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Elephents is the first play from the new drama company, The Last Great Hunt. We spoke to director Kathryn Osborne about collaboration, creation, collectives and other such matters of import.

A graduate of Edith Cowan University’s Contemporary Performance course, Kathryn Osborne has been working in theatre since 2008, with her biggest success thus far being Minnie And Mona Play Dead, which won Best New WA Work at Fringe World 2013 before going on to an acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her newest directorial effort, Elephents, looks set to make just as big a splash.

Elephents is based on the concept of ‘the elephant in the room,’” she explains. “And the desire of the artist to explore why people aren’t honest to each other about things that are glaringly obvious. That’s the core concept and we set out to explore why people sometimes don’t tell the whole truth and what sort of elephants we have not only in our personal lives and our relationships but also in our political lives and in the world right now that we choose not to speak about.”

The play also contains a lot of singing. “We came up with the idea that the characters in our play could only sing about these issues rather than just talk about them, so all the characters in our play are singing to express their elephants and their struggle with their elephants while they continue to not discuss those things with each other in the play. And the play takes place at the end of the world as well, so the biggest elephant in the room is that the world is ending and they don’t want to talk about it – they just want to talk about the usual things that people want to talk about.”

Elephents is also the first official production from The Last Great Hunt, which Osborne describes as a collaborative theatre company that resulted from a number of smaller troupes coming together in order to facilitate doing larger, more ambitious works. “We’d all been collaborating all the time and we were all working on different small projects under different company names and we all thought that it would be fun and a great idea to join together and form a larger collection of artists that wanted to continue working together. We spent last year setting all that up and now We’re The Last Great Hunt, which is really exciting.”

The Last Great Hunt pride themselves on being a highly collaborative group. Thus, while Osborne is credited as director and Jeffrey Jay Fowler is named as the sole author, Elephents is in fact the child of many parents. “Jeffrey Jay Fowler is the writer, but his collaborators are the performers and myself, the director. We all create the show together and then Jeffrey writes the work from improvisations and discussions and gets the final ownership of the script, but the ownership is spread throughout the company. It is based on an original concept that he brought to the group, though.”




Elephents runs at The Blue Room Theatre from April 29 – May 18. For tickets and session times, head here.

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