Interview: Twice Shy’s Joel Checkley and Shannon Woodford
As a part of their 2013 Melbourne Fringe show, Twice Shy, Joel Checkley and Shannon Woodford are, in their words, “out to prove they can make a room full of strangers laugh as much as they do each other”, and they’re pretty damn successful at it. We sat down with them after their first Fringe show and had a bit of a chat.
In creating the content for their show, it’s clear a lot of it began when Shannon and Joel were working together in the Melbourne Theatre Company’s box office. In Joel’s words, “We goofed around a lot, made a bit too much noise and decided to make a comedy show of it.”
For Shannon, there was a more defining moment when she realised that maybe these two were on to something great: “The moment I knew, is when we were cashing out one day and I was laughing so hard at Joel that I was literally on the ground, I fell over, I couldn’t stand up any longer. He just made me laugh so much. And we were like ‘We have to do something with this! We have to share it with the world!’”
In writing the content for the show, the pair kept it pretty close to home. As Shannon puts it, they stuck to what they know: “Everyone says you’re supposed to write what you know, and I think we really did that. We pulled on the things we have seen, and the things that make us laugh and just hoped that they’d make other people laugh.”
The result is a show that any Melbournian is likely to relate to, with Joel finding that people will approach he and Shannon after shows saying how familiar it is to them: “I think we started with the concept of a day in the life of two people and a bunch of stuff happened and it’s a love story and that’s all we had. Then we started filling in the gaps with what happens in a day and it sort of came out that it feels very topical and very Melbourne-centric with all the stereotypes – and that wasn’t really intentional.” Audience members say to them that a lot of the scenes really ring true.
When asked about what Melbourne Fringe has to offer them, the two are adamant about the excellent platform the festival provides to really test out a show. Shannon says Fringe is a great opportunity for developing artists. In their case, they wanted to test the boundaries “with what you can do with an audience and where people will go with you. We looked at this as a really great opportunity to take something that we already knew really worked and try and push it a little bit more, a little it more obscure. We always wet ourselves laughing between us, but then we think other people won’t get it. So we wanted to use this as a real opportunity to see whether people will actually go with us on that.”
When asked whether they’ll likely work on something together after Fringe, the pair say they’re just taking it step-by-step, with Joel adding: “This is just a small kinda ride, only six shows for Fringe and I think we just really wanted to get it back up and running again and prove that it wasn’t just a fluke, because it went really well the first time around…we kinda wanted to just push it again to a different audience. I think we’ll definitely work on some new stuff in the future, who knows?”
“We kind of bat ideas around a lot, but it’s one of those things where we’re taking one step at a time.”
In the meantime, Shannon and Joel will be gracing LOOP’s Project Space and Bar with four more shows as a part of the 2013 Melbourne Fringe Festival.