Talented trio on cusp of a dream

Erin James reports on the fantastic initiative by a trio of WAAPA graduates…

Erin James reports on the fantastic initiative by a trio of WAAPA graduates…

Tessa Hurst, Adam Rennie and Nat Jobe sat around a computer last week to call me on skype for an interview. The three WAAPA graduates (2008) certainly made the 7am phone call one to remember. With wit, talent and a down-to-earth sense of humour – these three housemates make a very funny trio.

If you haven’t heard of the Wheels of A Dream phenomenon, then I suggest you read this feature and immediately check it out. What these three young performers have put together has created an enormous stir in the industry and beyond.

Fresh out of drama school, armed with a small handy cam, some show tunes, brand new head shots and unemployment, Hust, Jobe and Rennie began filming their show:  Wheels of A Dream. It follows these three Music Theatre graduates as they struggle with ‘real’ jobs, auditions and chase their dreams.

Adam Rennie explains how it all began: “At the start of this year we were all doing a lot of… nothing… and we wanted to start working on something. We thought about doing a cabaret, but this just seemed to ‘fit’ into our lives better.”

He added: “We didn’t set out to start a series on YouTube. We just started filming and having fun. We have been playing with this sense of humour and style for many years. We had this relationship when we were at uni, and now we have just whacked a camera in front of it!”

“And because people liked it we are forced to continue. It inspires you to do more, but there is quite a bit of pressure,” said Hurst.

During our skype chat, I asked the trio how close the segments we see on film are to reality. Tess answered promptly: “Well a lot of it happens naturally. A lot of what you see on camera is what actually happens in our every day lives. We just heighten the situations – they are exaggerated.”

The material is never scripted, and the episodes all have a very improvisational air. 

However, with hours and hours of footage filmed per episode, Rennie explains that this can make the editing long and difficult.

“The episodes are all edited on my computer”, he says, “and we all sit here in the ‘editing suite’ to sift through the material.” (The editing suite is, essentially, a couch with Rennie’s computer perched in front of it.)

Jobe quips that despite the lengthy process, they always enjoy themselves: “it doesn’t matter cause at least we think it’s funny!”

With episode 5 about to be released, I asked the trio where they see the series heading. Surely something this clever and popular has life in it? Perhaps ABC or SBS might be interested?, 

Jobe explains that as time goes on, they have needed to become more business-like with the whole process. “Now we have to create a plot line, or exact marks that we need to hit. There is still freedom to play with that, but we had a structure in mind.”

“But yes, ideally we would love to have it on TV – you know a slot on ABC or SBS or something like that,” says Rennie.

There is now a Wheels of A Dream fan page on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wheels-Of-A-Dream/120911877925042) , and the three masterminds behind this phenomenon are well aware that advertising and marketing (and perhaps some smart product placement…watch for the blue iPhone in all of the musical numbers! How else would they keep in time?) would certainly get their “baby” off the ground.

“We have so many ideas and we have so much fun. It would be nice not to worry about scheduling our part time jobs around it. But it works for us because we can work part time and still create,” said Hurst.

Adam Rennie has just returned from performing in Jekyll and Hyde overseas, Nat Jobe has recently finished The King and I and is currently rehearsing The Pirates of Penzance, and Tessa Hurst is about to start work on the new cast album of Morgan’s Run.

These are three young performers who have done exactly what every acting student is told at university: create your own work. They spoke about the idea for as long as they can remember, and one day just “did it”! Thank god they did. What a refreshing take on the industry we work in!

If you’d like some tips on stage combat, check out the master class in episode 3.

Or if you feel you have trouble being noticed because of your older sibling’s success, have a look at Adam’s Cats experience in episode 4.

Perhaps you need help with audition preparation? See how Tess handles the morning of an audition in episode 2.

If you feel life should be one big song and dance, visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wheels-Of-A-Dream/120911877925042

Through thick or through thin, all out or all in, these three are in this together. Like the Wheels of A Dream.

Erin James

Erin James is AussieTheatre.com's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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