I (Love) You at the Old 505 Theatre
I (Love) You is set in the not-too-distant future. It tracks the explosive, intimate space between two individuals whose trust rapidly and unexpectedly decays as government-regulated technology, implanted in their bodies, begins to fracture them from each other and their reality.
Rosie spoke with playwright Eliza Oliver about this new Australian work and how it has developed since its first read last year. Read the full interview below:
I (Love) You tracks the explosive, intimate space between two individuals whose trust rapidly and unexpectedly decays as government-regulated technology, implanted in their bodies, begins to fracture them from each other and their reality. What inspired the creation of this ‘not-so-futuristic’ work?
I started writing this piece in 2017 when Trump got elected and I started to freak out about truth in media. That being said, the play is not at all about truth in media. That incident gave me a starting off point to do some genre-bending and then my goofy, feminist insides just took over.
Your work has been featured at many significant theatre companies, such as Old 505 Theatre, Belvoir and ATYP. What content is important for you to bring to Australian stages in your work, and why is it so important to hear fresh Australian voices?
I guess I'm a romantic. I think theatre 'should' talk about what's happening in the world. New Australian work allows audiences to engage in current, relevant ideas. It also means the form is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, which I love because I'm always being challenged and I don't know what I’ll get when I go to see a new show.
I (Love) You premiered at the Old 505 last year as part of the Rapid Reads program, a festival which showcases the newest work from Australia’s most contemporary emerging playwrights. Has the work developed since then, and if so, how did the response to this first iteration shape its development?
Woah nelly it has changed. My dramaturgical sidekick, Sarah Hadley (who directed the rapid read) and I are both interested in female bodily autonomy and so we used the old draft as a jumping point and allowed these ideas to meld together. I'm not sure if that was influenced by the response at Rapid Reads directly - probably more to do with my compulsion to constantly re-draft things.
What drew you to the Old 505 space, and why did you think this theatre was the right place to showcase your new work?
I’m a resident playwright at the Old 505 this year so on a personal note, it’s really nice to be homed there for I (love) You. Newtown feels like the right political/intellectual home for this play - it's young and speaks to a younger group of people who are concerned about their futures. Also our kickass designer, Ruth Arnold has built a Bellissimo set to allow the audience to constantly survey the performers which is specific to this space.
What do you hope to achieve with I (Love) You, and what do you hope the audience leaves the space still talking about?
I hope they feel a bit icky, I hope they laugh. I hope they think about how to find a space for women (and other marginalised groups) to author their bodies in the future.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS:
Favourite production you have ever seen?
Can I cheat the question and tell you my fave playwright because my production list is VVV long? It’s Jen Silverman
You’re getting on a plane tomorrow and you can go anywhere in the world, where do you go?
Dream show to create?
A farce/musical/comedy with glitter canons and dogs, set in space
Plays or musicals?
A hobby you have beyond the theatre?
I make clothes! And I read a butt tonne.
What’s next for you after this show?
I'm working STCSA as part of their residency program on a new show called Hang in There Baby. It’s a live recording of a queer sitcom, it’s very big and pretty silly. I haven't written it yet though so I’m going to a cabin in Finland in August to do that.
I (Love) You opens at the Old 505 on June 20, 2019. You can get your tickets here.