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ONE DAY CLOSER Realist few

One Day Closer is the first Fringe World production by Tim Hotchkin, a Perth-born artist who has returned from studying Theatre and Producing in New York to be back in Australia due to the events of 2020. The play is based around siblings Jack and Simone, and dives into the tender, complex and inseparable relationship between them at Indoor Theatre at Camelot from Wednesday, January 27 until Sunday, January 31 (get more info and tickets here). MICHAEL HOLLICK talked to co-stars Tim Hotchkin and Maya Curtis about rehearsals, the origin of the play and what New York was really like during the height of COVID.

You’ve just come out of rehearsal, how are things going in the lead up to the show?

TH: Good, we feel really good about the show. And we’ve been very lucky to have received sponsorship from the Feet First Collective to use their space. It’s very generous of them and great for us.

It’s the first Fringe Festival for both of you. What made you want to put on a show and be a part of Fringe this year?

TH: Last year, 2020, was hectic for many, many people around the world. I was living in New York so I could study at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts when COVID struck and because of the impact of COVID, I am currently back in Perth. I have put my studies on hold for a bit, which was hard for me; the whole experience has been awesome so far, it is my dream school, my dream course and New York is my dream city. Having to halt my studies, and then to put that space between all the people, friends and connections that I had just made in New York has been quite hard, as well as returning to Perth and realising that I had lost a lot of the connections here that I had previously, was difficult.

I spent a lot of time reflecting on the year gone and what I have been through. And I just remembered figuring out what had got me through it all, it was hope. So I wanted to write something about hope. Then in the background, I knew Fringe season was coming around, and I was like “well I’m gonna be sticking around for a while, why don’t I go for it?” Write a play and produce it for Fringe. And so that’s what I did.

What was it like being in New York at the height of COVID in 2020?

TH: It was definitely one of the most interesting experiences that I have ever had. We first heard of COVID in January, and it only reached the United States border in February, so no one really knew too much about it, everyone thought it’s just another strain of flu, like a lot of people around the world, and so life continued on really until it was too late. By March, my University was shut down and went online for the rest of the semester. Then I was told that I had to move out of my apartment, which I tried to fight with an exemption as an International Student, but that got denied and here I am, back in Perth.

I vividly remember my last day in New York, it was absolutely dead. It took 15 minutes to get from the airport to my apartment in the middle of Manhattan and that doesn’t happen really. It was an absolute ghost town, it felt so weird. Everything was just so quiet.

Your co-star in the show is Maya Curtis. Maya, what made you want to take part in One Day Closer?

MC: I was keen from the outset as the play focuses on a relationship between two people, specifically siblings, in a very realistic way. I have always been drawn to shows that I can personally connect to on stage, and things that I think are representative of true life, and I got a lot of that when I read the script.

Do you relate to your character, Simone, in the show?

MC: In some ways. I relate to how headstrong Simone is and to some of the double standards that she holds for herself when it comes to the people around her. I find her a very interesting character and really enjoy how she deals with people, particularly men, especially when they aren’t the best people for her to be around.

How long did it take you to write the play and has the script changed much since your first draft?

TH: I took a couple of weeks off to get the first full draft done, I just sat down and just wrote full-time. But obviously, the script continues to develop and change. There’s been moments where, only like a couple of weeks ago, we cut a whole half of a scene because I just don’t like it, it didn’t work. I think that’s the beauty of writing something yourself.

The thing with bringing the script into the workshop experience and collaborating with other artists is that you can play around, you can see what everyone else thinks and it brings everyone onto the same page, really wanting to make and create something from the ground up.

And finally, what fruit is your show most like? And why?

Both: Grapefruit, they’re bittersweet.

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