterred by this venture; I am an emerging artist and sometimes you need to try, and fail, to really learn the most valuable lessons.
What I love most about Melbourne is the people. I thought Vancouver was very multicultural before I left. Melbourne exceeds Vancouver by leagues. You can get any kind of food, hear hundreds of different languages in one day, and see different peoples everywhere you go. I have been lucky enough to work at Melbourne's Luna Park. I see hundreds if not thousands of people a day.
Do you pay a lot of attention to politics or are you simply interested in the Trump phenomenon?
I’ve been keenly interested in politics for many years. In Canada our Prime Minister for 12 years was a man named Stephen Harper. He is an oil man from the prairies who is friends with Tony Abbott. You were lucky here in Australia, you got rid of Abbott in two years. Harper had enough time to declassify protected parklands for drilling and oil extraction during his time, and sold many of our natural resources to other countries. I was a casual protester, attended rallies and signed petitions. Eventually he was ousted by Justin Trudeau, but the damage was done.
It’s been an interesting ride learning about Australian politics since being here. Australia is having the same problems as the United States, a rise in right wing parties like One Nation. Trump is an enigma, he flip flops on his policies, he says things and then denies ever saying any of it, he gets asked intelligent questions and rather than answering he goes right back to his catchphrase. All of this could simply be written off as if he is an idiot, but what if he’s not? He is playing a game, he is manipulative, and you never know what he will do next (and that’s entertainment!).
What are your thoughts on the fact that someone as clearly narcissistic, self-serving and batshit crazy as Trump actually has his grubby little hands so close to the American presidency?
I’m honestly not too worried any more. Any more being the key word there. I started researching back in March, figuring out the basics of Trump. I started out by looking at videos from the past year. I could get through about an hour of watching before I would shut my laptop, scream for a minute straight, and have to go for a walk. It’s a lot to take in. The more I researched the longer I was able to focus, laying out charts and a web, trying to make connections between all I was learning. Once I started translating the data into relatable/offensive sketches the show blossomed, and my fear of Trump was slowly diminishing. I believe that to fully understand or accept something you have to be able to laugh at it, you have to be able to joke about it freely. This show doesn’t just deal with Trump, we tear into other groups that would be affected if Trump was to win, groups like the KKK and ISIS. We will not hold back. So audience, be ready for anything.
The polls are indicating that it is going to be a tight race. Do you think he will get in?
I have my own thoughts on who will win. There are huge problems with trying to call an election or vote before it happens. For example: Brexit. The people who wanted to stay a part of the EU felt that they weren’t in any danger, that there was no way they would separate. Only 72% of people voted, and as we know the vote went 52%/48% and they are in the process of separating. They were relaxed, they thought it would be all right. This is why I do not want to call the election yet. I want people in the US to stay on the edge of their seat until the election. I figure it will be the highest voting turnout they’ve ever had.
Where did the idea of this show come from? Was there a Trump moment when you thought you had to say something?
Everyone knows Trump. My last three shows have been enjoyable to do, but have not been economically successful. I wanted something that was current, easy to relate to, and could draw people in with a simple word: Trump. Since coming up with the idea I have done a ton a research and am hoping to pass along a little bit of that in my show. Some parts might be a bit dense, but we are figuring out ways to keep them entertaining. I hope that people will leave the show having learned something, having laughed a lot, and being a little relieved about the whole Trump ordeal.
Do you have a favourite Trump moment, Trump quote or Trump idea?
It's a bit dark, but I love looking up attacks on Trump. There are only two or three videos of people trying to jump on stage to attack him. I don’t usually support violence, but if he is able to tell his supporters that they can use the second amendment to ‘deal with’ Hillary, then I can support a person trying to punch him a few times.
My favorite line of his is “It's not been easy for me, it has not been easy for me. You know I started off in Brooklyn. My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars…”
Can you imagine a worse presidential candidate than Trump?
Tell us a little about the show.
The show is about three people here in Melbourne who are putting on a sketch comedy show about Donald Trump, two years into his presidency. We get to meet Lucy, Ruby, and Maxwell who are three lowly actors trying to change the world, through theatre. We get to see the sketches, and get a peek into the backstage life of their performance. The sketches are chronological: they start with the primaries, move into the core of the election, the election itself, and then what happened after the election. Some of the sketches are apocalyptic in nature, some are possibly realistic takes on what could happen.
I read a quote somewhere that compared your humour to that of Southpark. That's a pretty big compliment. Your thoughts?
I was watching a lot of South Park. While I wrote the show and rehearsed it I was in the process of watching all 19 seasons. My shows may emulate South Park in comedic style and political humour with an assortment of fecal jokes. I feel like most of my work is influenced by what comedy I enjoy at the time of creating it. Currently I am in love with Rick and Morty, Bo Burnham, and Louie CK. I wonder if they have had an influence on my writing.
When I received that quote I was very excited, I thought “this is something I can write on all my shows from now on” and isn’t that what Fringe is for? Young emerging artists spending their small amount of money on a Fringe show that a hundred people might see, and hopefully you will get a good review out of it? This may be a little cynical, but it's true. The Fringe here in Melbourne is very good at supporting its top acts, the people who will sell out their shows without any extra promotion, the big names. This is not what Fringe should be about. Fringe should be about young and emerging artists. Yes the bigger artists have a place in the Fringe too, but because Melbourne Fringe is a company they want to earn money and will ONLY focus on those big artists. If you take a look at the performers for the Nando’s Spotlight Stage you get this “Curious about what to see at this year’s Fringe? Then head to the PERi-PERi Spotlight Stage at Federation Square for a showcase of the Festival's hottest acts.” I looked up many of the acts, and they are all well established artists with a strong base here in Melbourne. The Melbourne Fringe is no longer about the young and emerging artists. It's about money.
Singles Awareness Productions presents
World War T
by Blair Moro
Director Blair Moro
Venue: The Courthouse Hotel – 86-90 Errol Street, North Melbourne
Dates: 24 – 27 September 2016
Times: 9:30pm / 8:30pm Sunday (45min)
Tickets: $20 – $14.50