Whitewash at Blood Moon Theatre
Whitewash hit the stage earlier this year, and with big plans to continue its journey to more stages and to be published, we spoke to the creative mind behind the exciting new work, Jodie Wolf. Have a read below:
As the writer, director and producer of Whitewash, you’re wearing a lot of hats! Where did your inspiration for the story come from and how did the process of bringing this show to life begin?
Indeed! Ha! Originally I wrote the play in 2014 and did a rehearsed reading of it in London. Inspiration began, to be honest in observing my oldest sister, who is Schizophrenic, Hypomanic. The character of Bex was based on her and it grew from there. Your writing lives. The more you water it the more it grows, you know what I mean? It grew so much and became about so many more issues that people are struggling with daily.
I came to Australia in the haze of a creative block and suddenly after being here for two years, it lifted. I decided to focus all my energy on writing and I started to create again. After tweaking the play and adding a character, I put the show together in just under three weeks. It was crazy! What a buzz!
Being an inter-disciplinary theatre practitioner, how do you feel that working across the industry influences your approach to making theatre?
I think it has enabled me to be much free-er when I create, there are no set lines you know? Art is whatever you believe it to be. Music and dance have influenced me throughout my life since I can remember and trying to incorporate the three disciplines for me just feels so right. You can’t not be effected by an emotive sound or lyric and the human body in motion, fluid or otherwise is always incredible to witness, when you combine these with words, it’s magic.
Throughout the process, what has been the greatest challenge and the greatest moment of joy thus far?
Greatest challenge was trying to organise the cast for rehearsals. With a huge cast rehearsing around their current commitments, it really was like hearding chickens! Greatest moment of joy was opening night. Seeing the cast and crew bringing my words to life, and seeing the audience laughing and then at points crying, it was so emotional, I found myself at the back of the theatre doing the same. Very proud of everyone involved. And myself actually, it’s taken me years to be able to say that about myself out loud, but I am, I’m proud of myself.
Talk to us a bit about the themes that you explore through this work – that we are all ‘pretending’ through life – and the relevance to a 2018 audience.
There are many different themes in Whitewash. One of them is Mental Health. I feel that there is a huge amount of pressure these days to appear to have everything together and to be living up to certain expectations of a narcissistic society. Everyone appears to be happy according to social media and it’s almost as though it’s shameful to say that you aren’t. Wearing a mask to those that supposedly know us best, hiding truths for fear of judgement or ridicule. That pressure to be perfect, that feeling that people have to maintain a warped idea of how we should be living is mentally and emotionally exhausting! We are human beings and it’s ok to have bad days. It’s ok to make mistakes and we should all be encouraging our friends and family to lean on each other and let it out man! You are you. Period.
How did you go about casting your show? Whilst writing did you have people in mind or did your cast and crew come about after the process? What has it been like working with this team?
I cast a couple of Actors that I had already worked with before and knew who they would play. The cast and crew very much came about after the process. We held auditions and were looking for amazing actors/ actresses but also genuinely nice people. ( I don’t do divas). This particular group of humans were fab to work with. Each and everyone of them threw themselves into their roles with such passion and commitment. The subjects that Whitewash addresses are quite hard-hitting, they approached them respectfully and truthfully. It really has been a great time had by all!
What can audiences expect from your show?
There are many moments throughout the piece that I think each person can relate to in one way or another. There is drama and comedy and some beautiful Physical Theatre pieces that have been Choreographed by the wonderful Porter James.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
Favourite production you have ever seen?
Miss Saigon on tour in the UK. Just so unbelievably powerful. The set, the vocals, the acting, it was incredible.
You’re getting on a plane tomorrow and you can go anywhere in the world, where do you go?
Sicily. Italy feels like home to me.
Dream show to direct/Dream role in any show to perform?
Anything Chekhov. Directing or acting, I’m a big fan.
Plays or musicals?
Plays. Musicals. No plays. I can’t choose! Ha!
A hobby you have beyond the theatre?
Fitness. I train six times a week in the gym, Yoga and Muay Thai. Physical and Mental wellbeing is key! (Yin and Yang!)
What’s next for you after this show?
Whitewash received rave reviews and is also now in the beginning stages of being published! Hoping to put it on for a longer run somewhere and then it’s on to rehearsals for my next Play, ‘On The Lash’.
We can't wait to see what happens next with this work and look forward to more new Australian theatre from this up and coming young playwright, Jodie.
Jodie Wolf: writer, director, producer
R MATTHEW ENGLISH AS DEREK AND L BILLY GENTLE AS TERRY
L TO R, GINA ROSE DREW AS GINA, SARAH GREENWOOD AS DEENA, MARYBETH BONNER AS SAM AND PENNY DAY AS GRACE
SARAH GREENWOOD AS DEENA, WITH- MATTHEW ENGLISH, MELODY KNAPP centre AND EMMA JACKSON
ABBIE GALLAGHER PLAYING BEX