Dough. Used for baking bread and pastries.
D'oh! A catchphrase used by Homer Simpson. But for the purpose of this show, let's stick with Dough.
And that is the name of Hannah Fallowfield and Alex Thew's new Melbourne Fringe Festival show, Dough!
with many important ideas, the concept of this show was developed
through having the right conversation with the right person. In this
case, it was Fallowfield and Thew finding dough (bread) and d'oh! to be a
funny pair of homophones and wanting to see what happened when they
brought the two together. And then money joined the party.
Part of the research for the show involved immersing themselves in The Simpsons, something that Fallowfield had (shockingly) never seen! "We sat down and watched the first 4-5 episodes of the first season, which was great. I didn't realise how wholesome the early episodes were, so that was a pleasant and unexpected learning. In my mind they were this dysfunctional family that hated each other, but at least in the early seasons that doesn't seem to be the case," Fallowfield tells me.
With a crash course in the Simpsons-verse, Fallowfield is surprised but also not surprised at just how much of an iconic show The Simpsons
has turned out to be. "Alex and I were talking about this the other day
and I think it's a totally iconic show! When I talk to people about Dough! and mention it's about The Simpsons,
I ALWAYS get about 5 minutes of them just quoting lines to me, and then
I have to tell them I've not seen it," she says. "It occupies this
peculiar place in the cultural consciousness, and the fact that it has
been running since 1989 says so much. I do think it's not without its
controversies though, like the recent discussion about the highly
problematic depiction of Apu, and I think the showrunners' response to
that critique was disappointing. It's interesting when something jumps
the shark, but initially it was so groundbreaking. I get the sense from
conversations with people that the show has been trading off of its
glory days for a long time without actually innovating, but again, I'm
only up to season 7 so don't come for me in the comments!"
This is not the first time Fallowfield and Thew have collaborated on a project, and based on their past outings, this is a winning combination. "Working with Alex has been the best! We have worked together on two previous shows (Truly Madly Britney and Love You Bitch), both plays written by Alberto Di Troia (the other beloved half of Stage Mom)," she tells me. "It's been different with Dough! being a devised conceptual work and moving away from our previous director-actor relationship, but so rewarding. We have the same cooked sense of humour and are on the same page about the tone of the work, so the most difficult thing has been killing our darlings. No, Alex, we can't have a car drive towards the audience like in The Simpsons opening credits! I'm sorry!"
Dough! can be described as a performance collage of various thoughts coming together and apart in different ways, with the audience in for a number of shocks, laughter and startling realisations as they dig beneath the surface of what they are seeing. "I'm intrigued by 'liveness'. I like seeing what happens when people gather together in a space and what opportunities come out of that and it’s exciting to bring the audience out of a passive observer state and into a space where their presence has an impact on the work in some way," Fallowfield explains.
"Comedy is also a key motivator too. This show started from such a silly homophone thought and I love it when that happens. Alberto and I often talk about comedy as a trojan horse for exploring deeper ideas and that's certainly true of Dough! Following the social history of bread and its connections to capitalism, and The Simpsons has been fascinating and it all came from something so silly and simple. So hopefully when people come and see the show they end up with some The Simpsons/bread/ATM machine/flour/yellow stockings/drag show fever dreams."THE FRINGE FIVE FAST ONES
1) If you had to name your child after a vegetable what would it be?
2) Which reality TV show would you most like to appear/compete on?
I want to say Alone because I've been binge-watching it at the moment but who am I kidding. Everyone that knows me knows I wouldn't last a day. I don't even own a tent.
3) How many seconds can pass before you can't eat food off the floor?
I feel like it depends on the food? A gummy bear could sit there for hours to be honest and I'd still eat it.
4) What's a song that sums up your life?
Break My Soul by Beyonce. This festival season is trying it, but YOU WON'T BREAK MY SOUL!
5) It just isn't a Fringe Festival experience without... missing everyone's shows because they all sold out and you tried to chance a free ticket with your artist pass. Soz.
Venue: Trades Hall, Cnr Lygon and Victoria Sts, Carlton.
Season: 15 - 23 October | Tues - Sat 7:30pm, Sun 6:30pm
Duration: 60 minutes
Tickets: $28.50 Full | $22.50 Concession
Bookings: Melbourne Fringe Festival