What was your favourite room out of the 34? And which Edgar Allen Poe story was the hardest to transform?
KIRSTEN: Ooo that’s a hard one. I think… so the room I found the scariest when we were making the production was actually ‘The Artist Studio’ it’s completely white and has hundreds of portraits of Virginia (played by Bobbie-Jean Henning) So every time I would walk into that room while we were building the show I would be like ‘this is so creepy’ and so I love it for the fact that it is so creepy and obsessive.
This is so hard….I think my favourite room is the Tell-Tale Heart Room and that was actually one of the last rooms we created. It’s very 2-dimensional and we had some amazing artist’s work on the production. The room was realised by Lacey Malice a scenic artist who did the 2-dimensional painting of it. But it was always a room we talked about because the beating of the heart in that story is very omnipresent so the sound design of the heartbeat had to be quite visceral. I am happy because I feel that we have been successful in creating that tension. We have physical movement in the room so it feels like it is shuttering along with the heartbeat. The visual is 2-dimensional but then suddenly you have this thing that affects your body, because you can feel and see the room moving, closing in on your guilt.
The one Danielle has always wanted to have in there but we haven’t quite found the right way to do it is ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ but we don’t need to have it in there because we have such a great mix already.
Do you think that audience members with no prior knowledge of Poe will find themselves befuddled?
KIRSTEN: No, we are seeing that they will not. You don’t need to understand everything you just need to come with an open mind and a brave soul.
This production goes against traditional theatre, by giving the audience agency. Have you come across any difficulties since the opening?
KIRSTEN: It has definitely worked to our benefit. What we have seen is the vast 95% of people that come absolutely love it, for how it is a different experience of theatre. The other few people would rather have the work delivered to them in the traditional sense. That’s what is so exciting about it, the responsibility for your own journey. It proved to us that Sydney was waiting and needed something like this.
We’re breaking all the conventions, all the rules and behaviours that are usually required of theatre members have collapsed. It is a little Marina Abramovic in a sense that you can interact with the actors, and the experience is dependent on what you the audience member adds to it.
The Actress (inspired by Eliza Poe, Edgar’s mother) played by Megan Drury is extraordinarily brave, multiple times a night she drowns, and then she has a beautiful moment with people were she reads audience behaviour and selects people that she would be comfortable with to have an exclusive intimate reaction. (The actress strips naked in a tight dressing room, asking for dressing assistance)