OUR SOLAR SYSTEM Comes to Adelaide Fringe 2020
Amongst all the eclectic and exciting performances on show for Adelaide Fringe 2020, a new theatre company of South Australian artists will premiere its first show as part of Holden Street Theatre's 18th birthday season.
Presented by new arts collective Safari Street Creative, the play titled Our Solar System is to be the inaugural production staged under its banner during the Fringe's 60th anniversary- a banner that is hoped will become a regular edition to the local circuit of independent arts practitioners in Adelaide.
An intimate one-man performance, Our Solar System is a retrospective about time, place and how it shapes us- not just by the choices we make, but even more by the ones we don't. The story is told by an unnamed protagonist- a 30-year old office worker returning home from living abroad to pay his respects at the funeral of someone who had a great impact on his life- a solitary fisherman from the Yorke Peninsula. Lost in his life and perpetually afraid, the man looks back on the time he spent living with the fisherman and his wild daughter as a young boy on a deserted beach a million miles from nowhere- and how this seemingly unassuming moment in time impacted his life beyond his understanding.
The writer of the work, artist and playwright Spencer Scholz said, "The play is a nostalgic love-letter to the ocean, drawing on a lot of my own experience growing up around the South Australian coast and Yorkes in particular, so it's a very personal work in that regard. I love writers like Colin Thiele and Tim Winton as they have a voice and style that captures the rural side of Australian life so vividly and with a lot of romanticism so I hoped to emulate that in this play as best I could".
"The name and core theme of the play also comes from the idea of how the trajectory of our whole lives can revolve around one moment, and how that moment of either bravery or fear ripples through time. The idea of taking responsibility for your own happiness is something that I think everyone struggles with from one time or another so I was keen to try and present that in a work that intersected different moments in a person's life simultaneously- how the past might haunt their future and vice versa."
The manifesto of Safari Street Creative is simply to create new Australian works without ceremony and celebrate raw, simple and innovative stories that excite audiences through a variety of mediums - theatre, visual art, writing and film. The hope is for the company to also branch out and collaborate with fellow companies in Adelaide and interstate in the near and distant future.
Both Spencer Scholz and the director of Our Solar System Samantha Riley- a couple for the past ten years and now living in Adelaide- have always looked to find ways to create authentic theatre experiences for audiences, which has led them to stage Our Solar System outside of the traditional 'blackbox' style theatre at Holden Street and in the intimate open-air space of the Barbara Henry Garden. This site-specific style has been a staple of their work in Melbourne with their previous venture Educated Rats Theatre Company, which included performing David Williamson's The Removalists in the open front-bar of the Brunswick Hotel and Reg Cribb's The Return in an underground carpark in Collingwood.
Director Samantha Riley said, "The play takes place in the building outside of the funeral so we wanted a space that could represent that, the mallee scrubland of Yorke Peninsula and show the physical passage of time. We use the natural light of the space so that the play begins in daylight and ends in sunset."
"But more than that, there is a life to site-specific performance that you just can't replicate any other way. You go into a theatre and everything is so tightly controlled that the 'performance' element of it can almost be stifling. In site-specific works you're at the mercy of your surroundings. There's street-noise, city ambience, wind, birds- everything has an immediacy and possibility to it which is truly energizing for an audience. There iss no theatre spotlights, no sound design, no set or stage. It's just the actor and the performance. And I think that can be daunting but there is also something dangerous and truly exciting about that kind of storytelling. Anything can happen".
Both graduates from the University of Ballarat Arts Academy, Spencer Scholz and Samantha Riley have cut their teeth working for some of the country's biggest and most respected arts organisations.
Growing up in the Barossa Valley, Spencer Scholz has since worked as an actor, director and creative for Melbourne theatre companies such as Australian Shakespeare Company, Red Stitch Actors Theatre, La Lama Theatre, Aunty Donna and Melbourne Theatre Company.
Hailing initially from Mildura, Samantha Riley has performed nationally & internationally on some of the country's biggest musical productions, including The Boyfriend (The Production Company), Australia's premiere production of Addams Family: The Musical and the most recent Gordon Frost production of Annie: The Musical alongside Anthony Warlow, Chloe Dallimore and Todd McKenney. She now works as a local theatre maker and director with her most recent credits being with South Australian Playwrights Theatre for productions such as The Middle Way and Bordertown.
Our Solar System was also successful in being selected for BankSA Support Acts, the Adelaide Fringe initiative which allows BankSA customers to attend a handful of local and emerging performances with $10 tickets on selected shows.
* Play contains strong coarse language and adult themes.