Two of our new grantees, Alexandra Hines and Chloe Martin, come as a duo. While trained in disparate acting methods, Chloe in mime and clown techniques and Alex in Meissner, Stella Adler and Chubbuck techniques, they are making waves with their work together in the improvised series DeeBrief.
They will be supported to undertake a 10-week period of intensive comedy improvisation training at the Groundlings Theatre and Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles, USA.
Tell us about your artistic practices?
Alexandra: I’m an actor, theatre maker, comedian, producer and teacher with a multi-disciplinary approach to performing arts. At the moment I’m in development of Let Men Tremble, a new work by The Danger Ensemble, in season at Theatreworks in August. Last year saw a huge push for autonomy within my work, I devised and self-produced two solo shows IM.MORTAL (Melbourne International Comedy Festival) and The Phoenix Rises (Melbourne Fringe) as Juniper Wilde a dark satirical femme positive popster. In 2018, I played the role of Dee in the improvised series Dee-Brief, nationally broadcast by the Channel 10 network.
Chloe: I’m mostly an actor and writer. I’m currently busy with writing projects, I’m working on a rom-com film and some new characters. I have a dream to tour Alex around Australia in a one-woman Schapelle Corby tribute show called ‘To Schapelle and Back’, so that’s in development. I’ve also been working with teenagers on comedy improvisation techniques. Across all projects, I’m largely obsessed with the clown figure, critique, and the theme of human endeavour.
What led you to collaborate as creative partners?
Chloe: We met in an audition for Dee-brief, a new TV series. The show is about two best friends, and the dialogue is improvised, so the creators wanted to cast a pair with authentic chemistry. The first audition was a large group audition. As individuals, we were required to tell a true story to camera. Alex just captivated me. It was a proper love-at-first-sight feeling, I mean I remember her outfit. I just wanted to know her. Turned out she wanted to know me too, she stalked me on social media after the audition.
Alexandra: In the callback, we were asked to improvise short scenes in pairs. We really enjoyed our scenes together.
Chloe: That first sketch with Alex was probably the most natural, enjoyable improvisation experience I’ve had with a person. Alex just began the scene, no freaking out or trying to plan the action or roles in the few seconds we had, she just began the scene.
Alexandra: We both got the parts, and the natural chemistry and comedic rapport that we discovered in that audition was such a joy for us throughout the production. The second season is currently in development, and Chloe and I want to push further as a duo, both in and beyond the show.
Chloe: We are both obsessed with sketch and the possibilities of improvisation on screen, we really want to push it to the limit, we want to make something new.
How do your artistic styles complement each other?
Alexandra: We come from very different acting training. Chloe went to mime and clown school in Paris and approaches everything from a physical point of view. I trained in Meissner, Stella Adler and Chubbuck, so I’m more driven by the psychology and emotions of the character.
Chloe: Yes, my starting point is always to handle the objects and explore movement potential within the set and the frame whereas Alex will be mapping the emotional arc and objectives of the character. So, our approaches really contrast, but the outcome is good. If I had to put my finger on what we share, it’s a sense of humour and a sense of fury. We care about the same issues, we have the same appetite, we have the same work ethic. We are learning a lot from each other.