This week marks the second time I’ve spoken with Steven Mitchell Wright for Greenroom. The first was in June last year for the Free Range Project – Interview 21 – 10 interviews ago as it turns out. Steven is the AD of The Danger Ensemble which has also featured here on Greenroom via last August’s Hamlet Apocalypse. This work, another of Steven’s creations, appeared in La Boite’s 2011 Indie season. It was one of the more dangerous, ‘in yer face and be damned if you don’t like it’ productions I’d seen in ages. But it was more than just dangerous for its own sake; it was risky, sure but courageous, thrilling and accomplished – and it got my heart racing. That doesn’t happen to me very often in the theatre. The ideas and their theatricalisation did it for me with Hamlet Apocalypse. You can read the review here. This time around we talked about the latest work Loco Maricon Amor (‘Crazy Queer Love’ trans in case you wondered) which opens its world premiere season this week at Metro Arts in Edward Street Brisbane.
You’ve probably already seen this wildly coloured, staring figure – the production image for Loco Maricon Amor. It’s Salvador Dali, of course – the crazy, trademark moustache gives it away. The image, one of the more successful theatre posters I’ve seen for ages, hints at and suggests so much, teasing the viewer to engage with the real eyes in a painted face set against an exploding universe. It’s a new work but I’m actually less interested in what the play is about – the plot to be terribly old-fashioned – than in the realisation of the work. I’ve already read in the media release that ‘Loco Maricon Amor isn’t about any one thing. But it is about love and death and their interconnectedness.’ Big call.
To that end I steer the conversation around to how Steven and the Danger Ensemble work. I want to know where these ideas come from and how they do it – the nuts and bolts of their working process. How did Loco Maricon Amor take shape, for example? I know before I ask that it’s not going to be a simple response, and that’s the way it turns out.
The form of a work becomes its delivery method.
As Steven puts it, ‘Each project is different, and I’m adamant that each work has to find its own process.’ Another side to the good design axiom of form following function. ‘Finding this is important to me. But, at the start, the story has to be important. Why would you invest so much time and energy without a sense of its being important? And I need a sense of the “heart” of a work.’ So, that’s the way our discussion proceeds – about how this play found its authentic heart and external shape.