Toxic Kiss are the latest artistic wunderkinds (in their own minds). In a brand new comedy web-series, we witness the highs (and lows) of theatre making.
Introducing Australia’s most exciting purveyors of kunst (that’s German for “art”, you philistine). Their names are Margot Koch (a director, seer, conceptual brick-layer, performer) and Benedict J. Jaye (…dramaturg).
These are the redoubtable members of the famous Toxic Kiss Theatre Company and their work has taken centre-stage in various festivals and (now) a web-series.
If you haven’t heard of them – trust us, you will — the vibe of these guys is so fiercely passionate it’ll burn up your heart if you stand too close. In fact, their vibe is just so damn real and true — that, natch’, they’re fake.
In fact, they are a satirical comedy duo – a loving ode to the Australian art’s scene and, more broadly, fringe-dwellers of all kinds.
Their latest work Achtung Mein Kunst is a mockumentary web-series that explores, over five acts, the misadventures of the dynamic duo as they attempt to stage (disastrously) their latest masterwork.
Writer/performer duo Clare Hennessy and Richie Black used their own experiences as “practitioners” and their own theatrical heartbreaks to delve into a real, hilarious and ultimately poignant exploration of what it means to be a “creative”.
Says Hennessy: “Big personalities and big dreams are rife in the theatre, but I think everybody experiences (and let’s be real, enjoys) drama and big expectations in their workplace. The more you care about something, no matter how unimportant it seems to someone else, the more likely it is to blow up.”
Gleefully mixing the profane with the philosophical, the series is willing to examine the artist’s role in contemporary Australian society – particularly its status against certain more culturally celebrated phenomenon (namely, sport).
Black says: “These people are heroic in a way – with all their frailties, narcissism and lack of success – they are willing to throw themselves into the fray time-and-again. It’s that quixotic impulse that makes them adorable, even when they are behaving terribly.”
They are both at pains to say that their characters are, to a great extent, extrapolated from themselves. For example, Hennessy and Black met at a certain high-stakes Sydney-based drama institute (*cough, cough*) as did Margot and Benedict – which is overtly reference in their work.
Black says: “We both know what it’s like to go through that sort of rarified atmosphere – where, uh, egos can run rampant – and then you end up graduating, leaving that bubble and wondering where all the fucking plaudits are at.”
Hennessy is quick to add, “Ultimately, it’s a loving celebration of community and the friends you make along the way. Only the dickheads could be offended.”
Directed by Josh Mawer, “Toxic Kiss Presents: Achtung, Mein Kunst” will be released to Youtube – and beyond – on January 10th. Featuring Clare Hennessy, Richie Black, Jodine Muir, Stephanie Begg, Alexis Orosa and Steve Maresca.