ARTIST PASS // Knives, wigs, teasing, kissing, screaming...

Fractious Tash, the company that brought Titus and Earnest to Q over the last few years are back in Loft with Not Psycho, a show described as a devised re-edit and mash up of the slasher film trope with a real-life story too twisted to be true.

We caught up with cast members Virginia Frankovich (who plays Maz) and Edwin Beats (who plays Matthew) to find out just how it's been so far and what's in store for audiences...

1. What has it been like working on such a psychologically intense show with each other?

EDWIN: It's been fantastic working together, Virginia has passed along some of her Hitchcock geek factor to me. I've gained an increased appreciation for suspense filmmaking.


VIRGINIA: Because of the nature of the piece and the relationship our characters have with one another, it has meant that we've developed a lot of trust in each other. The characters of Maz and Matt develop a very intense relationship both physically and emotionally, so it's been important that as actors we get along and feel safe and comfortable. Edwin has reminded me of the importance of being brave. Not Psycho is a piece that requires extreme bravery and I thank him for reminding me of that.

2. Given that this is a devised work being directed by its writer - how has the rehearsal process been?

EDWIN: It's been an exciting challenge that's ever-evolving. We've both been involved in the development of this piece since April. There's a vast wealth of material that has been created, worked and pruned back. It's an incredible feeling when something comes full-circle like a certain connection that existed months ago being reintroduced.

VIRGINIA: It's been great being involved with this project since the creative development period in April. It's meant that I've witnessed Benjamin's [the writer and director] concept come into fruition from provocations set to us in the rehearsal room, to a draft mini-version performed at the ATC studio, right through to the re-developed/re-hashed piece that we are about to perform for the Q Presents Season. Every rehearsal has been a surprise. Re-developments of plots, editing of script, re-working of content and characters. As actors, we've all had to be on our toes throughout the process, ready to embrace every change/experiment with 100% of our energy and commitment.
Highlights: working with some of my best friends; meeting a whole bunch of new, wonderful people and the free coconut water. Surprises: Discovering how insane Maz is. Discoveries: Learning about 'knife play' and that it is a real thing (Even Angelina Jolie has dabbled in it).

3. The film draws on / pays homage to the classic slasher film genre. What's your favourite slasher film? And what about people who have never seen or gotten into slasher this play for them?

EDWIN: I've always been a fan of A Nightmare on Elm Street. I once portrayed Freddy Krueger as part of a horror maze in a cornfield in Christchurch. I modified my own gardening gloves with blades made out of cardboard and aluminium tape. Those who don't watch slasher films will still connect with Not Psycho. Any scary story, any horror, any psychological thriller, murder case or detective fiction will provide an access point into this story.

VIRGINIA: I went through a massive Hitchcock phase at University with Janet Leigh-inspired short bleached blonde hair and a Tippi Hedren barbie doll. So I suppose Psycho should be at the top of the list. But I'll add Wolf Creek into the mix (John Jarratt plays the most deliciously terrifying villain). And Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I think that people who can't cope with the brutality of slasher films may have a moment where they cover their eyes but I certainly don't think the play is limited to slasher-film fanatics. I think the piece can be appreciated on many different levels and the slasher references are only one piece of the giant Not Psycho puzzle.

4. What is one thing you and your character have in common?

EDWIN: Daddy issues.

VIRGINIA: Oh goodness. Um. I certainly don't have the confidence that Maz has, but I suppose we share the same drive for seeking out pleasure. A fear of anything being too mundane. Or ordinary. She may push it to further extremes than I do, but I do crave excitement and fun.

5. For all those yet to see the play ... what can we expect?

EDWIN: You can expect to be rattled. To be taken through the emotional and psychological extremes of the human condition.

VIRGINIA: Knives, wigs, teasing, kissing, screaming, filming, violence, passion, taunting and 90s nostalgia.

6. Any last words?

EDWIN: It's a lot like the horror maze in the cornfield. It's labyrinthine and you might get disorientated trying to find your way out. But the puzzle pieces are all there for you to put together.

VIRGINIA: Come see it. No seriously. Come see it. Please? Thanks.

You heard the woman!


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