Anywhere Fest: Gumpoldskirchen

For our second Anywhere Festival Q&A, stellar playwright Bianca Butler gives us the low down on Gumpoldskirchen.

Q. Describe your show/s in under 25 words.
A. Estranged brothers take a rail journey across Europe to collect their father’s ashes. Catching up is funny, painful and more than a little claustrophobic.

Q. What makes your Anywhere venue the perfect fit?
A. Milton ‘Railway’ Park is situated between the Milton and Auchenflower train stations, and even has a kids’ playground in the shape of a steam engine, so the transit theme is strong. This ties in perfectly with Gumpoldskirchen, which is all about journeys, both literal and relational. The majority of the action takes place in train carriages and train stations, and throughout the whole play we see the transitory relationship of the protagonists, who struggle to find common ground. In their journey to become better brothers, they also move toward closure in their troubled relationship with their father. I’m indebted to the clever folks at Underground Productions for sourcing such a unique and thematically appropriate setting.

Gumpoldskirchen — Bianca Butler

Q. If you could stage your play anywhere in time and space (after Milton, of course), where would you choose?
A. It probably sounds boring, but I’m really happy with my play being performed here and now. If I could look a year or two into the future, I would love to see it transfer to main house production with one of Brisbane’s professional theatre companies, like La Boite. I think the play would work really well in the Roundhouse Theatre space. Longer term, I would love to take a touring production to all the towns and cities that feature in the play, starting with the tiny village of Clun, Shropshire, and finishing up in Gumpoldskirchen itself.

Q. Family secrets are exposed in Gumpoldskirchen. Do you have any ancestral skeletons in the closet you could tell us about?
A. That’s a tough question. The play I’m working on now is inspired by something that happened in my dad’s family when he was a boy, but there aren’t really any skeletons there. It’s about how his parents took in American soldiers on R&R leave from the Vietnam War. It’s not very scandalous, but I found the research process fascinating.


Q. Will Poirot be accompanying us on this potentially dangerous train journey?
A. Alas, not including Poirot was my folly! There are a couple of Belgian characters, but sadly they are neither detectives nor cultivators of a handsome moustache. Next time perhaps.

GUMPOLDSKIRCHEN runs at Milton ‘Railway’ Park, Corner Nerida Lane & Milton Road, from 8 to 12 May, 2013.

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