A Preview of Snore
By Lydia Austin-Zimmerman
I spoke to the director of ‘Snore’, Martin Caforio, and cast member, Martina Sardelli, about their independent production (produced by ‘Lost Boot Productions’) of Max Posner’s coming of age drama based around the lives of a group of university friends as they attempt to navigate their lives outside the microcosm of university life. Structured around the birthday parties of each member of the group and featuring naturalistic, “breathless” dialogue, this play aims to address the struggles faced by young people as their idealism and passion for changing the world meets with an uncooperative reality. Despite these serious themes, I am assured that not only has the rehearsal process been plenty of fun, but that the play itself is as funny and sharp as it is thoughtful.
Can you tell us a bit about your character, Nina?
Martina: I’m playing Nina [...] she’s a preschool teacher, she’s around 23 or so. She is Tom’s girlfriend, although I hate just calling her Tom’s girlfriend because she’s Nina, but [...] navigating their relationship, and moving in together, is quite a big part of her. [...] She’s very down to earth, I think she has a more romantic side to her but she’s also quite pragmatic and practical. She’s very sensitive and has this very deep consciousness about the world around her. She always says how she wants to go out there and learn about things and see things.
I think she’s a very reflective character, I think she’s an observer, she doesn’t shy away from expressing her opinion, but at the same time I think she observes a lot and is not as impulsive as Tom is, I think she’s a very grounding presence.
What has been the best part of the rehearsal process?
Martin: When we did our first stumble through I could see that this play was going somewhere special. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a stumble through where the actors knew what they were doing to the extent that they did in that situation. I think the first time we did the whole show together you could really see how the actors had understood the whole arch of their characters, and how they had clearly grown from beginning to end and how once props and set and lights were all put in and the lines were learned and we had created those spaces that we wanted to create, it was going to be something really special.
How did you find the rehearsal process?
Martina: You know that little drop in your stomach you always get when you’re about to go down a rollercoaster - I always get that feeling when I’m about to go to rehearsal. I just get so excited before rehearsal. The play centres around a group of friends, and I feel like we’ve become that group of friends, so it’s so easy to emulate the chemistry, and it makes for very exciting rehearsals.
I also think there’s a lot of spontaneity in [the play] which makes it very interesting to be in. What I really love about working with Martin is that he let us follow our intuition. Personally, I think that acting, as much as it's something you should think about and choreograph and perfect, it's about instinct and intuition. Martin really allowed us creative breathing space, so it has been really rewarding seeing the play grow organically.
What has been the most challenging part of the rehearsal and production process?
Martin: Being an independent production hasn’t been easy to deal with, but we’ve been able to do it because of the help that we’ve gotten from people within the Union and the incredible help of the producer [Emma Johnston]. On the creative side, the script is incredibly challenging, some of the actors are on stage basically the whole show. It’s written in a very realistic way meaning that it’s basically as if you did a transcript of conversations that people our age have [...] - everyone’s talking on top of each other all of the time so the cues are really hard.
Some of the things that are discussed in the play aren’t easy either - things like love and heartbreak and relationships and family, and what to do when the ideals you have of a career or job or how to change the world are met with the fact that the real world isn't exactly what you’d imagined. I think it deals with things that are very suited for university students, which is one of the reasons we picked the show.
So the play deals with some fairly heavy themes, are there any particular messages you wanted to put across by creating a show like this?
Martin: Well, first of all, I should mention that the play’s funny, so, even though it deals with a lot of serious things, we want people laughing. It’s meant to create situations that are familiar to us, and the characters are created in a very real way and I think that’s what makes them relatable and funny, they feel like people that you would know. In terms of messages, I would say that I think it’s about the fact that when you reach a certain age you start dealing with things that are very real and very different from what you’d imagined the world to be. I don’t want it to sound like it’s a pessimistic play; it’s not depressing, it’s just the fact that life is challenging, and you have to deal with a lot of things that you weren’t expecting to deal with.
What do you think is a key message of the play as a whole that your character particularly communicates?
Martina: I think what play teaches you to find romance in the non-idealized world in which you’re living. Sometimes things are a bit wonky, or they don’t work out perfectly, things don’t go very smoothly in your life and your relationships. What I love about my character is that she takes charge of her life, she knows what she wants, and she chases after what she wants, which I think sometimes when you’re young is really difficult because what you want and what you need might be two different things, or what you want might be scary, or unattainable, or just unrealistic. I love that its unembellished. Sometimes things are disappointing, sometimes things don’t work out in a beautiful, grandiose way, because honestly that's just how things are most of the time, and I think it’s a big lesson for a lot of people. At the beginning of the play, I think she [Nina] inhabits this sort of idealized version of reality, and then gradually I think she realizes what she actually needs as a person. Instead of sitting with what’s comfortable she goes with what’s right for her even though it’s maybe the more painful course of action to take.
What do you love about the play?
Martina: What I loved about this play is that it doesn’t embellish anything, I remember when I sat down and read the script it just resonated with me so much. [...] I understood each of the characters, sometimes they say things that are not very flattering or the way they say it isn’t perfect. It’s just so human and so in touch with the viewer and also the actors. You go through the entire repertoire of human emotion as you’re seeing or reading the play. You see everything the characters go through so many things that maybe are not pretty or things that people maybe don’t want to talk about that much, [...] It explores all sides of being young and trying to figure things out and stuff like that.
On the whole, would you say it’s a hopeful play?
Martin: I think theatre is really good when it has something to say. I think everything has something to say but I enjoy making sure that the things I’m involved with are made for a reason. I don’t think Snore gives a clear answer to the questions that it poses. I’m curious to see what people who watch the show take out of it. I don’t think that it gives an easy answer.
Photos by Martin Caforio