Control at Red Stitch Actors' Theatre

A heavily pregnant ex-ballerina, a child detective, a bitter puppeteer and a feminist pop princess hurtle towards Mars. The world is watching. Isn’t it?

On the eve of a revolution, Nicki and Caroline attempt to gain control over their lives as their A.I. superior, Alex, dances the night away.

And on New Earth, Esta & Isabelle forge hope through a new kind of relationship.

Told across several decades, from Melbourne to Mars, Keziah Warner’s startling, provocative and funny new play explores humanity’s desire to dictate how we’re perceived by others. Control delves deep into our relationship with technology: the moral ambiguities, the dependencies, the possibilities…

Rosie spoke with performer Christina O'Neill about this new Australian work and what we can expect from this exciting show. Read the full interview below:

A heavily pregnant ex-ballerina, a child detective, a bitter puppeteer and a feminist pop princess hurtle towards Mars. What drew you to this unique storyline?

 

The humour, the imagination, the humanity and the complexity of the writing. This story is a real ride!

 

This production of Control will mark the World Premiere of the new work. Why do you think Control is a story that needs to be brought to the Red Stitch stage, and why now? 

 

First of all, I think “now” is always the time to be producing new Australian works. We need to make sure we are championing new voices to contribute to our theatrical and cultural landscape. 

But secondly, I think the relationships explored in CONTROL between humanity and A.I are very timely. What role will technology play in the future? What power will we give it? And ultimately, what will humanity look like in the future? I think this is an age old question that we as a society have always been asking and why the science fiction genre is so popular and captures our imaginations.


 

Control is told across several decades, in three completely separate times, and in multiple locations. What has your experience been like working on such an epic story? How has the rehearsal process been?

 

It’s a joy to be working on different characters within one piece, with an ensemble cast. Everyone plays 2-3 characters who exist in very different settings. It allows us to explore different facets and point of views. It’s actually a lot of fun.


 

Control delves deep into our relationship with technology and the potential it has for the future. Do you think technology is developing positively or negatively, and how do these develops impact the way we create art? 

 

I think technology has the capacity to do a lot of good in the future of our world, but it really depends on who is in power and to what purpose we use it. In regards to how it affects art? Well, we’ve all seen the way film and tv has affected the way people view ‘entertainment’. How it has affected the form of storytelling, the accessibility, etc. And in turn, that has affected the way people feel about theatre (good or bad). I think if we harness these zeitgeist shifts and work with them, we can create new forms and use technology to enhance our art.


 

What do you hope to achieve with Control? What conversations do you hope to incite?

 

I think people will walk away with many questions! Some pertaining to the way technology and A.I will develop but fundamentally, this all comes back to the way we’re evolving as humanity.  What we’re putting out into the world and what we create. There are some big questions there. But it’s not up to me to say what people will think about that, come see for yourself!

 


 

RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS: 

 

Favourite production you have ever seen?

Ivo Van Hove’s Scenes from a Marriage at New York Theatre Workshop.

You’re getting on a plane tomorrow and you can go anywhere in the world, where do you go?

Japan.

 

Dream show to perform in?

Sondheim’s Passion.

Plays, musicals or operas?

Why choose? I trained in Musical Theatre, I’ve been a part of the Red Stitch Ensemble for 6 years and my husband is an opera singer. So I’m intrinsically linked with all of them. They are all beautiful art forms. All three, I say!

A hobby you have beyond the theatre?

I love to cook.

What’s next for you after this show?

Nothing locked in for the near future – watch this space.

Control is currently playing at the Red Stitch Actors' Theatre. You can get your tickets here.

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