John Patrick Shanley’s vicious black comedy returns to Melbourne under the direction of Beng Oh at The Burrow from November 20. Heather Bloom spoke to cast members Catherine Ward, Hayden Burke and Bronte Carmichael about the play and what audiences can expect from this production.
Left – Leigh Scully and Catherine Ward
Where's My Money? was written almost 20 years ago, how do you think the play is still relevant to current day audiences?
Bronte: It's a story about love and relationships in a time when money rules everything. This play shows us what happens to our souls when we allow the pressure of success in a capitalist world to decide what our lives must look like. These characters' emotional lives and personal lives are buckling under the pressure of capitalism, materialism and consumerism, in a very real way reflecting back to us, as a modern audience, the deep chasm societal expectation thrusts us into.
You play the character of Celeste who is an aspiring actress. Do you find any similarities between the characters struggles as an actress and your own?
B: Celeste, for all her faults, is probably the purest spirit in the whole piece. She's alone in the world, both because of her rejection of the money-centric life model that is expected of people in a capitalist world, and because her attempts at a career haven't come off just yet. I can relate to her struggle to accept herself as she is, while the world is telling her to conform to some arbitrary standard of aesthetics purely for the satisfaction of men (who still hold the majority of power and money in our industry).
Where's My Money? is described as a black comedy, do you have a dark sense of humour?
B: Not so much dark as incredibly sarcastic. But this humour works for me. Although the text and the ideas in the text have dated quite significantly, we can laugh at the rigid ideas of femininity and masculinity that have so often plagued us when we bring them to light in an intimate theatre setting.
What can you tell me about the show without giving any spoilers?
Catherine: It’s a pitch black comedy with a surprising twist, a wild ride exploring money and relationships with an incredible cast of characters.
What drew you to this play?
C: As a group of actors what we were really looking for was great writing. John Patrick Shanley is a master of dialogue and both comedy and pathos. When we first read the script it felt like such wonderful fun to speak and we knew we had to stage it.
You're also one of the founders of the theatre company 7th Floor Theatre, can you tell me about the ethos behind the company?
C: 7th Floor was founded as an actor's focused theatre company. We want to create a space of collaboration and play based around allowing performers the challenge of tackling great writing. We also find it really important to enter into the creative process with the wellbeing of our team at the centre and to put on theatre with heart. I'm incredibly excited to see where we go from here!
You play the character of Sidney in the play, is it fun to play what is essentially the "villain" of the piece?
Hayden: It is fun. I don't see Sidney as a villain, he is a human like every other character fighting for what they want.
What can audiences expect from Where's My Money?
H: A "gee I'm glad I brought a ticket" experience.
You have experience as both a screen and theatre performer, do you have a preference for stage or screen?
H: It's about the story and the connection regardless of which medium. There is something special about live theatre though.
7th Floor Theatre presents Where’s My Money? From the 20 – 30 November 2019 at The Burrow. Bookings www.trybooking.com