Oh hi there // Virginia Frankovich

It’s an unfortunate, sweaty-palmed truth that best things for you are often the unexpected, nerve-jangling things, and I think CAR, a new play coming to The Basement next week, will be one of these. There are only six tickets to each performance, the seats are in the back of a car, the stage is the streets of Auckland, the outcome is impossible to say. I asked the woman behind it, Virginia Frankovich, to fill me in…

I’m a Libran theatre-maker but I’m also a founding member of the elusive crafting group – cat’s craft circle (what do we make? nobody knows!)

My day usually begins with drinking plunger coffee and bitching with my flatmate Hamish and ends with eating a row of refrigerator-hardened chocolate in my bedroom, amidst piles of clothes, cords and general chaos.

Name your three favourite places in Auckland to eat, drink and play.
Freida Margolis, that cute little Grey Lynn bar that used to be a butcher when I was kid.
Le garde-manger for a sweet crepe.
Dizengoff, an oldie but a goodie.

Tell us something we’d be surprised to know about you.
I descend from a Venetian count who was buried alive (they found scratch marks in his coffin). I also once got kicked out of a Snoop Dogg concert (when I had bleached blonde hair).

Pick a book and a park you’d like to read it in, anywhere in the world.
The collected poems of Frank O’Hara in Central Park right next to the rock where Kevin McCallister lodges his foot before meeting the pigeon lady.

Tell us a little bit about CAR.
This is a little show I have been wanting to make for a long time but never had the guts to try out… until now (apparently). I’m interested in getting people out of the black box theatre and creating dynamic and immersive work in locations throughout our city. Altering a view on a familiar street, perhaps, changing the way we look at the world for a moment. As Aucklanders, we spend so much time in cars, they become these private capsules that we rely on to get everywhere. They can be a place of freedom, but they can also feel like a cage (rush-hour traffic amiright?). CAR was born from my inability to stay still in New Zealand, my constant desire to be moving and getting away from what is familiar. I exoticised the rest of the world and felt very isolated in my hometown. Moving back to New Zealand has been a great thing for me and I’m really beginning to appreciate what a magical place it is. I think that’s a pretty common feeling for NZ’ers in general – this sense of being away from all of the action. CAR is an experiment, it aims to take you on a journey into the unknown. I have no idea how it will be received but I am really excited that every night we get to perform to an intimate audience of 6 people and that’s because our show takes place in public locations, no show will ever be the same. How scary/frightening!

What inspired you to write this piece?
Well I didn’t really write it, I wrote up the concept of it and then discussed it with my cast, then formulated provocations for them to devise from. I suppose later in the piece I have been doing more writing for it, but a lot of it will be improvised. There is no ‘script’ persay.

With such an alternative stage, the process of bringing it together must be quite different too, tell us a little about that.
To date, we’ve had 2 x dead car batteries; been abused by the public; had an ignition cark it; attracted the police; had a car door handle snap off; an alternator die; been kicked out of various locations in the CBD; been filmed/leered/laughed at by passers-by – to name a few. We rehearsed for a while in a rehearsal room, but it wasn’t until we got out into the streets that the real work began. The element of risk in this devising process has been high, which has been both challenging and exciting. In the intense heat of January, we all became completely delirious working inside a car. I don’t remember much from those rehearsals.

For those of us who might feel hesitant about getting involved in such a boundary-pushing, intimate experience, what words of encouragement do you have?
No one wants to watch something safe.

If everyone in the world had a theme song that played when they walked into a room, what would yours be and why?
Robyn – ‘Dancing on my own’ because I am always dancing on my own (that sounds really tragic, but it’s not).

See CAR from the 1-12 March, your ride leaves from The Basement. GET TICKETS >>