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Backstage at FRISK: the making of Three Birds One Cock

Three Birds One Cock features at Melbourne Fringe as part of FRISK from 24 - 27 September.

By Madelaine Nunn, third year Bachelor of Fine Arts (Theatre Practice) student

Three of Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic blondes come together to take revenge on their master puppeteer. A black comedy brimming with noir, glamour, murder and suspense.

In February this year, Anna Rodway, Candace Miles and I met up to brainstorm ideas for possible shows that could be a part of the 2015 FRISK Festival, “The Festival of Risk” at Melbourne Fringe. We asked ourselves: “What is relevant now? What interests us? What is it that we want to “say”?”

We began talking about violence and murder and the saturated representation of this in film and on screens. This led us to Alfred Hitchcock – the cinematic master of voyeurism, suspense and thrill. We couldn’t help but ask ourselves, “Why is it that Alfred Hitchcock’s beautiful women are often the victims of gruesome and violent storylines? Why do we all secretly enjoy a dash of gore, a hint of horror and a pinch of intrigue?”

The process began with pitching our idea to a panel that would then decide which shows would be picked for the festival. We had to learn how to clarify our ideas, market our show and realise some parts of the form and content. We also contacted a third year design student, Lucy Wilkins, to see if she would join our team. Lucy was a great addition to our creative team as previously in our devised work, we designed and teched all our own shows with no budget. We were also fortunate to collaborate with second year lighting and sound designers, Ounie Witherow Aitken and Alex Blackwell, as well as the super organised Jonas Anderson and Steph Young as our stage management team.

During the beginning of our process, we realised we wanted to use the language of film; jump cuts, cinematic score, visceral sound effects, and a script that would convey the sense of noir and intrigue that can be captured so effectively on screen. We were excited to use his films as a structural form as they would give us plenty of content to play with.

Using Hitchock’s films as inspiration, we also realised how integral music is in his films to create suspense, so we hoped to emulate this in our show. We approached some students from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and met with three sound composers: Matt Zambon, Benjamin Griffiths and Jordie Gilmour. They have been a real asset to the realisation of our show and have created all new original music to enhance and underscore the action.

It has been an intense couple of months but a huge learning experience. I have refined my skills as a writer, director and performer. It has been challenging but rewarding to be a theatre-maker in this process; getting to experience a full lifecycle of a show, creating theatre from the ground up, from pitching to performing to evaluating.

This project has also been wonderful in establishing connections with students from across the VCA and MCM. It has also been a great platform for future collaborations.

I think the magic of FRISK is that we get to put so many creative minds together to make exceptional works of theatre that extends our artistic abilities and speaks to contemporary audiences.

Ultimately FRISK acts as a bridge from higher education and training to life as a theatre professional in the real world.

Book tickets to Three Birds One Cock and other FRISK shows at the Melbourne Fringe.

 


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