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Sh!t Theatre Interview!

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Sh!t Theatre Interview!

Louise and Rebecca of Sh!t Theatre premiere their new show at the New Wolsey tonight, telling tales of job hunting and life on the dole. IP1’s Patrick Scott caught up with the two to discuss career prospects…

How did the idea of JSA originate?
B- We’ve both been signing on and off the dole since we graduated a couple of years ago. The project we did before this, Shit Theatre’s Genuine Performance Democracy, had lots of spoken word bits and songs, and we wanted to do something like that but with a bit more structure.
L- We’re looking at the media’s representation of different issues, like the work situation and the Olympics, through the structure of a job centre and the way people are moved in and out with the system.
B- That’s the intention anyway!

Have you got any bad job stories that inspired it?
B- There’s quite a few! We open with a couple of stories, like how Louise was offered a job as a ‘sexy secretary’. We’ve been Skyping with people in the States and Europe and found stories about how some people have turned down prostitution jobs in Germany and been kicked off the dole, since prostitution’s legal in Germany.

How important is audience participation to the show?
B- It’s quite important, but we know that audiences don’t like to be hassled too much, so we’re not getting them to do anything they don’t want to.
L- There’s nothing embarrassing; we don’t pick on anyone during the show.
B- Apart from the unemployed people!
L- Yeh, but we don’t pick on one person, though certain audience members are given certain roles.
B- We end up experimenting a lot- in Brighton we took the audience’s earnings as they came through the door and then separated them. The unemployed all had to sit on the floor and the rich people got the really nice seats at the front!
L- We’ll try and do something similar tonight, if we’re allowed to.
B- We have this theme of expectations, so we might try and encourage the audience to think about what they wanted to do and if they’ve achieved it.

How has working on this compared to your other shows?
L- It’s a more solid structure than usual. Our previous shows were based on concepts that didn’t create much structure, but this time we’ve got nine huge roll up banners as our set which fit the job centre theme, so there’s a certain aesthetic that we didn’t have before. 
B- We also only got those banners yesterday afternoon, so we’ll see how it goes with them tonight!

Your shows often contain a lot of surreal costumes and make up, how do they fit into JSA?
L- We’re using the same sort of costumes as we have previously. Plus we’ve both got items of clothing made out of newspaper to reflect that lots of our stories are from the news.
B- We mainly developed these personas through our costumes- I’ve got a big tick on my face, to represent democracy.
L- I’m ‘the man’, which came out of a solo piece where I was a dominant figure.
B- Not like an actual man, the ‘don’t give it to the man’ kind!

Are you going to be checking out any other shows at Pulse?
B- We’re really busy, but we’d really like to see Tatty Del. They’re two women around our age doing performance art, so I’d like to see what they’re doing as a kind of parallel to us.
L- I’d also recommend Projector Conjector, who I’ve seen before. That’s a really lovely experience.
B- I’ve just discovered that Sarah Pasco’s playing, she’s in the same long form improve collective as us and has done a lot of TV work. I keep seeing things in the brochure and getting annoyed that I’m missing it all!

Finally, could you describe JSA in 10 words?
B- ‘We were on the dole, are you on the dole’... that good?
L- How about ‘We’re In the Sewers but Looking up at the Stars’?
B- Yeh, I like that!

Sh!t Theatres’ JSA is on tonight at 9pm, so go along!

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