Q&A/The Festival Sessions/Theatre

The phenomenon of pornography

4 February 2020

Charlotte Otton and Andrew Sutherland are both known for making smart and subversive theatre. They’ve joined forces in 30 Day Free Trial, to explore pornography and performance.

Ahead of 30 Day Free Trial‘s premiere at Fringe World, the two local theatre makers took some time out for a Fringe Session Q&A.

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Seesaw: Many of our readers will be familiar with your backgrounds from previous Fringe Sessions, but for those who aren’t, talk us through your respective career paths to date.

Andrew Sutherland: I trained as an actor at LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore and have been working between Perth and Singapore and wherever will have me, as a theatre-maker, performer, playwright, arts hustler etc. for the past five or six years. More recently I’ve started pursuing a practice as a poet and in other literary streams.

Charlotte Otton: I’m an improviser from Sydney who moved to go to the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts for the Performance Making Course in 2015. Previous shows of mine include Let me finish. and Feminah. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing companies in Perth in the last couple of years since graduation; The Last Great Hunt, Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, The Big Hoo Haa, Rorschach Beast, Variegated Productions, PVI collective, The Gelo Company and Renegade Productions.

Charlotte Otton and Andrew Sutherland rehearsing for ’30 Day Free Trial’. Photo: Annie Harvey.

S: And can you each tell us a bit about your artistic practice?

AS: I’m interested in Queer frameworks, intercultural frameworks, in considering and sometimes reimagining performativity and narrative/theatrical structures… I’d say I seek out the work of people who excite me to learn from and potentially work with.

Collaboration is primary to me. That’s what brings me joy and deepens what I feel able to do and explore in theatre.

CO: I’m very much into personal stories on stage, incorporating elements of music (love a bloody sing), spontaneity and filth. That’s where I’m at for the moment but I’m starting to feel a shift in what I want to explore with my practice.

S: Tell us about your 2020 Fringe World show, 30 Day Free Trial.

AS: 30 Day Free Trial is about the phenomenon of pornography — pornographic behaviours, pornography as image — but we refract it through ourselves, through our performed professional and personal selves. It’s about how we project or seek out what we want, and wanting to be wanted. Basically we’re just a girl, standing in front of a Fringe audience, asking them if they want to fuck us.

CO: 30 Day Free Trial is a work by my collaborator Andrew Sutherland and I. Two self-proclaimed horny artists, looking to explore our own performative sexuality on and off the stage.

Seesaw: What inspired you to make 30 Day Free Trial?

AS: Our browser histories.
CO: The overly sexual personas Andrew and I have created for ourselves and what they mean to us.

S: Tell us about the creative/rehearsal process for the show…

AS: A lot of chat, a lot of recording ourselves and each other, the occasional virus alert.
CO: Andrew and I started our process by sharing our favourite porn videos with each other and now my computer has a virus that I have not been able to get rid of, so…

S: What differentiates 30 Day Free Trial from the 700 or so other Fringe World shows on offer?

AS: Because Charlotte Otton and I made it, I guess.
CO: Ummm Andrew does a really beautiful poem about his asshole and I assume that sort of hard-hitting content won’t come up in the rest of the Fringe World program.

S: Who will 30 Day Free Trial appeal to?

AS: Your browser history.
CO: Anyone intrigued by the divide between their identities and desires. And for ticket sale purposes: anyone and everyone!

S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to seeing at Fringe World 2020?

AS: I’m excited for The Lion Never Sleeps by Noemie Hunter-Korros, You’ve Got Mail by Sotto, Ragnarokkr by Variegated Productions.
CO: The Bride by Nadia Collins, Ragnarokkr by Variegated Productions… really most of the things The Blue Room program for Summer Nights.

S: What is your favourite part of the playground?

AS: We swing.
CO: I bloody love a good adult sized monkey bar set.

Pictured top: Charlotte Otton and Andrew Sutherland. Photo: Annie Harvey.

30 Day Free Trial plays The Blue Room Theatre’s Summer Nights program 4-8 February 2020, as part of Fringe World.

“The Fringe Sessions” is an annual series of Q&A interviews with artists who will be appearing at Fringe World. Stay tuned for more!

Seesaw offers Q&As as part of its suite of advertising and sponsored content options. For more information head to www.seesawmag.com.au/contact/advertise

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Author —
Nina Levy

Nina Levy has worked as an arts writer and critic since 2007. She co-founded Seesaw and has been co-editing the platform since it went live in August 2017. As a freelancer she has written extensively for The West Australian and Dance Australia magazine, co-editing the latter from 2016 to 2019. Nina loves the swings because they take her closer to the sky.

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