VOCAL STRAIN Raising their voice

Vocal Strain is a new original production from writer and director Joshua Holdyk, telling the story of two teenagers who have been neglected and discriminated against by the world, and are forced to work together and form an unexpected friendship. Ahead of it premiere run this Fringe World at Night Owl Studio from Wednesday, February 2, to Saturday, February 5, KWANWOO HAN caught up with Joshua Holdyk to learn how he feels to finally present the show and how he got started writing.

Congrats on bringing your debut production Vocal Strain to Fringe 2022! What inspired this story and how long has it been in the works for?

The inspiration for this story is what I was feeling in my last year of high school. I felt as if no one understood me or my struggles and felt alone. So, I wanted to tell a story where the characters had been through so much trauma and yet can still find companionship and a sense belonging in the world.

I really wanted to showcase how the people who suffer the most still have strongest and kindest hearts among us. Telling this story very brutally real and honest gives the audience an in-depth perspective on the characters where they can see a little bit of themselves in each of these characters.

Each character represents each part of us as humans. Whether it’s if we want to admit it or not. These characters are real and easily relatable. The show has been in the works for about a year and a half. The script took about a year to write, I didn’t know that I was going to produce this play. But this is the one thing that I have written that I just had to do. The story is so moving and important and it had to be told.

This might be your debut production but is this a craft you have been honing for some time? And how will it feel to see it become a reality?

I’ve been acting my whole life and always had a fascination for films and stories. The writing and directing part of me really started to come out when I became a teenager. I would be getting scripts as an actor and playing a part for someone else’s vision and that always bothered me. So, I would re-write the scripts they gave me and have fun with them, that filled me with so much excitement. Having the freedom to tell whatever story I want and the way I want to do it is amazing to me.

Being an actor first I feel has really made me a good director to work with, coming from understanding how actors work and used that knowledge to better communicate with the actors. The process of making this play has been amazing. Seeing my words come off the page and seeing these characters come to life has been so rewarding to watch.

Who else has been part of bringing this show to life and what have they brought to the production?

The venue where the show will be held, Night Owl Studios, the venue manager Matt Milford has been a big help in rehearsal spaces and been very flexible to work in tech rehearsals. Travis Bryant at Flight Deck Studios was a massive help in producing the original song for the production.

Do you think there is a writer or director that has shaped your style, and this show in particular? What kind of audience do you feel will enjoy this show the most?

People this show is best suited for is anyone that has had an experience or known anyone that has been bullied or abused. To anyone that’s ever felt the world is against them and they are all alone. This show is for you. Relating to these characters, seeing their triumphs and defeats makes it a moving production using original music to be an uplifting anthem.

And how about you? What are you looking forward to most for when this show opens?

The thing I’m looking forward to most when the production premieres is seeing how the audience react to the story. Seeing audience reactions whether it’s laughing or crying, it will be an awesome achievement to make people feel emotions through my craft and storytelling. I’m also really hoping this play speaks to people and helps audience members through their own struggles and maybe helps start a conversation. Making them feel like they are never alone.

And is this the start of something more from you? Anything else in the pipeline to look forward to for the rest of 2022 and beyond?

Yes, this is just the start for me. I Have already been confirmed that I’m directing for Perth’s Short and Sweet Festival In April. Also, I have already started writing my second show about mental health for next year’s Fringe Festival.

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