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In conversation with Mitchell Holland

"The play doesn’t slap you across the face with a message, but it definitely jabs you in the ribs..." We catch up with actor Mitchell Holland who reflects on Caitríona Daly's Duck Duck Goose where he plays Chris Quinn, a young man who finds himself grasping for answers and desperately seeking truths under a continously changing moral landscape. Presented by award-winning THAT Production Company Duck Duck Goose is at Theatre Works 3 -13 April.


Q: Without revealing any spoilers, what is Duck Duck Goose about?


A: Duck Duck Goose centres around the character of Chris Quinn and the allegations of sexual assault against his friends. We are with Chris on a sleepless night as he recalls conversations from over the two-year allegations. Trying to unravel what was a lie and what was the truth, we witness the impact of other people’s actions that led him to make mistakes and becoming deeply entangled by association of the accused.


Q: How do you navigate the delivery of sensitive and challenging themes on stage?


A: Empathy. Empathy should be at the heart of the process. This isn’t to excuse any behaviour but rather to deliver from a truthful and vulnerable place. Caitríona Daly does an amazing job in her writing by hiding subtext in plain sight. We want to show what the characters are saying behind closed doors, in their private group messages and not shy away from what drives these actions. Hiding anything from the audience would mean disrespecting victims of sexual assault and be misinterpreted of excusing the actions of perpetrators. You will see how easily conversations can be smudged into the grey and how that same ambiguity is true in life. So, it’s with empathy that we can be open to these conversations.


Q: If you could invite anyone to Duck Duck Goose, who would it be and why?


A: Honestly, I’d like to see young men and women, 15 years and up. I didn’t recognise it at their age, but there is a cultural undercurrent that we are all too easily swept up in. The play doesn’t slap you across the face with a message, but it definitely jabs you in the ribs to say “hey, that’s pretty messed up behaviour right! Don’t be like that.” And with that said I’d still encourage all demographics to come along because it’s a universal conversation and a healthy one that’s overdue. If you were looking for a gentler invitation into the topic, here is.


Q: Is there any specific feeling or notion that comes with presenting Duck Duck Goose to a Melbourne audience?


A: Melbourne always has something going on! I love it for that. A drag show, new bar/restaurant opening, sporting event, comedy gig, live music, art show or class can be found any night of the week. There’s always something to fit the mood you are in, and it is such a privilege to be a part of that. It might have Irish roots, but it’s a play that can live globally and Melbourne is a welcoming city for hard hitting international premieres!


Q: What kind of conversations do you hope Duck Duck Goose ignites amongst the audience?


A: I’d encourage audiences to discuss changes in behaviour for the better and how they relate to the culture of consensual sex. Do a lot of listening. When the conversation gets running it’s easy to feel the urge to jump in but keep listening. Actively listen to what is being shared with you and listen to what you are sharing with others. Be interested, listen, and feel heard.



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