Play readings mightn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but with the Remix Readings at Courthouse ARTS they’re mixing things up a bit so even those who cringe at the word should give it a go. This time around creator Mitch Cunningham has infused narrative, sound and performance to recreate the idea of traditional play readings.
“Our goal is to take five scripts from five young writers and to chop, change, revise and remix those scripts into a unique series of performances,” Mitch says.
And if anyone is going to achieve this goal, it will be Mitch. He is currently writing a PhD thesis on narrative theory and American literature whilst playing in and writing songs for the band Ghost Cowboys.
“I wanted to play to those strengths with the Remix Readings and explore the intersections between narrative, sound and performance in a collaborative setting,” he says.
To help him achieve his goal, Mitch has collaborated with a group of Geelong musicians, actors and choreographers, each delivering something unique to the readings.
“The collaboration is ongoing, and I feel that it will push the readings into a wide range of styles, modes and themes,” Mitch says. “We are quite literally remixing lines from the scripts into an ambient electronic track at the moment with local musician Blair Martin Hall, which will serve as a kind of overture to the first reading on July 31.”
While Blair may do the music, five local writers that Mitch has carefully selected do the five scripts, and he is more than happy with the team he has gathered.
“Zac Linford is a workshop veteran with a stoic and lyrical style. Jonathon Lawrence is a Deakin graduate with an ear for the absurd and bombastic. Laura Bentley is a Law student with a satirical streak and pitch-perfect delivery. Callum Padgett is a radio host with unparalleled insight into the state of the modern zombie,” he says. “And Declan Hodge is a Deakin student who channels his manic energies into intricate, subversive comedies of error. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with.”
Between the talented writers, performers and musician, and with Mitch’s careful guidance, the Remix Readings tease out each script and form the collaborative, open-ended vibes of each show.
“Not quite a script, not quite a show, drawing on the audience’s imagination to evoke and express a story. We’re trying to amplify those dimensions with the Remix Readings,” Mitch says. “We’re carving out some weird territory with the project. It’ll be the fun kind of weird, as opposed to the intimidating, sort of wanky kind of weird.”
While it may cross into strange territory, Mitch is conscious of keeping the audience on side, especially the Geelong audience who can be a tricky crowd to please.
“Geelong audiences have a keen radar for bullshit, though, and you’ve got to play to that,” he says.
The first Remix Readings will be on July 31 and though he realises it may still not be for everyone, he just hopes people will leave happy with “a big grin on their face, a tune stuck in their head and a sense of having forgotten (or remembered) something important”.
To book or for more information visit courthouse.org.au.
When&Where: Courthouse ARTS, Geelong – July 31, November 13 & December 18
Written by Amanda Sherring. Photo by Daniel Longo