About to fly the coup

29 January 2018

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SALT is a WA theatre collective making its debut at this year’s Fringe World with the highly-anticipated Minus One Sister, by award-winning Melbourne playwright Anna Barnes. It’s a last hurrah in Perth for director Riley Spadaro, who’ll be heading off to Sydney to further his skills at NIDA this year as soon as the season is over. Seesaw managed to catch him for a sneaky Fringe Session, mid-season.

Riley Spadaro
Riley Spadaro is about to head to Sydney to study directing at NIDA.

Seesaw: When did you first know you wanted to be an artist?
Riley Spadaro: The term ‘artist’ terrifies me… I much prefer ‘storyteller’ – there’s something warm about it. I have always loved a good story. A good story can irrevocably change you. I saw Luca Guadagnino’s latest film Call Me By Your Name a fortnight ago and it is still with me. That’s the stuff.

S: Did you do formal training, learn on the job, or a bit of both?
RS: I have just graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (Performance Making) and I am about to spend the next year studying directing at NIDA. I spent a large portion of last year working as an assistant director on as many projects as possible – including Trouble in Tahiti for Lost and Found Opera, An Almost Perfect Thing for The Blue Room Theatre, and, most recently, Barbara and the Camp Dogs for Belvoir St Theatre, which was recently nominated for four Sydney Theatre Awards, including Best New Australian Work. I have also interned with Performing Lines WA and Playwriting Australia.

S: Career highlight so far?
RS: Working as Leticia Caceres’ assistant director on Barbara and the Camp Dogs was pretty magical. Leticia is a fiercely talented director – the energy she brings into the room is electric. Watching her in action is a master class in giving your whole spirit over to the work.

S: What do you love most about what you do?
RS: Falling totally in love with people who are far more creative and talented than I am.

S: Are you new to Fringe World?
RS: Yes, I am a total Fringe World virgin.

S: What made you decide to give Fringe World a whirl?
RS: I don’t quite know. Maybe it was Anna Barnes’ killer writing, or maybe it was because I was reading a bunch of Clementine Ford at the time and feeling existentially guilty about participating in a system which preferences my experiences over the experiences of my female colleagues and peers. I am proud to say that we have assembled a team of fiercely talented women who are who have brought every inch of their spirit into the room, every single day. Words they have taught me to speak over and over again: “I don’t know, I’m listening, I don’t know, I’m listening…”

S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to seeing at Fringe?
RS: I am jetting back to Sydney the morning after Minus One Sister opens, but – if timing allowed – I would definitely be buying tickets to see Emily Steel’s 19 Weeks in the COMO Treasury’s pool, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Olivier Award-nominated Fleabag. Also, check out Minus One Sister’s own Isaac Diamond in Less Light, presented by Summer Nights and Lazy Yarns!

‘Minus One Sister’ plays the Blue Room Theatre until February 3.

Pictured top: Skye Beker, Phoebe Sullivan and Stephanie Somerville in ‘Minus One Sister’.


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