GITA BEZARD Some Friendly Advice

A self described “cheeky unicorn-like dancer”, Gita Bezard (Yoshi’s Castle, Girl Shut Your Mouth) is the co-writer and director of the newest The Last Great Hunt production, The Advisors. Opening at the State Theatre Centre of WA this week (playing until June 10), the latest play from this burgeoning theatre company promises a range of scenarios, from the everyday to the fantastical. DAVID O’CONNELL spoke to her to find out what The Advisors is about, what audiences can expect, and was it true she was dressed as a squirrel when she discovered her love of the theatre.

As to what The Advisors is about, well, that’s pretty self-evident. “It is about advice,” says Bezard. “We give the audience advice through the show, both good advice and horrible advice.”

This takes the audience down an ever deepening rabbit-hole of what advice can be about in our society. “It’s about the way we give advice, spoken and unspoken,” she says. “You can have advice from beauty magazines, or advertising gives you advice, as well as friends and family. It helps to control, and also to build people.

“We are also looking at how it can be wanted, how it can be asked for, or it can also be very much unsolicited – aggressive and violent. We cover the whole ranged of advice. In terms of the topics, we try to cover everything!”

When they say everything, they really do mean it. “Of course we don’t get to everything, but general advice, finance, health, advice that you would hear everyday.” She pauses for a breath before continuing on. “Advice of parents. Then on gender and race. Then more existential ideas; such as advice for the Earth, advice for dinosaurs, advice for milk going off in the fridge, advice for dictators, how to die, advice for the apocalypse… that kind thing. We really cover lot of stuff.”

Gita Bezard

The genesis of the show stemmed from Bezard. “I had wanted to write a show about all the things that are said to women, in terms of the way they are policed,” she says. “In terms of the way they are dressed, and their safety. Don’t walk alone at night don’t get into a taxi at night, don’t walk through a park wearing that dress at night. Things like that.”

After writing a short piece, The Last Great Hunt as a collective began to expand on ideas from there. “We wrote more for women, then we wrote genders, and just expanded,” she says. “Everyone has written some part of the script. Then I did a massive edit afterwards. So everyone has text in there, which is great, as everyone owns it.”

For Gezard, theatre has a definable quality, that differentiates it from cinema or TV in terms of story telling. The Advisors seeks to exploit this edge. “What theatre has, that say television or film doesn’t have, is just the immediacy of what is happening, and the inability to turn it off,” she says. “You can’t pause it, you have to be there with it. I think that is really important, as in this day and age we control our medium so much, and we are crushing down our attention span bit by bit, and theatre doesn’t allow you to do that.

“You have to sit there and be with it, and deal with it. We have some bits that are uncomfortable. It’s not all good advice, and it is not all nice advice. Some of it is brutal, the kind of thing that you don’t want to hear, but it exists in the world.”

As for being dressed as a squirrel when discovering her love of theatre? Yes, that is true. As a child she was cast in her grandmother’s staging of Wind In The Willows, when she discovered it. Later that love of stage was noticed by her lecturer in teaching, who told her she should use that and turn it into a career.

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