Dana & Mary Helen give us the scoop on YES
THE RABBLE explore the complexities of one seemingly simple word
We’re on the edge of our seats about YES, the newest work from Melbourne’s most surprising theatre luminaries, THE RABBLE.
We sat down with YES performers Dana Miltins & Mary Helen Sassman, and asked a few burning questions about this exciting new work. Read more below about the development of YES and what they hope you’ll take away from the performance.
1. In your own words, could you tell us what the performance is about and what inspired this body of work?
We’ve been stop-starting on this piece for what feels like an eternity (thank-you COVID), but in reality, it’s been in active development for a couple of years and floating around as an idea for even longer. Way back, maybe five years ago, we were looking at doing an epic theatrical production of James Joyce’s Ulysses and an early spark for this work came out of the penultimate 70-page chapter of the book written entirely in question and answer form. Though we’ve borrowed the form, our content has evolved into something very different.
YES is about reality, truth and consent. It’s about the invisible structures and boundaries created via relationships, ideas, power structures, societal narratives, and beliefs that we live inside of and consent to – often without question. In the piece, via a series of questions and answers, we establish versions of reality for the other and in turn question reality and our roles in any given reality and even if there is a single reality or truth we can agree upon – are you with us? Expect RABBLE-esque visual theatrics minus the blood (caveat: we’re still a week out so this could change).
2. What’s a common misconception about women who work in theatre?
Pass. (No, truly, we really struggled with the question, talked about it for way too long, then couldn’t agree on an answer.)
3. What does your creative process look like when you’re in development and execution mode?
The development process for YES was a beautifully freeing time of shared research, in-the-room improvisations and really going wide on what could be included in contemplating YES. There were times in this process where we had so many ideas and so much material that we had to actively make a decision to STOP – it was just too much for a single show to hold. After that we started to pull out the gems and the common threads to weave into a script. Yes, you heard that right – though YES still has a heap of visual flair, it’s a text-based work. Not what we’re usually known for so buckle in.
We’re now getting to the pointy end of rehearsals and entering execution mode. Most of our production team contribute to developments and are in rehearsals with us every day – it’s a very collective experience – so we’ve all been carrying this show and its ideas together through two cancellations. It’s exciting to think that this time we just might see a stage and a real-life audience. Breath is held; all fingers crossed. But, definitely, as production week looms, there’s opposing elements of excitement and trepidation knowing how quickly things can change.
4. What do you hope audiences will take away from your performance?
We hope people take away a burning desire to tell all their friends to get to Arts House, if not for YES then for We Take Back Our Mother Tongues or Hercules or all of the RISING events. Viva live performance!
YES – THE RABBLE
Wed 30 Mar – Sun 10 Apr, 2022
Auslan Interpreted performance: Thu 7 Apr, 7.30pm
Audio Described performance: Fri 8 Apr, 7.30pm
GA $20 / BLAKTIX $10