5 Questions with Anna Cheney and Eliza Sanders

Anna Cheney

Eliza Sanders: What’s the first show you ever saw?
Anna Cheney: Romeo And Juliette the ballet… oh no it wasn’t, it was 7 Little Australians. I felt really privileged to be taken to the theatre as child, because it has shaped me and I bloody love live theatre because it is visceral, it causes you to think and ask questions of life and humans and I think it can change lives.

What was your first acting experience?
I used to do magic shows. I used to learn magic tricks from a book and then create a show and then take them into primary school and perform them in front of the class. Then when my classmates learned how to do the tricks they teased me.

What did you do then?
I cried all night then went back the next day and did it again, but better. Fuck you school kids!

Why are you passionate about this show?
I’ve never read a play that is quite as radical and unusual as this play and this theatre company is the perfect company to take it on. The director has a very clear vision regarding his desire for both equality and great theatre. House of Sand has brought together a diverse range of professionals to undertake this ‘everistic’ task (is that a word?… climbing theatrical mountains) Now, a week away from opening I can see even more how much of a genius Alice Birch is because we have a kick ass production from what seamed like a very strange conglomeration of words on a page, vignettes and abstract provocations regarding women and language. I don’t know how this writer has done it, but fuck, she’s amazing.

What’s your favourite female body part?
This bit (gestures to place above belly button below breast. It’s got a name but I can’t think what it’s called. Solar plexus? It’s soft and smooth and close to your heart. On my body, my hands, but not aesthetically, just what I can do with them.

Why do we need feminism?
A million thoughts rage in my head! Feminism has a long way to go but, fuck, it’s important. If we didn’t have it, the world would be in a worse place. True equality or the aim for true equality is something that I believe would help every person on the planet.

Eliza Sanders

Anna Cheney: What is the answer to the patriarchy?
Eliza Sanders: Fuck knows.

AC: What do you think about shows that use sexy women to sell them?
ES: Depends if that has anything to do with the content on the show. I don’t think it is bad to use women’s bodies for marketing if it is justified and consensual. But I think men’s bodies should be used more often for marketing, but maybe that just because I personally love the look of men’s bodies.

As a professional dancer, what is it like acting in a play?
Not as physical. Haha. It is more different than I thought it would be. The communication around language is much more considered which makes for a different pace in the rehearsal room which has taken some adjusting. It’s slower in the moment but somehow the whole work seems to come together much quicker. There is also more work that you have to do outside of the studio like learning lines and investigating character choices, and less rolling all over your collaborators.

How is Sydney going to respond to this play?
That is something I really can’t predict, Sydney audiences are not particularly familiar to me. I think they will be amused and entertained primarily and hopefully it will cause then to question and reassess their perspectives on feminism and language.

How is live theatre relevant in a world of screens?
It’s about building communities and bringing people together in physical space. Giving people a reason to leave the house and socialise and interact with ideas without being able to press pause whenever they want. There is a different energetic charge in a live room that you don’t get from a screen. The reason I do it is because it affects your body in a physical way and that allows intellectual and emotional understanding to be gained in a different capacity. Primarily it is about sharing. You can’t do it on your own.

Anna Cheney and Eliza Sanders are appearing in Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. by Alice Birch.
Dates: 2 – 19 May, 2018
Venue: The Old 505 Theatre