Tell us about your new play, Foreign Bodies?
It’s an exciting new Australian play by Andy Harmsen set in a Mumbai hotel during the 2008 uprising when Americans and British, in particular, were being targeted. A famous American ex-porn star has released a memoir detailing her career and rise as a successful businesswoman. She has arranged an interview with a young Australian journalist who ends up being something of a “fan”. It’s a fascinating look at, among many things, sex and more importantly, the perception of sex in our society. Andy’s written a very clever, witty and intelligent piece that, by turns, is thrilling and heartbreaking while also being very funny. It’s a rare thing and as you can probably tell, I’m very excited to be working on it.
How would you describe the play in food form and why?
A very hot curry. Exotic, dangerous, ignites all your senses and for a long time afterwards, you find it hard to forget.
Which scene resonates most strongly with you and why?
[pullquote]After our workshop process, Andy wrote a new scene that is by turns incredibly confronting but also very moving. It sums up how women are objectified, how pornography is so denigrating and encapsulates the male attitude to the industry. I am so proud that this was written by a straight male, albeit an extremely intelligent and sensitive one.[/pullquote] After our workshop process, Andy wrote a new scene that is by turns incredibly confronting but also very moving. It sums up how women are objectified, how pornography is so denigrating and encapsulates the male attitude to the industry. I am so proud that this was written by a straight male, albeit an extremely intelligent and sensitive one.
Any behind the scenes anecdotes?
No real stories – yet, or ones that are printable at least! But I am so lucky to have two incredible actors to inhabit these roles. Alan Chambers, who plays the young journalist, is a NIDA graduate and as an experienced actor/director, just gets the process and, through his talent and insight, understands what I am trying to achieve. Marika Marosszeky is a Canadian-born, Queensland actress who has a sensitivity and presence that is breathtaking. They are both fearless – a director’s dream. I’m a very fortunate.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
The people I work with. Talented, giving artists that leave their ego and attitude behind and are all about the work. There is nothing more fulfilling than creating work with like-minded people. It’s a hard thing to find but when I do, I grab it by the short and curlies and don’t let go!
What’s next for you?
I’m fortunate enough to be directing a regional tour of Black Diva Power starring the incredible Ruth Rogers-Wright that shares the stories and songs of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. All going well, it will do a national and international tour next year. Also helping with the Sly Rat boys with their outdoor production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream coming up in January. Plus, I need to start thinking about the 2016 season of my company, Mockingbird Theatre.
What’s your scene?
Ideally, a chilled out, eclectic space with jazz, bourbon and good friends. Or a darkened theatre during rehearsals with cold pizza and beer. It usually ends up being the latter.
About Chris Baldock:
Chris Baldock is a highly respected director and actor in the Melbourne theatre scene. He directed the acclaimed production of The Laramie Project at Chapel off Chapel which won the 2005 Victorian Green Room Award for Best Independent Production. He revived the production in 2012 to critical acclaim as the inaugural production for his own company, Mockingbird Theatre. He also received critical praise for his productions of Love! Valour! Compassion! for Midsumma, Burning starring Logie Award-winner Libby Tanner and the Australian premiere of Shining City for Hoy Polloy. Chris has also directed Mockingbird Theatre’s critically acclaimed productions – Blue/Orange, How I Learned To Drive, Equus, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, The Temperamentals and Quills. Originally from New Zealand and based in Melbourne for over 20 years, Chris is the founder and Artistic Director of Mockingbird Theatre and a director of over fifty productions here in Australia and in NZ. Acting credits include: Michel in God Of Carnage, George IV in The Madness Of King George, Gene Glimmer in Side Man, Lennie in Of Mice And Men, Colonel Jessup in A Few Good Men, Roo in Summer Of The Seventeenth Doll, Henry in Cosi, Arkady in A Month In The Country, Kipps in The Woman In Black and Oscar Wilde in Gross Indecency: The Three Trials Of Oscar Wilde.
About Foreign Bodies:
The Australian premiere of Melbourne playwright Andy Harmsen’s exciting new work, Foreign Bodies – a seductive and seditious study of primal urges and exoticism.
Sly Rat Theatre Co-Artistic Director Alan Chambers features alongside Canadian trained, Queensland based actor Marika Marosszeky in the Australian premiere of Andy Harmsen’s provocative tale of sex, porn, politics and lust. Foreign Bodies is directed by award-winning Mockingbird Theatre Artistic Director Chris Baldock, and opens at The Owl and Cat Theatre on Friday October 23, 2015 at 8pm.
Set in a hotel room in Mumbai, retired American porn star, Arizona Snow, awaits the arrival of Martin, a young Australian journalist, and some-time fan. Terror reigns on the streets below as Martin and Arizona become entangled in a net of fantasy, power games, intrigue and danger, revealing the dark side – the underbelly – of the sex trade and its cloistered worshippers. Set against the volatile, political backdrop of Mumbai, Foreign Bodies explores the relationship between two unlikely allies in this city of dreams.
“I am excited to be staging the Australian premiere of Andy Harmsen’s provocative new play, Foreign Bodies for Sly Rat Theatre. It is a play that intrigues and challenges from the onset, drawing the watcher into a world of voyeurism, lust and desire,” says Director, Chris Baldock. “The sultry and hot climes of Mumbai, penetrate the work as the power and allure of sex makes way for a battle of wills that goes beyond desire and towards something much more dangerous. By turns intoxicating and thrilling, this Australian premiere will leave you breathless.”
‘… moments that evoked genuine feelings of unease and panic in the audience … A suspenseful, fascinating theatre experience’. – Melbourne Observer
‘Intelligent, unsettling and hauntingly beautiful … Brought many audience members to genuine tears’. – Arts News Portal
‘… is of a quality that raises the bar for original, independently produced work … though provoking and surprisingly moving’. – The Theatre Nerd
CONFRONT YOUR PLEASURE! Season: October 23 – October 31, 2015
BOOK NOW : 9 PERFORMANCES ONLY!
Directed by Chris Baldock
When: Preview: Thursday 22 October 2015 at 8pm
Opening Night: Friday 23 October at 8pm
Saturday 24 October 8pm
Sunday 25 October 5pm
Tuesday 27 October – Friday 30 October 8pm
Saturday 31 October 5pm and 8pm
Where: The Owl and Cat 34 Swan St, Richmond
Tickets: $26.00 Full / $22.00 Concession, (+ Booking Fee) Preview Thursday October 22 $15.00
Cast: Alan Chambers, Marika Marosszeky
Warning: The play contains violence, nudity, sexually explicit action and language. Adults Only.