Theatre in Preview
Like any good journey - an idea can start at one place and take you somewhere completely different.
'Dead Cargo', the first of the Metro Arts Independents productions to be staged this year, it was first an idea sown into the mind of Nigel Poulton (who is well known for his stage combat work) when hearing about some of the journeys undertaken by refugees.
â€œA lot of the script started with stories of refugees coming here from Vietnam, and stories of displacement,â€ co-writer and performer in the piece Tim Dashwood says of its genesis. â€œBut we've greatly changed those stories â€¦ one theme of the show is suitcases â€¦ and what we carry with us.â€
The first time Dashwood - a versatile actor whose last performing role was in a musical - tried his hand at writing material, he says it was an experience that taught him a lot about good collaboration. â€œIt took us a while, it was about 12-18 months with it bouncing around in our heads,â€ he says.
â€œNigel was good at adding that absurdist element to the story, while I want to be more literal, and he'd say that was too obvious or too easy. But sometimes when we hit a wall that way, I would suggest something that could help move the story along.â€
More than just a story, the play is also a showcase for 'biomechanics' - a physical theatre system pioneered in the 1900s by Russian director Vsevolod Meyerhold.
â€œThis is a culmination of years of working together,â€ Dashwood says. â€œThere is a system for training actors called biomechanics - it's like other more well known acting methods like the Stanislavski or the Strasberg method â€¦ but this one brings out physical styles.â€
While Dashwood and Poulton are long time students of the techniques involved in the system - the other two performers in the play, Belinda Raisin and Deb Samson, had to learn the acting techniques from scratch in order to play their roles in the absurdist work. â€œWeâ€™ve had to teach the other actors and have had 5.30am training sessions on top of rehearsals for the play, so it has been a lot of work for them,â€ Dashwood says. â€œAnd we both are still learning as well, so it's been really full on.â€
â€˜Dead Cargoâ€™ will play at the Metro Arts Theatre from March 9 to 26.