Don’t chew with your mouth open. Never lend a book. Don’t have sex on the first date. Play the game. Wear perfume. Shake hands with a firm grip. Be assertive. Lift weights. Smile. Don’t laugh so loud. Stay fit. Man the fuck up. Get on Tinder. Get off Tinder.
We get given a lot of advice, whether we like it or not. Some people know more than others, of course, but who claims to know it all?
The Advisors features a panel of five experts, created by Perth theatre collective The Last Great Hunt, and no topic is off limits.
“There will be familiar advice, advice you’ve never heard, advice you need and advice you’re better off without,” says co-writer and performer Arielle Gray.
“We appear to know everything … there’s a whole section in the play dedicated to bad advice.”
So, what’s the worst advice Gray has ever received?
“Most bad advice I’ve received would be the expectations placed on me as a woman, like not being seen as aggressive or bossy,” she says.
Starting out as an investigation into what women are told to do, The Advisors’ writers began to share the guidance they had all received and the project quickly morphed into a play about advice in general.
“We all get told to do certain things and act in particular ways,” says Gray. “Depending on your particular place in society, it can affect you differently.”
Gray is one of the seven founding members of The Last Great Hunt, along with Adriane Daff, Chris Isaacs, Gita Bezard, Kathryn Osborne, Jeffrey Jay Fowler, and Tim Watts. They’re behind Fringe Festival shows like Fag/Stag, and internationally touring performances The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer and *It’s Dark Outside. Gray will be joined on stage by Isaacs and Fowler, along with writers Mararo Wangai and Frieda Lee.
“While developing the script we realised we needed to hear from other voices,” says Gray. “Some of the advice being thrown around was completely new to me.”
Unlike traditional theatre, no roles were cast for The Advisors; and rather than directing actors to play a particular part of the story, director Bezard (Yoshi’s Castle and Girl Shut Your Mouth) focuses on rhythm, tone and pace for this piece. Choreographer Bernadette Lewis came on board to help the team create movements that encourage audience engagement.
“There’s no narrative. It’s very much like a musical piece,” says Gray. “Gita is almost like a conductor in an orchestra.”
The Advisors is running at 7pm on May 31 to June 10 at Rehearsal Room 1, State Theatre Centre of Western Australia. Tickets are $28–$35. Book online