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Things do happen

a conversation between theatremakers Luke Mullins and Brian Lipson.

For the anteroom this month, longtime collaborators Luke Mullins and Brian Lipson talked between Melbourne where Brian is currently performing with the Red Stitch Actors Theatre, and Bath where Luke was performing in Deborah Warner’s production of THE TEMPEST, while wrapping up rehearsals of solo show, THE STONES written for him by Kit Brookman, which opens this month at the Assembly Roxy as a part of The Edinburgh Fringe.

Here they talk about disrupting conventional rehearsal models, solo performance and their ongoing quest to just… make something happen.

Luke Mullins (LM): We're having a heatwave, which you've probably heard about on the news. They can't stop talking about it here. The UK is completely unprepared for any temperatures over 32 degrees. The whole country grinds to a halt. What's it like in Melbourne right now?

Brian Lipson (BL): It's like it always is. Nice weather. I think there's a kind of general feeling of pleasure that the government's changed. There’s nothing ecstatic or about it or anything. But, you know, just a relief that it isn't an utterly mean-spirited bunch in there. I think everybody's just thinking: Are we still in lockdown? Or aren't we still in lockdown? And should I be ever going out ever again… or not…

It’s fantastic that you're going to Edinburgh though. I think it's really marvellous. You're in the Assembly Rooms?

LM: Yes, the Roxy Downstairs.

BL: Okay. I did [A large attendance in the] Antechamber there. Back in… gosh, I don’t know. And then it was a really buzzing venue. I think it probably still is.

LM: Yeah, the Roxy is this nice, intimate, 60-seat thing. It’s perfect for us. We wanted something where it can just be talking to people really.

BL: Yeah. Fantastic. And did you do it originally at The King’s Head in London?

LM: We did a little tryout season there, yes. It was the late show after this Tennessee Williams play I was doing. We did five performances to see how it would go. And it seemed to go well, so we've done a bit of reworking and rewriting. What I thought we could talk about a bit first though is about how we met.

BL: Okay!

…. Can’t remember.

Can you remember? Was it on the volcano play?

LM: [laughs] Yeah. Lally Katz and the Terrible Mysteries of the Volcano, at TheatreWorks. 2006.

BL: Yes! We were kind of partners in that.

LM: A double act...

BL: With Chris Kohn directing it. I knew Chris because I taught him a little bit. I did workshops with his year at the VCA*, which I really enjoyed. I remember very well, the whole bunch of them, they were so creative. We did a thing where there was a piece of music, a piece of writing, and an image. And they had three minutes to make a piece, combining those stimuli. Thoughts working very, very fast. In a session, we'd make 10 or 12 little shows which were fantastic. I remember some of them really distinctly. There's something great about working fast like that.

LM: It's surprising how much you can come up with, how far you can go with just those parameters. You can get a lot done very quickly.

BL: And stuff of great quality because you can't filter it. You can't worry about whether it's going to be any good or not because it's not going to be polished.