We had a chat with Blair Anderson, Director of a new dance musical, Chase. The showcase will be Tuesday 29th , Thursday 31st August, and Friday 1st September at The Other Palace (read more and find tickets: here).
Without giving too much away, can you tell us a bit about the show?
Set in the not too distant future, CHASE is about a group of four teenagers who are searching for something different to escape the monotony of their mundane lives. In that pursuit, they discover an all thinking, all feeling, fully conscious robot called Chase. As the kids take Chase out to discover the world, he learns more and more about human behaviour, and they learn more and more about how he is built and what he contains. But the kids aren't the only people interested in Chase's inner workings. Will the kids manage to keep Chase safe from the curiosity of the world? Or will human greed harm yet another innocent soul for personal gain?
What were your first thoughts when you were presented with this idea?
When do we start?!? I was so excited to work on a show that was completely new material. The musical demos I was first sent in 2021 were captivating, the first draft of the script was funny and filled with wonder. But the strong messages that will allow our audiences to leave reflecting on their own lives were the real selling point. There is so much heart in this story and I couldn't wait to bring it to life.
What is it about this show that you think sets it apart from anything we have seen before?
I believe Theatre is made to Educate, Entertain or Enlighten and CHASE does all three of those things. Dax has written an original story that allows the audience of today's time to escape into a futuristic world filled with lovable and relatable characters. The show's original musical score is layered with pop, R n B and Soulful styles that our cast sing beautifully. The cherry on top is the commercial dance styles that help move our plot swiftly on with high energy. This combination of disciplines sets CHASE up to be a musical adventure you don't want to miss.
What was your creative thought process like during the development of this production?
I've had an absolute blast working on this production. I've loved being able to listen and collaborate with everyone on the team. Working alongside Mark Crossland, our Musical Supervisor, and Dax, has been a director's dream. They bring such inspiring creative vision and experience which has allowed us to create a real playground in the rehearsal room. My process has been driven by true collaboration, which is a beautiful process to be part of.
The cast have clearly bonded on such a strong level. Is cast chemistry essential to the making of good theatre?
Absolutely! Having great chemistry amongst the cast creates a safe and playful rehearsal room and that energy makes its way onto the stage. Huge shout out to the team at Harry Blumenau Casting for assembling such a talented bunch of legends.
Can you talk about how the cast works together to navigate the show's challenges?
Working on new material is an actor's dream! Especially when it's as nuanced and conscientious as Dax O'Callaghan's. The cast have cheered each other on to make brave character choices which have elevated the work to an even greater standard than we imagined. They are considerate of the efforts of all other company members and have helped steer the characters and their plot lines with such joy and professionalism.
How important was the casting process of the chase?
Hugely important! When you have lived with characters on a page or in your head for a long time it's important that the right people walk through the door on the day of auditions. Laura Seaborn for Harry Blumenau Casting did the perfect job in assembling the most talented and committed cast. They've made our job incredibly easy in bringing the whole story off the page for the very first time.
How do you think this production connects with audiences?
CHASE has moments of connection for everyone who is lucky enough to see it. In our storyline, Chase makes everyone stop, think, learn and grow. I think he'll do the same for all our audience members too, allowing them a moment to be still and reflect on their own thoughts, whatever stage of life they are in.