Kooky British Actress makes her mark in Australia
David Black chats to the zany, actor and writer, Brigitte Jarvis
DB — Hi Brigitte, thanks for making the time to talk to me today. I believe that you go back a few decades in the industry. Can you give me a bit of a background on what you have done to date?
BJ — Thank you David! I completed my three years official training back in Manchester UK, actor training with an emphasis on the physical. I had always loved physical theatre and physical comedy and this was a great fit for me. Since then I’ve been working in theatre and film. I have done a fair amount of devising work but only recently have I found a path into writing intricate 3 dimensional characters, which is delicious!
DB — Let’s chat a bit about your writing first Brigitte. You actually wrote theatre pieces that incorporated dance, drama and comedy. That’s quite a few different ingredients! Can you describe your writing process and how you manage to incorporate so many different things?
BJ –Collaborations, if they work, are a magical thing. I work very closely with ex dancer and choreographer Ru Atma, comedian Kelly Nash and dancer Simone Litchfield, along with some other great talents along the way. We started with standalone pieces with connecting themes and weave them together to make a story. It’s a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle and as you finish, the complete picture shows up. But not so much like a 1000 piece where’s Wally (which never gets finished) more like a 30 piece Wiggles jigsaw, with better writing and way better music! It usually starts with lots of pieces of paper on my wall at home, which then join the other pieces of paper. My confidence in writing has come from having that support and co-writing my last theatre piece with Ru too.
DB — And now for the acting part of your career. You’ve done a bit of theatre and are now moving into film with a comedy webseries. Have you found the transition from stage to film difficult?
BJ — Ask me that in 6 months! No, I found writing my short film ‘Madre’ very easy. I had pieces and moments written and when I came to put it all together it just flowed. I knew the character very well by then, and she kind of just wrote it for me. The webseries is based on a character I have developed in my last two shows with RAWCollective, so I think she’s ready for her own webseries! Again it is a new media for me, but I’m all about just closing my eyes and jumping into things.
DB — Brigitte, have you found that going from the writing end of things to the acting side has enhanced your understanding of the whole theatre/ film process? Has it given you a unique advantage over other actors?
BJ –I don’t know if it gives me an advantage, but being an actor who is now self producing more and more, I am learning invaluable lessons about behind the camera. I’m also learning the business end of…producing. Sorry, I just fell asleep there for a moment. What? But what I LOVE is waking up each day with something to look forward to, knowing I have a great role coming up, and not relying on it being from someone else.
DB — You certainly have done an amazing variety of work Brigitte. Where do you see yourself heading?
BJ — Well this I know, I love to tell stories that have you laughing one minute and crying the next. I love the light and dark. Mmmm, maybe I need to get that looked at!
After my recent 2017 Melbourne Web Fest Pitch (terrifying!), I am now neck deep in writing this comedy Webseries ‘Food Porn’ so I can’t see much past that for now. But I have found a very specific style I like, I love creating quirky broken characters, and I would love to get more opportunities to explore that in my own work, as well as other TV and Film opportunities.
DB — So Brigitte, where can we keep up to date with your career?
David Black regularly writes for Oz Indie Cinema — https://ozindiecinema.wordpress.com/
And is the lead singer/ bass player for Darkness Visible — https://www.facebook.com/DarknessVisible/