“It is a love story.” Michaela Bedel on ‘Pluck!’
It is a love story…and the seriously odd, awkward things you do when you’re trying to get that reassurance from other people.
– Michaela Bedel on Pluck!
The Melbourne independent theatre scene is growing more promising and entertaining as each year passes thanks in part to the burgeoning young actors that are rising up to entertain the crowds for every performance.
One such actress is Melbourne based Michaela Bedel, a graduate of the National Theatre Drama School and upcoming female lead in Sly Rat Theatre Co.’s; Pluck! Bedel stars as Daphne Pluck, one half of a marriage that has become stale, the rest of the production chronicling the efforts to rekindle the flame.
In a seemingly male driven production, the show’s premise being; “what (if anything) it means to be a man,” it will be interesting to see what sort of emotions Bedel is able to bring to the stage as the show’s main female character in order to appeal to the women in the audience as well as the men.
Popculture-y was able to have a chat with Bedel about her impression of Daphne Pluck and what it was like to work with such an upcoming group of young talent.
Your character Daphne, is described as being a bit tough, wanting a state-of-the-art security system and a mean looking dog. What sort of emotions were you able to bring to the character, in order to appeal to the audience beyond the impression of a tough exterior?
I guess the thing with Daphne is that she’s very clear about what she wants, which can make her seem tough. But she’s also a person in a relationship that is falling to pieces and that she is trying very hard to save. The challenge for me in this play that’s really comedic and absurd is to find those elements as well as the comedy in her, so the audience can relate her.
You’re working on Pluck! with a number of Melbourne’s finest up and coming actors, yourself included. How did you feel when cast amongst them as Daphne?
It’s been great! As an actor, Alan is a great director to work with, and the cast are really talented. One of the most fun rehearsal processes I’ve been involved in, so I feel pretty lucky.
All descriptions of Pluck! have had the line, ‘a show about what it means to be a man’ as a focal point. As the female lead of the production, do you interpret the main focus of Pluck! as a show about a man, also?
My take on it is that Jeremy Pluck is the protagonist, the play is about masculinity and the pressure to fit into a certain mold (and feeling inadequate and over compensating), but I’m aware of those pressures also playing out in the female characters. I see it as a bit of a parody of rigid gender roles and stereotypes, that presents them as being bad for everyone…underneath a very dirty, entertaining comedy.
You were recently awarded a residency with Kingston Arts as part of their New Blood initiative. How useful has this been in regards to working towards developing your own original theatre production? (And when will we see it?)
When Nikki Brumen and I got the residency to develop our show, we were so excited! Its been the difference between having an idea we loved and dreamed about making, to being able to get it off the ground, start getting a great team together and make it happen. We’re putting together an immersive devised show inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where the audience can explore the world of the play, and interact with the set and actors. We’ll be in development for the rest of the year, and we’re keen to have it up by early/mid 2016.
Despite Pluck! being a black comedy, and slated as being full of blood, sex and shoot outs, do you see the performance as a love story at the end of it all? A couple trying to reignite their marriage through slightly different means?
It is a love story, but I think its also a story about wanting to be accepted and loved for who you are and to feel safe. And the seriously odd, awkward things you do when you’re trying to get that reassurance from other people.
You can see Michaela Bedel as Daphne Pluck in the upcoming Pluck! at The Butterfly Club from 30th June – 5th July. Full fare tickets are $32 and can be purchased at https://thebutterflyclub.com/