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the AU interview: Shane Adamczak (Perth)

Trampoline is the new play from award winning Perth playwright/actor/comic Shane Adamczak. Ahead of it’s premiere and opening night on 10th October we caught up with Adamczak to find out a bit more about the play, and the other projects he’s been working on lately.

Trampoline is running every night at 830pm until 16th October at Perth’s The Blue Room Theatre. There will also be a special AUSLAN interpreted performance on the 17th October. For more information and tickets visit www.blueroom.org.au/events/trampoline/.

What is the story or inspiration behind Trampoline?

When I was living in Montreal, I decided to start a blog, recording the dreams of this character, Matt. I kept going on, and it started to develop his character, and the people in his world, and the people that he meets. And I sort of fell in love with him a bit, and decided to write a play based on him and the blog.

So I sort of took the ideas from that and changed it slightly. Made it a little bit darker. Made the characters a bit older and rounded it all out a bit. But the story is basically about Matt, who has these very vivid lucid dreams, which affect the way he acts in the real world. He meets this girl, who changes his whole life.

So it’s not your average boy meets girl kind of story then.

Yeah, it’s a dark comedy, boy meets girl story, it’s basically the story of two very strange characters.

Given that you’ve been living in Canada lately, what made you bring the show to Perth for its premiere?

It turned out my brother is getting married, so I was coming back to Australia for a bit. And Weeping Spoon, my company, have debuted a lot of our shows through The Blue Room and developed a lot of our touring works here. So it’s always felt like the perfect place to do it.

Plus the cast who have all been overseas; Amanda has been in LA, I was in Canada, Daniel’s in Chicago and Damon, the director, has just been on tour as well. It just happened that we were all going to be in town whilst the show was happening. So it just felt right and natural.

What do you have planned for the play once this run has finished?

The plan so far, hopefully, is to next year tour it around the Canadian fringe circuit. We’ve been offered a season in Montreal at a theatre called Mainline Theatre which is sort of similar institution to The Blue Room over in Montreal. So we’ve got a season happening there in May next year, and then hopefully touring it for a couple of months across the Canadian fringes.

This won’t be your first production at The Blue Room, what is it about the venue that makes you keep coming back?

I don’t really know. I think I’ve always just liked the community vibe of the Blue Room. The space itself is beautiful and the people who work there are great. It’s always just been a really great opportunity and place for people to try out new work.

Also, it’s a place for established artists to bring new product and test it out on the local market before they take it elsewhere. I know a lot of the shows that start off here at The Blue Room end up touring and one of their focuses at the moment is creating touring works.

You’ve been living in Canada for a little while now, what have you been up to so far?

My main focus other there has been doing some theatre and improv. I developed a improv show other there called Captain Spaceship, which is in a Sci-Fi serial format, which is a lot of fun. We’re bringing it other here in November.

I was in a production of The Rocky Horror Show which was a lot of fun. One of the main things that I did as well was a play called Vicious Circles, which was a play about the Sex Pistols, which is coming over to Australia early next year as well.

Rocky Horror and then the Sex Pistols, that’s quite a shift in tone.

Yeah it was definitely a big shift to go from playing Brad in Rocky Horror, to playing Johnny Rotten. That was quite a shift, but it was an amazing challenge as an actor as well, to go from one extreme to the other – and hopefully pull it off.

Going back to what you were saying about Captain Spaceship and improv, have you done a lot of improv work in the past?

Yeah, I’ve been a member of the Big Hoo-Haa for seven or eight years now, and then did a lot while I was at Uni as well. I’ve been to the National Theatre Sports finals a few times as well. I then did a lot whilst I was over in Canada as well.

What is it about it that appeals to you?

I don’t know. I think improv is something that really helps you as an actor. It helps you to be able to just roll with the punches and go with anything. It keeps you on your toes, it’s exciting because it’s always fresh and always new.

You can’t really prepare for it. I mean you can rehearse and practice games and practice formats, but you really have to just get out there. It’s about trusting yourself and trusting the people you work with. Working with people who’ll have your back, and if anything goes wrong you work each other through it. That all carries through to the dynamics of theatre performance as well, you’ve got to trust the people that you’re working with and know they’ve got your back.

I’m probably most familiar with your work about Zach Adams, do you have any future plans for the character?

Probably not for a while, I’ve kind of shelved that project. I’ve written four or five Zach Adams shows, and I’ve toured them around Australia and started from the beginning again in Canada, and toured them for the last threes years.

So I’m kind of at a point now where I’ve done it. I’ve done all the shows I want to do, and I’ve reworked them and done the festival circuit with them. I do have plans for another show, but I’m focusing more on ensemble writing for now.

Do you prefer the one man solo show set up to the ensemble pieces, like Trampoline? Or vice versa?

This play (Trampoline) has been a real delight, because there’s Ben, Amanda and Damon. They’re three people I really respect and like working with. I knew I could trust them.

I like the solo thing, because I have control over the whole project and you just have that thing where if anything goes wrong, it’s up to you to fix it. And if anything goes right you get to take all the credit; whereas with Trampoline we get to share it around a bit more.

But no, I like touring solo, it’s nice, but it’s a very fun thing to be able to come back and work with people I like, trust and really respect.

So what are your plans for the future? Is it a case of going back to Canada and continuing focusing on theatre work?

Yeah, I’m here until the end of Fringe World and then have the Sex Pistols play, which I’m taking to the Adelaide Fringe, I’m producing it with the Montreal company who did it originally.

Then I’m back to Montreal for a couple of months, because I’ve got an Artist in Residence happening over there with the theatre; so they’re bringing me back to do some workshops and a run of Trampoline and a run of the Zack Adams shows. And then hopefully doing the fringe circuit again after that.

Sounds like you’re going to be quite busy then!

Yeah it’s nice. It’s nice to have things booked in advance too.

And I think you said you were going to be bringing Captain Spaceship over in November too.

Yeah that’s going to be happening at Lazy Susan’s Comedy Den every Thursday. It’s basically improvised Star Trek, that’s the simplest way to explain it. It’s a serial, we play the same characters each week, and each performance is like a new episode of the show. And the audience helps us with suggestions on what the episode should be about at the start.

It’s all completely improvised, and sometimes things will carry on to the next week, so we can have 'to be continued' and reoccurring characters and reoccurring villains. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a ridiculously silly show, but it’s so much fun and the audiences love getting involved with that one.