Lisa chats with Lucinda Vitek, director of ‘It’s Been a While’ (Theatre Interview)
It’s Been A While
King Street Theatre
From 15 July to 19 July
It’s Been A While has a very exclusive run at the King Street Theatre this month, one of those shows you have to dive on to be sure not to miss it. As a teaser before we go to the show, and to learn a little more about the production, I had a brief chat with Lucinda Vitek, director of It’s Been A While.
Lisa – Tell us a bit about It’s Been a While.
Lucinda – It’s Been a While is about a group of five high school graduates who go to schoolies down on the South Coast. During their trip however, one of them is found dead after a heavy night of partying. Seven years later they have to deal with the tragedy all over again when the case is re-opened.
The show has been written by Jordy Shea, but the script has been worked on collaboratively by the cast and I, as well as through workshops with Australian Theatre for Young People. The whole process has been hugely collaborative in terms of script development and show preparation.
Lisa – That’s sounds really interesting. Tell us the best thing about the cast and creatives.
Lucinda – I really admire how well they’ve all adapted to the collaborative theatre-making process. This way of making theatre is very new to all of us, as we’re all used to the traditional writer-director-actors theatre paradigm. The cast are all fabulously talented people who really work amazingly together.
I have spent a lot of time with Jordy Shea and Eunice Huang in particular. Jordy is so much fun and his writing is lively and energetic and he puts up with my demands with such patience. Eunice Huang, who is our producer, is amazingly organised and working with her has created a sense of order in this at times chaotic process.
Lisa – It sounds like it’s challenging and yet not an impossible stretch. How are you enjoying this directing experience?
Lucinda – I’m really loving this process. Since we have had the luxury of time I feel as though this directing experience has been very casual and I have been able to stop and smell the roses, per se. It’s been particularly interesting navigating the boundaries around the collaborative process and being in a director position. I feel as though we have achieved this amalgamation successfully, and I’ve appreciated being able to explore roles outside of the traditional director role, such as script editor and co-developer. The show itself is very modern and it’s something that I am able to connect with emotionally, which has made the directing process a breeze.
Lisa – I know you mentioned this above, but tell us a little more about working close with Jordy Shea. How do you like working with the writer while bringing their writing to life?
Lucinda – Jordy and I have been working together incredibly closely. It’s been particularly interesting working with him as although we have very different personalities, we both come from performing backgrounds and we both know what we like to see on stage. Although the last show I directed, Colony, was newly written, I didn’t work as closely with the writers as I am now with Jordy. We have been through so many different versions of the script and watching it develop with workshops with Jordy has been an incredible experience. Jordy and I communicate well and I think that that is what has made this development process so much fun.
Lisa – I read that you are studying at the moment. How do you find completing a degree and directing theatre in terms of time management?
Lucinda – Since I started university I have been constantly working on shows, so it doesn’t seem that foreign to me. I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Arts in English and Performance studies at The University of Sydney, so this project doesn’t really feel inconsequential to my studies. But directing theatre has always brought me such joy and it really doesn’t feel like a chore, so finding time for it around my studies has rarely been an issue. Although, I guess I’ll just have to wait until this semester’s results before I can say that with too much confidence!
Lisa – What drives you to want to direct theatre?
Lucinda – The love of theatre I suppose. Performance has always been a huge passion of mine, and it has only really been in the past two or three years that I have turned my mind to directing. The first show I directed was in 2012 for the Sydney University Dramatic Society and I really just did it because I wanted to see what it was like and try something new. It was only then that I realised how much satisfaction I got from directing and that it was something that I really wanted to do more of.
Lisa – What are you hoping the audience will get out of It’s Been a While?
Lucinda – I hope that the audience is able to connect with this production. It’s Been a While is not only profoundly Australian, but it is distinctly ‘Sydney’, it’s something that everyone will be able to recognise. Themes of friendship, love, and loss are deeply embedded in this production and I hope that the audience will be able to see that too.
It’s been a While is playing at the King Street Theatre. You can grab your tickets here.