New work-in-progress explores our subconscious

Following two weeks of creative development, director Katt Osborne and multidisciplinary artist Tarryn Gill recently presented a series of vignettes from their new work-in-development, Unheimlich.

Set in the intimacy of the home, the piece explores how our innermost thoughts and subconscious can affect our relationships, as the mundane and repetitive slowly become toxic. The interaction between performers and Tarryn’s giant masks creates an immersive, surreal, dark and whimsical world. The work reveals how the ego and the heart can fight with each other, bringing our darkest emotions to light.

Our Marketing Coordinator, Cecile Lucas stayed after the showing to ask some burning questions to director Katt Osborne.

How was the creative development process like with all the creatives in the room?

I was very happy with our process. The creatives working on this project are all experienced and everyone contributed a huge amount as we built images, material and discovered the style and tone together. I am very collaborative as a maker and director so having everyone work together intensively and bring ideas was fantastic.

I always love to have the designers as part of the creation process as it allows the aesthetic and atmosphere of a work to develop organically and in constant conversation with myself and the performers. As a result, we were able to produce a showing that contained moments and story ideas that were integrated together. Which puts us in a great position for the next stage and is particularly helpful as a director because I’ve had the opportunity to test material with design, performance and text and now can see more clearly where it can go from here.

Thea Constantino provided text in response to your concept, Tarryn’s masks and themes to assist in the creation of the work. Why did you decide to work in this way?

The text that Thea provided was invaluable to giving us a stronger sense of story and narrative to leap from. Tarryn’s masks and the performer’s bodies were the main jumping off point, but a text response to the concept allowed us to go deeper. We were able to ground the abstract and surreal nature of the work into a simple situation – a couple going through a break up and the thoughts and violence of those thoughts that are hidden deep within them and that haunt them.

As a Director, this helped me structure ideas for scenes and improvisations. The poetic nature of Thea’s text also pushed us to go into darker and more heightened territory than I would have naturally gone, so it was excellent to have the push.


What were your expectations going into the process and what did you achieve?

I went in wanted to find a strong sense of style, aesthetic and mood which is exactly what we achieved, so that’s always a good feeling! We pushed quite hard to get there and I’m happy with where we sit now. I think we also have a strong idea for the narrative but need to work out how the piece will be structured. Image-based story telling takes a long time to put together, so it will take us time to storyboard the show.

What were the most challenging aspects of the process and what were some of the breakthroughs?

The most challenging was the intensity of the process. This was self-inflicted as I was really focused on getting far enough along in the time we had to set us up for the next stage of structuring and consolidation. We pushed ourselves to keep making leaps forward every day.

Generating and editing are two different process and we spent week one mostly generating, and week two was a lot of editing and trying to dig to the core of the work. And that part can be quite grueling especially when you have to go through that mental process in the room while everyone is present. Sometimes in a development you just want a day or two to think about it, but the nature of working with performers and contracting is that you really have to work full time to get the most out of it, so the thinking and decision-making pressure can be quite intense in that environment.

The breakthroughs were really realising that the most effective ideas were the simplest and accepting that we could create space for the audience to find meaning and that it doesn’t have to be intellectual for them.

What are the next steps to get it ready for presentation?

We will be working through the storyboard structuring process, nailing the physical language and ‘rules’ of the world as well as working with a set designer to image the space for the work (something that is essential to the story-boarding process!). We are lucky enough to have some funding to go through this consolidation process. Once all these pieces are in place then it will be back to the rehearsal room and in front of an audience hopefully in late 2019/early 2020!

Unheimlich has been supported by the LOFT program and the Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries.

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