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In Conversation with Flick

"The success of the fIrst show, with the 3 seasons in 12 months, was overwhelming and gratifying …now it’s this great experiment to see how fans of the fIrst show respond to us playing with the formula this time around. It has plenty of nods and formal similarities to the fIrst - there’s defInitely a SLUTNIK™ style." Writer and producer of the SLUTNIK™ phenomenon, Flick, reFlects on their journey to creating the highly anticipated sequel landing at Theatre Works 7 September.

Q: For those new to the SLUTNIK™ universe, what is SLUTNIK™ and where did the inspiration behind the original show come from?

A: Originally, the first SLUTNIK™ was this amalgamation of a bunch of ideas. I was inspired first by Real Women Have Bodies (Carmen Maria Machado) in partnership with the concept of lesbian space cannibals. Rather than setting out to engage with politics, its early drafts were inescapably laden with concepts I was talking about in my personal life at the time; the relationship between queer women and hormonal contraception, the lack of autonomy of female bodies in the medical system, an interest in worldbuilding and creating interconnected stories between live performances as an act of sustainability, wanting to create stories about hope and joy in an audacious way, the sci fi genre, wanting to make a big fat fun lesbo show. These early ideas formed an out-there concept that honestly did not connect with the first few people I pitched it to even as an idea, until I met Tansy Gorman who was immediately on board… and the rest is history!

Q: What are you most looking forward to exploring with this sequel?

A: Challenging myself and the universe to grow and become more ambitious. What was most exciting about the first SLUTNIK™ was that it was always supposed to be the first of a five-show arc, but obviously you never know how things will track/what will actually happen. The success of the first show, with the 3 seasons in 12 months, was overwhelming and gratifying …now it’s this great experiment to see how fans of the first show respond to us playing with the formula this time around. It has plenty of nods and formal similarities to the first - there’s definitely a SLUTNIK™ “style”, but we’ve upped the stakes and drama by bringing the boys in to embody our alien enemy. I’ve never felt more connected to the idea that nerves and excitement are two sides of the same coin!

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the collaborators you have assembled for this project?

A: As always, I’m creating with Enya Daly as dramaturg and Tansy Gorman as director. We all work dramaturgically as a trio from genesis to performance, from the first iteration of the first SLUTNIK™ til now. It’s been an enriching experience to work with a core team over multiple shows, challenging ourselves to continually push the work to get bigger and better.

On the creative team this season we have SLUTNIK™ alumni Mia Tuco (#4 in SLUTNIK™ during Melbourne Fringe 2022, and Adelaide Fringe 2023) on board as choreographer. She has a brilliant sense of bodies in space, and great instincts with movement/dance, so it was beyond exciting to have a way to bring her back for this instalment of the franchise. We’re also bringing back crowd favourite Matilda Rose Gibbs to reprise the role of MOTHERBOARD (who she played in Melbourne Fringe 2022, and Adelaide Fringe 2023). Newly on the creative team are Max Tassell as research dramaturg, Derrick Duan on AV design, Emily Busch on costume design, Georgie Wolf on lighting, with Harry Dowling (production manager) and Tansy Gorman (director) having collaborated on the set design. We also have the brilliant Jemma Law as stage manager. Finally, aside from Matilda, our cast includes New Zealand’s Ethan Morse and Ben Ashby, as well as local talent Sara Reed, Michael Cooper, William Strom and Ben Smith.

Q: What has been a rehearsal highlight so far?

A: It’s the same every SLUTNIK™… whenever we have learnt all the dances and run whatever our opening number is… the prod team just whooping and hollering and the cast having so much fun. That unadulterated joy and pride always reminds me of the end goal of the SLUTNIK™ series: to entertain and embolden.

Q: Are there any tips you would give emerging queer playwrights about writing for independent theatre?

A: I think it’s the same for everyone: the key is in figuring out who you are and how you work. Model your expectations and plans to your own way of working, rather than some invisible timeline. Aside from that… Write a play. Listen to feedback. Have a thick skin, strong convictions, and grit. Independent theatre is disgustingly difficult in what it asks of you regarding time, resources, being rejected, giving your blood/sweat/tears etc. so be prepared for that, and be okay with taking as much time as you need in consideration of that.

Finally… one of the best exercises I’ve been made to do is articulate what kind of theatre I like to make… and then describe the theatre I like to watch. If there’s a difference then that’s something to interrogate for yourself, I think. My point of view is that live performance is privileged in having the undivided attention of audiences who could theoretically be home streaming a show for a lower price… so I really think our responsibility above all is actually to entertain. I try to marry all my other goals with the fact I’m in the entertainment industry - and that’s the crux of the job.

Q: If you could invite anyone to SLUTNIK™ 2 who would it be?

A: GOODNESS!! I would invite anyone and everyone (lame, sorry). Fans of the first, I want them all to come for sure. Also… men. SLUTNIK™ by Flick 7-16 September | Theatre Works BOOK TICKETS


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