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BWW Interview: Johnny Balbuziente and Cece Peters from shake & stir's FOURTHCOMING

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Fourthcoming is running at QPAC from the 23rd of October.  

Fourthcoming is a new choose-your-own-adventure romantic comedy by multi-award winning theatre company shake & stir, starring Johnny Balbuziente (Married At First Sight) and Cece Peters (Playing for Keeps, True Story with Hamish & Andy, The Wrong Girl) as it's lead players. Here's what Balzbuziente and Peters had to say about the experience of creating this work so far...

BWW Interview: Johnny Balbuziente and Cece Peters from shake & stir's FOURTHCOMING

Virag: Fourthcoming follows the story of Gwen who embarks on a series of four first dates with one explosive goal in mind, to find her Mr Right Now. How's Gwen different from our other romantic comedy heroines?

Johnny: Gwen is the boss of this story. It is her story. It is so refreshing to have a strong, intelligent, sexually-expressive, up-front and hilarious female protagonist that doesn't shy away from owning what she really wants. Nelle Lee (writer) has created a gem and Cece Peters is gold.

Cece: Gwen isn't looking for the traditional happy ending. She's trying to find intimacy in a hook up culture. Not future comparability or a secure partnership but rather someone she can be in the present with, in the moment. Fully. Without judging herself or them. Nothing more. She's a bit of a hot mess though. So don't expect evenly paced break throughs.

BWW Interview: Johnny Balbuziente and Cece Peters from shake & stir's FOURTHCOMING

Virag: What's the rehearsal process like for a choose-your-own-adventure theatre work? I imagine that it differs quite a lot from working with a script with a single ending.

Johnny: VERY different, some would say double (or is it quadruple) the amount of work involved in a normal production. The audience each night, will only see a small portion of the overall amount of rehearsed/designed/tech'd stage time - and each show still goes for 80 minutes! Come once and I bet you'll want to come again! ;)

Cece: We all have sliding door moments in our lives. It's been fun exploring multiple options for a character. I think they all play out in equally valuable and entertaining ways.

BWW Interview: Johnny Balbuziente and Cece Peters from shake & stir's FOURTHCOMING

Virag: As actors, do you find the idea of not knowing what journey the narrative will take each performance exciting or daunting? Or potentially a bit of both?

Johnny: Call me crazy - but I am SO excited about the idea of each show being different every night - I am definitely the type of performer that likes to kept on his toes. Then again, who knows, we are yet to perform for an audience - you might have to ask me again after opening night haha. Jokes. But yes, it is a little daunting. There are some "choose-your-own-adventure" moments when the audience votes, and I have my back to them - and the prompt screen - that shows Cece and I the tallies (live) of each question. So, I will literally be turning around, looking at the screen, and jumping straight into the portion of the script/action, based on the majority vote. It's like being on a rollercoaster - adrenalin-pumping and exhilarating - bring it on!

Cece: I'm excited to perform a different show each night! But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't also terrified.

BWW Interview: Johnny Balbuziente and Cece Peters from shake & stir's FOURTHCOMING

Virag: shake & stir have never produced an immersive, romantic comedy such as this work before. How does it feel knowing that you're the first actors to bring about this new endeavour, so to speak?

Johnny: They are the best in the business at continuously pushing the boundaries of live theatre - they never shy away from a challenge, did you see Fantastic Mr Fox or A Chritmas Carol...?! To play a part in this ground-breaking production and to do it with such inspiring, talented, passionate and creative humans is something seriously special to me.

Cece: The shake & stir team are a super close and accomplished team. If anyone can pull this off... It's them. I'm very happy to be taken along for the ride.

BWW Interview: Johnny Balbuziente and Cece Peters from shake & stir's FOURTHCOMING

Virag: Lastly, why should we come and see this work?

Johnny: Other than the obvious - it's a fricken sick show (daahhh) ha ha. Let's be real, I think this is the show we need right now - there has been so much heaviness in the world over the last few years - depressing news, restrictions, regulations, theatre closures - this is the show to forget your troubles, to kick back, sink a few and have a fun time. Trust me - it's going to be a time.

Cece: It's big. It's silly. It's punchy. and It's gonna be an exciting night out. For everyone involved.

Photography by David Fell

Fourthcoming is running at QPAC from the 23rd of October.


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