5 Min Read

A Taste of Everything: Someone Stole Dee Perse’s Tree (and other short stories)

“A woman is laying a trap for tree thieves. Another woman who just wants her crockery back. A man obsessed with a washed-up Disney channel heartthrob. The poor soul who has to listen to him talk about it. Two school-girls with creative differences over their latest lip synch video. It's all a bit off.”

Someone Stole Dee Perse’s Tree (and other short stories) is a new work serving up five stories like a five-course dramatic degustation, where viewers get to sample a bit of everything.

With an invite into the rehearsal room, I wasn’t sure what I was in for and certainly couldn’t have predicted I’d experience a flashback to any random day in 2012 where I would’ve been a 15-year-old YouTube obsessed teen.

As I watched Elise Wilson (Leslie) and Courtney Cavallaro (Harriet) rehearse, I swore this could’ve been a verbatim scene from my own life; with names of forgotten teen internet sensations popping up, mentions of the Biebs and a choreographed dance to Carly Rae Jepsen’s seminal track Call Me Maybe.

Someone Stole Dee Perse’s Tree (and other short stories) 2021 Photography: Steph Forsyth

After rehearsal I spoke with Elise and Courtney, alongside fellow cast member Tamara Creasey, where I admitted I’d never seen anything which so accurately portrayed my experience with pop culture as a teen.

Elise agreed, this was part of her teen years too, “I was addicted to YouTube in year 11, I had to go cold turkey. I started to have parasocial relationships with YouTubers, parasocial relationships being something that comes up in Tamara’s scene, and I wanted to be friends with them all but then I realised I was never going to meet them, I was never going to actually get anything from this, and I needed to stop. I totally vibed with this scene.”

Courtney said her character Harriet’s obsession with making dance videos mirrored her own fixation as a teen, “I definitely used to go hard on an app where you’d make a dance video to a song, 2013 was when I was going pretty hard on it. This scene takes me back to that time where the sole purpose of hanging out, the meaty part of it, being making a video.”

If you’re not a now 20-something-year-old, or someone who never over consumed YouTube, don’t worry, as mentioned Dee Perse is a five-course meal and will not just be a 2012 throwback (although I wouldn’t mind that AT ALL).

They told me each play centres around a two-person dynamic (there are some exceptions) with one overarching theme flowing through them all.

“Connection is the biggest theme. The way different people connect across time and across different ages.” Tamara said.

“My character is Kath, and she has a business where you can hire her as a friend. So again, connecting with people. She’s on one of her meetings with a character named Grant who struggles with social connection. Interestingly, even though romance isn’t involved it still follows a similar path of a first date and what questions you ask, trying to keep the conversation flowing, not letting there be any gaps and it is awkward, parts are uncomfortable.”

Someone Stole Dee Perse’s Tree (and other short stories) 2021 Photography: Steph Forsyth

Elaborating on connection, Courtney revealed the show takes an untraditional approach to it, “It’s cool because they [the characters] connect in all of the ways but love, which I think is very classic… watching two people meet and dance, that thing of “where are we similar, where are we different” but in every sense other than romance.”

Elise explained that other themes such as the spreading of misinformation, conspiracy theories and the feeling of shared anxiety also feed into the show.

“There’s a lot in the show about feeling like ‘something’ is coming. After the year we’ve had I feel like we’re reaching the apocalypse. Not to say the apocalypse is nigh but there’s a feeling of anxiety shared between us. The way we solve that feeling is through connection.”

Someone Stole Dee Perse’s Tree (and other short stories) 2021 Photography: Steph Forsyth

In describing the style of the show and how five plays can come together in one, Elise compared it to the film Love Actually. “There’s lots of different storylines, but they’re all linked through characters that have relationships to each other.

Except rather than Love Actually which goes between all the story lines back and forth, with this you get all of one and then you go to the next one.”

“We’re still negotiating the line of where the scenes are distinct and where they do connect. There’s a lot of joy to be found in Easter Eggs between them all.” Courtney added.

Someone Stole Dee Perse’s Tree (and other short stories) is written by Rupert Williamson, directed by Bec Fingher and features a six-person cast including Tegan Mulvaney, Elise Wilson, Daniel Buckle, Courtney Cavallaro, Tamara Creasey and Veronica Mistry.

The show will debut at the Subiaco Art Centre from the 8th to the 11th of September. See you there!