Backstage

MEET OUR REPLANTED ARTISTS: Izabella Yena & Benjamin Nichol

In preparation for our upcoming REPLANTED festival, we decided to sit down and get to know the creatives behind each of these highly anticipated shows. Last but not least, it’s time to meet Benjamin Nichol and Izabella Yena as they chat with us about their intimate and touching new show, kerosene.

What is your role on the project?

IY: I play Millie and along with Ben (who wrote this gem) we’ve been creating the staged version together.

BN: Ditto. Ditto. I pitched this concept to Bella during Melbourne’s first lockdown, she mercifully said yes, and we’ve been collaborating since.

Star sign:

BN: Taurus; Scorpio rising &; Pisces moon
Bella: Gemini, lots of moons, all the suns

In one sentence, give us the 411 on your work in our REPLANTED festival:

Sad/funny character study into love and all its extremes; the joy, the hope, the risks; what we will endure in its name and what we will do to hold onto it.

Highlight of 2020:

BN: I ran a half marathon, did two semesters in political economics and started my Cert 4 in disability. Also, I wrote this play!
IY: Ok wow Ben is amazing, I managed to make caramel slice from scratch and I don’t want to say I’m a chef but have you ever seen Gordon Ramsey and I in the same room?

Favourite lockdown guilty pleasure:

BN: I finally invested in skincare (turns out it’s not a scam!) and, during a very low week, binged nearly the entirety of Sex and the City.
IY: Colour coordinating everything in my apartment.

What are you watching?

BN: High Maintenance; John Waters filmography.
IY: The Crown (duh) and Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

What are you reading?

BN: The First Bad Man by Miranda July & Boy Will Be Boys by Clementine Ford.
IY: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell.

What are you listening to?

BN: Podcasts!! ‘You’re Wrong About’ / ‘Our Idol Archives’ / ‘Dolly Parton’s America’… also Janet Jackson.
IY: The Guilty Feminist podcast!! Also always Elton John.

When you’re not being creative, what could we expect to find you doing?

BN: Sleeping / killing succulents.

IY: Re listening to all the one direction albums in order, also exercising!

Tell us a little bit about the rehearsal process so far…

BN: It’s such a sick joy working with friends who you enjoy the company of for creative and social reasons in equal measure. Bella and I do a lot of gossiping and laughing, before frantically spending the afternoon desperately trying to make up for lost time.
IY: I also do Harry Potter impressions and Ben gets mad.

What does 2021 hold for you?

BN: I’ll be having my newest play Croydon read as part of the Melbourne Theatre Companies Cybec Electric season in February, then touring another new piece of Australian writing across regional Victoria in May (this time as an actor).
IY: Straight after kerosene I’ll be jumping into Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes at Melbourne Theatre Company and hanging out with my dog an obscene amount.

kerosene will run for two weeks from the 20th to the 31st of January. To keep up to date with the projects of Izabella and Benjamin, you can follow them via their instagram accounts at @benjaminichol and @izabellayena.

You can further support their work via the ACF crowd funding page here!

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