TS: Hi there! So you were key part of the making of Cockfight…what’s the work all about?
KH: Cockfight looks at the dynamics of male relationships, putting a magnifying glass on the transition of power between two men, one older, one younger. It deals directly with the moment when a student surpasses his teacher and the emotion of that shift, the fragility of aging and the redundancy that men feel when they are on the other side of their peak.
But for me it’s always been about Gav and Josh (the performers) and their real relationship, one that I have been blessed to witness over the course of the last 14 years. They moved from student and teacher to director and performer to Josh becoming Gavin’s right hand man to co-directing (in the making of this work) to now where they both run their own companies.
We wove the ideas around that reality, using the fictional place of an office. The office was interesting to us because it is seen as a classic masculine setting for a power play. We break down the fiction to reveal the truth. In the end it’s not only a Cockfight we witness. Gavin and Josh have a lot of trust so what emerges is their compassion, connection, vulnerability and care for each other.
TS: The team are all listed as co-directors…can you describe the creative process on the show?
KH: The Farm often use an approach that there is no director. Or the director is in fact the show itself and we are all just gathering around to try and listen to it. Often it means at the start of a process we might be pulling in different directions creatively but as the show emerges from its cocoon and we all start to see it for what it is, it becomes pretty obvious how we should feed it, nurture it and help it to fly.
That kind of metaphor makes it sound easy, which it’s not of course. There are a lot of arguments, emotions and confusion along the journey, but we try to trust our intuition and always come back to listening to the piece and what it wants to be. Fortunately, we’ve been working in this collaborative way for a lot of years, so we’re used to being annoyed with each other at times. It’s in those moments that it’s time to let the ego step aside and the choice is always clearer from that perspective.