THROUGH THE CRACKS: Erika & Cosmo Gelzinnis

See SON OF SATAN’S WIFE THE FOURTH by Erika & Cosmo Gelzinnis at #CTF2017!

CTF: Why do you make experimental performance?

E: I’ve always made experimental theatre. But doing a solo performance – because Kate told me to. I was absolutely, adamantly not going to make a solo performance. Kate says y’know you’re always mentoring other people. And Cosmo went, I’ll do a show with you Mum! And I said no. I woke up the next day and thought oh my god how can I turn down such a beautiful offer? What a fucked person am I – gosh I have to do this. I’m always facilitating and teaching. The people I used to teach then, come back into my life now – I used to teach Kate! It’s the only thing I can do. Theatre. Literally, it’s the only area of my life where I’ve been able to function and feel safe. When I couldn’t function elsewhere, theatre made sense.

CTF: What’s it like making performance with your family?

C: For me it’s normal. It’s what we do. It’s as normal as having dinner together.

E: We make art more than we have dinner together.

CTF: A highlight of developing and/or performing this work so far?

E: A highlight was at the National Mental Health Conference. I sat there folding one of my records, an upsetting part of my record into a paper crane. And I actually heard a speaker for the first time in that forum telling a story like mine. I gave her the paper crane, a crane that could then actually fly out into the world.

CTF: What are three words/phrases that describe your body of work?

Survival. Necessary. Complicated.

CTF: What can audiences expect?

I want to connect with people and I want to alienate them. I want people to have an experience, if the audience runs away screaming then I will probably have to relook at the project.

CTF: Have you been to Crack Theatre Festival before? Is there a little pearl of a memory you can share with us that marks that experience as distinctly CTF?

I go to crack most years, one year I bought PANIC to Crack with a group of young adults there were cages and ladders and everything and it was wonderful and I loved it.

It was at the church in Watt Street. The next year I remember sitting there, in the same space, and there was about 20 people who came through on a tour to look at spaces in the theatre. I was sitting on the floor and packing down from a show we just did. I was really excited and beamed up at them. But I was invisible – I just wasn’t there to them. I love Crack because it’s so friendly and welcoming. But Crack for me – it’s kind of sad if people just do that for the weekend. When that group ignored me, it gave me a different feeling.

I want the show to be welcoming, I want to invite people into this space. The cool hip version of whatever Crack is has simultaneously made me feel welcomed and invisible at times. I was just some old lady sitting on the floor. By the same token it is so great that Crack exists, that people can come and that it’s free, it’s an offering. I want to say that I actually see the importance of getting a chance to do this – you guys are among a very small group of people who actually listen, in the context of having no space at all, no voice at all. You guys have valued the idea of what I’m doing enough to support me.