IPSO AND THE UNFORTUNATE Don’t feed the crows

The REmida Artists are creatives, writers, sculptors, philosophers and performers who base their craft on a sustainable, Reggio inspired ethos. Following the success of their Fringe World show The Crow and The King last year, they are back with the second instalment this summer as Ipso and the Unfortunate; an immersive night of mystery, takes over REmida Perth every Friday from January 14 to January 28. KWANWOO HAN caught up with Dr Paul Armishaw, the Executive Officer from REmida, to find out what lurks within the doors of the Warehousiam.

Congrats on bringing Ipso and the Unfortunate to Fringe 2022! How does it feel to present this show this year?

It feels great, we have been in prep mode since early June and now that opening night is fast approaching, seeing all the work come together is a real joy.

For those who aren’t aware, what is the event about and what does it involve?

Ipso the Vampire has taken up residence in the Warehousiam. But his friend and protector, the Unfortunate, a most unusual creature, will not let him rest. In a fit of desperation, Ipso has opened the Warehousiam and hopes that someone, anyone, can help set things right. But time is a factor; once the doors to the Warehousiam open, the countdown begins, and who knows what might happen if you take too long. Ipso encourages you to think of it like a treasure hunt, a treasure hunt with a hungry vampire, a time limit, a group of strangers and a werewolf, but a treasure hunt nonetheless.

REmida is a program with artists who wish to promote more sustainable art forms through their creations. Is this event a reflection of that?

It was important to us that the costumes, set pieces and props were made from materials donated to REmida and that, wherever possible, they could be dismantled and reused again in the future. Over 90% of what you’ll see are repurposed materials, some of which have been used in various displays over the last three years, including from previous year’s Fringe show, The Crow and the King. Not to give anything away, but the materials used to make the Unfortunate, an essential character in the show, are on their third or fourth iteration. After the show, we will take everything apart, and the materials will be used for other projects.

With the nature of how long it takes to create sustainable art and the length it takes to create a mystery, how long has the event been in the works?

By the time we put the finishing touches on the show, it is around 2,000 hours of work over seven months, with about half that time going into the set pieces and costumes.

Following up on the last question, it takes a lot of hands to create every piece and detail for an event like this. Who was involved in Ipso and the Unfortunate’s inception? Was all of REmida involved? And who else?

The show’s premise extends our 2021 production, The Crow and the King, and while the performances are different, Ipso and the Unfortunate is the second instalment of the Warehousiam saga. There is a core group of four people that have worked on both shows, and we have an extended team of five performers and volunteers.

Special thanks to Bek Armishaw and Sacha Barker for their work on the costumes, set pieces and staging, and Iona McAuley for reprising her character from last year’s production. Raye Rickard was new to the Fringe team this year, and she has been instrumental in creating elements of the show plus the merchandise that will be available afterwards.

Ipso and the Unfortunate is an event that requires audience participation. What should they look forward to and expect?

The audience is tasked with finding what has been lost and returning it to its rightful place within the time allowed; there are forces at work to both help and hinder your efforts, so attention to detail is crucial. It is a fun, fast-paced experience within an immersive, beautiful space.

What about you? What are you looking forward to the most?

Just before the show begins, there is a moment when it’s too late for doubts, revisions or rewrites; it is a transition between being the storyteller and stepping into the story itself. As the door to the Warehousiam opens, I greet the audience for the first time; all the work that led up to that disappears, and the show becomes a living, breathing reality. The cast, audience, and volunteers take that journey with you and together you create something that is so much bigger than it was in the moments before the door opened.

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