Zoe Pepper writes a love letter to the subconscious in The Irresistible

WAAPA trained actor and director Zoe Pepper, together with her actors and co-writers Adriane Daff and Tim Watts has created a “reckless, intoxicating love letter to the subconscious” in The Irresistible.

Was there a light bulb moment of inspiration that spurred the creation of this show?

It was more of a piecing together of the puzzle that we needed to make a show where we wanted to investigate ideas of unconscious bias, so we got into a room and played around for 3 weeks and that’s how the form of it took shape.

Having studied at WAAPA do you feel pressure to emulate the success of other graduates like Hugh Jackman, Tim Minchin and Frances O’Connor?

I did a very different course to all the famous people who went to school, it was very much focused on theatre making, of course they taught us about acting but also about how to create story and generate work, which is an empowering way of making a career because you’re not waiting around for someone to pluck you from obscurity.

How did you create this show with Tim and Adriane?

We created a lot of material through long form improvisations just playing in the dark essentially where the ideas come from a place that you didn’t know existed like they’re being dredged up from somewhere in the subconscious.

We use a lot of performance microphones to manipulate voice to create different characters and genders. The mission going into it and where its ended up as far as connecting with an audience will be very much up to them to determine.

Have there been any significant milestones on the way from graduating to presenting your first directorial work?

I’ve been doing this for ten years but this show definitely marks a shift in terms of there being a much bigger creative team to give greater production values so things have gotten bigger and better in small increments. I trained as an actor and worked as an actor for a year or so but my main focus has been directing and writing.

How has your training as an actor informed your role as a director?

As a result of having gone through the training I’m not really precious with actors… I’ll push them really hard as opposed to other directors who may wrap them up in cotton wool a little bit.

What was it about the story of The Irresistible that drove you to make it see the light of day?

It’s a story of multiple threads, using visuals to create layers of different meaning as opposed to a single story arc that will hopefully create a layer cake of meaning for the audience. Audio is a real driver of my work to create empathy for the audience.

If you could sum up The Irresistible in a soundbite then what would it be?

It’s a pretty wild ride, it’s spooky and surreal, it feels quite different to my other work, it’s experimenting with the form of theatre as much as with the content, it’s definitely not a traditional play.

The Irresistible runs from the 15th to the 24th of June at PICA in Northbridge.

Clinton Little

Images:- Jonathan Oxlade

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