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Gita Bezard, director, writer and performer from theatre company The Last Great Hunt, talks to Grok about writing, shame and courage from her latest show, Perpetual Wake. Described as a performance about the “depths people sink to in order to hide their shame”, director and co-writer Bezard introduces the woman behind it all, with insightful tips on the creative process for aspiring writers and directors.

Perpetual Wake is social media influencer Fiona Scott’s debut novel. Ruthless reviewer, Paul Creel, reads it and feels completely understood, recognising a precise reflection of himself within the book. Creel, thoroughly impressed by Scott’s work, meets with her to discuss the book, only to discover that it is in actual fact, a satire. Feeling humiliated, with just days before the review is to be published, Creel silently promises to “bury the book before the year is out”.

Drawing on inspiration for Perpetual Wake, Bezard says her team wanted to create a show about bad people, and so she began the writing of stories about terrible people doing terrible things.

“This lead us to a story about a corrupt reviewer and a writer, as well as an aesthetic that had stags and shadowy mysterious things happening that we really enjoyed,” she says.

Writing and directing a show comes with many challenges, including complicated scripts and difficulty locking down a final draft. Bezard says that herself, along with her co-writer Jeffrey Jay Fowler, had to do a lot of script editing during rehearsals.

“This has been challenging but also beneficial because at the end of the day the script and the show are better for it,” Bezard says.

Bezard hopes that the audience will be transported into the show and the lives of the characters. They’re just like any individual; selfish and flawed, yet lovable and fun.

A large part of the show is shame, in particular, letting go of it. She hopes that the audience will learn from this and “be encouraged to let go of their own past shame”.

Bezard used to spend a lot of her time at the computer, staring at the keyboard and waiting for inspiration as she was writing plays, but as she has grown as a writer she has learnt that she must simply sit down and start writing. She knows that if she just begins typing, she will eventually happen upon a storyline. 

Speaking encouragingly about aspiring writers and directors, Bezard offers advice by telling them to make bold offers and not be afraid to fail. She says that the key is not to shut down ideas because they seem too hard or out of reach, but instead, find a way to test them as “you’ll be surprised how achievable things can become”.

“Trusting your collaborators is also essential,” she says.

It is important to listen to them and be honest when you don’t know the answer, that way you can move forward in the creative process.

“Everyone is there for the same purpose; to put on a show with smart, creative and resourceful people.”

Bezard goes on to talk about how there is “a world outside of your show and outside of the theatre”, an important message to aspiring writers and directors to find time to rest even when the workload seems enormous. Many will get sucked into spending every waking moment on their craft until it seems like a burden, so Bezard emphasises taking a step back and still enjoying your life.

The Last Great Hunt is also currently in the process of producing a new show called Telephone, which is set to arrive in November. Bezard describes it as a “genre bending” and “time jumping”, something we can all be sure to get excited about.

When asked what Bezard plans to do after Perpetual Wake. She responds with “camping and [to] sleep a whole bunch”.

Same girl, same.

 

Written and directed by award winning theatre makers and co-founders of The Last Great Hunt, the season of Perpetual Wake ran from August 28 to September 7 at Subiaco Arts Centre.

Check out their website for more upcoming shows!