Where We Are Now: an interview with Zadie Mccracken

Where We Are Now is three nights of spoken word performance, produced by Zadie Mccracken & Brigitte Noonan, set on themes of body, mind, and earth. It asks and attempts to answer: What is it like to be alive right now?

I had the tremendous pleasure of interviewing one half of the production team, Zadie Mccracken, about what is sure to be a spectacular event!

Ella: So, Zadie, how are you?

Zadie: You know, I’m good, I’m feeling really happy today and that’s a good time for me.

E: So your event is Where We Are Now, playing in the Melbourne Fringe Festival in September, could you give us a description of the event?

Z: Okay, so Where We Are Now is 3 nights of poetry, spoken word, monologues, short stories – anything spoken word and it’ll be there. Each night is set on a theme, the first night is earth, the second night is mind and the third night is body. Basically, it is a show which attempts to come to terms with where we are in history, where we are in ourselves, in our own bodies and minds and where the Earth is and our impact on it. Basically just asking the big questions!

And the main thing that I think we’re asking in the show is: What is it like to be alive right now? A lot of our performers are quite young, so I think it’s kind of coming from an angle of a generation that is now coming of age – which is really fun and interesting – so that’s the show! That’s the show in a nutshell and that’s what people will get. We’ve got an incredible host of diverse performers which is so exciting as well.

E: That’s so awesome! Where did the idea for the event come from?

Z: Oh! Well! The idea for the event started with my friend Sam, shoutout to her! She is someone I met when I was doing another project and she is part of a venue team called Camp Conscious Collective. She kind of said ‘hey! A spoken word show could be really cool for this venue’ and I was like ‘yes, please!!’

Then I was really trying to come up with an idea, I really wanted to do a spoken word performance, But I was really struggling to come up with an idea. I know Bridie is really smart and cool, so I was like ‘I’ll text my friend Bridie she’s amazing!’ So I texted her and she was like, well you know I think something you’ve been talking a lot about recently in your writing is confronting what it is to be alive right now, how you feel about the political climate, social climate and also on a more existential level. – Like ‘oh my god! here I am! I’m a human! I exist!’ you know – So she kind of planted that idea more firmly and then from there we just workshopped. We were originally going to have four nights – So [Bridie] just came up with the idea just straight off the bat and was like ‘let’s do mind, body, earth’ and I was like ‘sounds great! you’re a genius!’ So I guess that’s how the idea formed.

Since then we’ve just been workshopping it a lot and making sense of what it actually is, how we want it to be, how we want it to look and also getting our performers in and reading their work and seeing how they kind of approach the different issues we’re raising. It’s obviously a very broad concept, but I think that the great thing about it – and something that I do a lot in my work – is to take something that either seems really broad and make it really individual, or take something individual and make it really broad. I think this show is all about taking these huge concepts that were constantly confronted by and specifying them to a specific individual and their written experience.

E: How many performers will there be on the nights?

Z: So there are 4 performers a night, but I think there are only 10 performers overall, including Bridie and I, so that’s cool!

The set out of the night is that it goes for 1 hour, and about 40 minutes of that will be set performance which is the four performers – who are all wonderful, wonderful writers – then we’ll have an open mic section, so really we could have as many performers as we want! But yes, I think we will have about 8 set performers who will be performing on different nights.

E: So you said your event was partly about where we are now in ourselves, how do you think you’ve changed since you were 12?

Z: Oh! That’s really interesting. I think about when I was 12 a lot. I’m actually writing a memoir thing-y at the moment, probably not a real memoir because I’m young. I have just been writing about when I was 12 and how I felt very young. My parents had just gotten divorced and I wasn’t necessarily super sad about it ‘cause, you know that’s life. I was in a new school as well, a lot of things had just changed in my life, I was feeling pretty insecure and I was feeling quite raw as a person.

You know when you’re 12, you’re just getting to be a teenager, you’re not really there yet, you’re still a kid but you really want – at least I really wanted to – be a teenager. Also, you know, little things. I wore crazy clothes, I mean I’m sure you remember me in weird, weird things (interviewer’s note: I do remember). I was a lot more hyperactive. A few years ago, I really hated the person I was when I was 12, but now I’m like, that person was just a child you know? I think now I’m definitely much more grown up, I’m coming into myself a lot more, I’m turning 18 at the end of the year and I’m like okay, gonna be a legal adult! So I think a lot of that adulthood stuff is coming up. I definitely feel much more grown-up, mature and sure of myself which is really nice. So you know… development! I think when I was 12, I was just much more childish, hyperactive and doing a lot more running around. Now I just want to go home and sleep.

E: My final, and most important question. Where can we get tickets?

Z: So, I found the best way to find my own show, is to get on the Fringe website (https://melbournefringe.com.au) and they have a really easy system to use where there is a search bar and you can search ‘Where Are We Now’, then click on the event and all the info will be on there. But if that doesn’t work for you, you can follow my Instagram @zadiemccracken. You will find the link in my bio and you will find the link on Facebook. There’s a Facebook event you can look up, so it’s all over the internet really!

Where We Are Now is running from the 27th-29th of September at the Universal Restaurant as apart of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, go and see these amazing young writers!

📷 Photo credit

@pax.photography