Perth’s most exciting performance makers Side Pony Productions and The Last Great Hunt have come together for the first time to create a deeply unsettling theatrical experience, due to make its Victorian debut at the Geelong Arts Centre this November.
A 2018 Helpmann Award Nominee for Best Play, The Irresistible is an unrelenting exploration of unconscious bias and the often invisible assumptions we make about one another. Told through a series of intertwining stories, this haunting new co-production is layered and complex, revealing a darkly comic reflection of our world.
“We set out to make a show about unconscious bias,” director Zoe Pepper explains, who teamed up with long-time collaborators and lead actors, Adriane Daff and Tim Watts. “We did a lot of research into it [unconscious bias], but it was this tough thing of really not wanting it to be some kind of intellectual expose on the research,” Zoe explains. “It’s all about those visceral moments where you experience your own bias, and it’s only for like a split second when you don’t go and ask someone a question at Bunnings because you think, “Oh, you’ll never know the answer.” It’s about those little glitches, when you’re like, ‘Why did I make that assumption?’, and we’ve created circumstances where we give the audience the feeling of those glitches.”
A reckless love letter to the subconscious, the ambitious smoke-filled, sci-fi natured show take audiences on an adventure into the unknown, with intersecting stories played by the same two actors and audio manipulation, which is a highlight in this work.
“We started playing with these radio mics and playing around with line voice modulation, so that we could change the pitch and the format of the actor’s voices during improvisation. This really opened up some interesting ideas around gender constructs, and how biases are kind of in-built in gender. That’s what we set out to explore, which all sounds a bit highfalutin, but really we also want to make something that’s really fun, and accessible, commenting on the fact we’re all kind of made up of the same shit; we all carry around the same baggage and the same problems.”
A bold and original new work, the show is intoxicatingly creepy, referencing a number of filmic conventions transformed into a live theatre space; reminiscent of Stranger Things and Twin Peaks. Covering suicide, obsessive family relationships, unhealthy boundaries, loneliness, technology consumption, mesmerism, and unexplained events; this work is deliberately designed to throw you off guard and leave you with a resonating sense of deeper meaning that dwells just on the fringes of your mind.
“I hope people are entertained, and it provokes discussion around gender and the morality of the different characters,” Zoe says. “I want the audience to feel like they’ve been challenged, but they’re satisfied.”
The Irresistible is dark, mysterious and a little bit disturbing, and will be the first show in the Geelong Arts Centre’s beautiful new building from 7 – 9 November. Tickets via geelongartscentre.org.au/whats-on/all-events/the-irresistible/
Please note this performance includes smoke effects, strobe lighting, sexual and adult themes, strong language and references to suicide.
Photo by Dan Grant