The cast of JUNK – a global favourite by the Flying Fruit Fly Circus – are getting set to leap, fly and tumble onto the stage at the Gold Coast’s Home of the Arts (HOTA) on Friday March 29 and Saturday March 30, off the back of sell-out shows at the Sydney Opera House, Arts Centre Melbourne and beyond.
haven sat down with the show’s director, Jodie Farrugia, to talk about the inspiration for the acrobatic, shadow puppetry and circus-inspired performance, and what audiences should most look forward to when it hits the Gold Coast’s shores.
Why did you choose to take the audience back to Australia in the 1940s? What is so significant about that time?
I was interested in exploring childhood experiences in the 1940s as it was a time just before the development of technology in the home – there were no televisions, computers, or electronic-operated toys. Our elderly citizens – who are now in their 80’s – were the children of the 1940s, so I felt like it was the last chance to hear from this generation as they reach the end of their living years.
I was also more interested in regional stories and regional children of the 1940s because the Flying Fruit Fly Circus performers themselves are also growing up in regional Australia. I was keen to have some personal connection to the place they live and an understanding of how our region has changed over the time.
Tell me a bit about the process of having the cast work with local elders to inspire the creation of the show?
In all of the work I make, it is essential for the performers and artists to have some connection, understanding, empathy and relevance to the content being explored. I am also interested in collaboration with the young artists as it needs to be a story they want to tell, so involving them in the research and storyboarding was essential to me. It’s what I do and how I work as an artist.
What surprised me was how connected the young people felt to the Elders they met and based the show on. The process allowed the young people to have respect for the stories they told, which was a really nice surprise and helped our process move with joy and reverence in the rehearsal room.
What do you think is the over-arching message that audiences will take away from the show?
That we are all inherently creative and playful. We don’t need “stuff” like objects or toys to play with – we can make magic out of whatever we have in front of us.
That a group of people, in this case artists, can make magic happen and can take care of each other. The circus skills that happen on stage are an example of people working with care and respect for each other.
Also, that having less things can be a good thing! Re-use, reduce, recycle…
Tell me a bit about the cast – who are some of the performers that audiences should keep an eye out for?
There are 17 young people in the cast aged between 10-17 years old, and I try to give them all a moment in the show. I imagine audiences will resonate with different performers and characters.
Have you continued to adapt the show over the years that you have been performing it, or has it stayed true to the original production?
The show is always evolving; I try to stay true to the performer in front of me at the time and what they can offer to the show and the ideas in the work.
What are you most looking forward to about performing to a Gold Coast audience?
We are excited about sharing it with many new audiences at HOTA and hopefully inspire more people on the Gold Coast and beyond.
Who, in your opinion, does the show most appeal to – children who are blown-away by the spectacle and fun, or adults who recognise the nostalgia? (You’re allowed to say both!)
What should audiences be most excited to see during JUNK?
A wonderful group of young artists, creating beautiful images together whilst telling a relevant story. The thing I love about this show is witnessing the result of young people who have trained so hard and dedicated themselves to this show and each other.
You can catch JUNK by the Flying Fruit Fly Circus on Friday March 29 and Saturday March 30… including a special relaxed session on Saturday at 10.30am – a modified performance with lower sound levels and house lights on to make the experience enjoyable for those with special needs and their families and carers.
Head to www.hota.com.au.