Joseph O’Farrell, Performer, The Suitcase Royale

"Sport, art, records, and at least one movie starring Bruce Willis ..."

Self-coining what they do as as junkyard theatre, the folks behind The Suitcase Royale return to Brisbane Powerhouse next week with their latest spree of twisted humour, ZOMBATLAND. The comedic trio met at Deakin University, starting out as a folk band, before finding their talents shined much more brightly in the theatre realm. Now this Melbourne-based, rag ‘n’ bone musical ensemble is applying its classic black comedy style to the tale of ZOMBATLAND. Set in the Blue Lagoon Caravan Park somewhere in the Australian outback, ZOMBATLAND follows the adventures of the Grogan brothers as they defend the park from blood-thirsty zombats (zombie wombats). Inspired by the Ozploitation movies of the 1960s and 1970s, and the group’s recent obsession with caravan parks and stories they have heard of wombats digging holes in people’s tents to steal food, ZOMBATLAND combines junkyard music, puppetry and projections in The Suitcase Royale’s classic knocked-together aesthetic. The Weekend Edition caught up with performer Joseph O’Farrell to discover what magic his weekends hold.

How do you like to start your weekend?
Bruce Springsteen, whisky, dance floor. Done!

What’s your favourite thing to do on a Saturday morning?
I like to make ‘avocado smash’ – avocado, mint, feta, basil, chilli and lemon juice. There’s nothing better to eat on a Saturday morning. If you’re reading this now, get down to the market and do yourself a favour.

How do you like to unwind?
As a drummer with no real ‘musical talent’, I am attempting to learn guitar. My maverick friend Pablo gave me the most beautiful Harmony guitar that he got in the US. I am applying myself, one chord at a time.

What are your essentials for a well-spent weekend?
Sport, art, records, and at least one movie starring Bruce Willis … last week was Armageddon.

What’s something you’ve been meaning to do on the weekend but haven’t got around to yet?
My goal is to hire a bike while I’m in Brisbane and see this great city through its bicycle trails. Riding is the best – as soon as I am on a bike I become my 13-year-old self again. Plus, all you need is one or two more people and you’ve totally got a bike gang.

What’s your favourite thing to do on a Sunday evening?
Cook – my girlfriend and I are attempting to become the best Vietnamese cooks ever. It’s a hard road, I won’t lie, but there’s nothing like knocking up a fresh Vietnamese meal and sitting back on a lovely warm evening.

What are you looking forward to next weekend?
Performing at Brisbane Powerhouse. We get to perform for two weeks in this cool, cool city. We have been lucky enough to perform at arts centres all around the world and Brisbane Powerhouse is high on the list of our favourites. A theatre right next to the river, in a tropical setting – what more could you want?

What are you reading at the moment?
I just finished Nam Lee’s The Boat, and I am off to finish Cormac McCarthy’s The Border Trilogy. It’s a hard book to bring on tour though – it pretty much takes up your entire hand luggage weight limit.

Who inspires you?
Bruce Springsteen.

What was your childhood dream?
Well, first of all I wanted to be a motorbike, an actual motorbike. When someone broke the tough news to me, I gave up on dreams altogether. Since then, my dream has been to create art and tour it all over the world.

What has been your greatest achievement?  
Being able to create art and tour all over the world.

What is success to you?
A cold beer.

What are your words of wisdom?
Do what you love and be the best ever at it.

Perk up …
Watching Melbourne Victory play at AAMI Park
Relax … Cycling the Melbourne City Trail
Dine … Longrain Restaurant and Bar, Melbourne CBD
Indulge … My friend Bron’s house – best pork belly ever
Shop … South Melbourne Market
Catch-up … My family home, such a huge bunch of legends
Be inspired … Camberwell Sunday Market – records, junk and boots. Boom!



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