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April 1, 2023

Interview with Sinead Skorka-Brennan and Zac Mifsud of Dance Theatre Group Sprung!!

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French Café is presented by Sprung!! at Brunswick Picture House on Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 2pm and 5pm

Ooh La La! French Café Sprung to Life!

Brunswick Picture House |  Saturday 7pm and Sunday 2pm & 5pm | Adult General $30/Conc General $25/Child (5–15) $15

Dance Theatre Group Sprung!! take their new show French Café to the stage for Bastille Day weekend at the Brunswick Picture House. The Echo spoke with two of the dancers, Sinead Skorka-Brennan (Brisbane) and Zac Mifsud (Lismore).

How did you both get into dancing?

Sinead: Since I was five; I was taken there by my parents. Mainly ballet and tap. I started ballet first actually and then went onwards to tap. I’m still continuing those two. It’s good to have tap back again, because I forgot all my tap moves. I’ve been with Sprung!! since 2014. 

Zac: When I first danced with Sue Whiteman in Sprung!! and then up here at Tintenbar Hall with Michael [Hennessey] learning skills and movements. My bandmates, like my brothers in the band [Tra-la-la-blip] – we make some sounds we can move to, some dance we can make. When I was growing up my mum did ballet like Sinead does, and gymnastics, when I was really young. I saw what she did, all different movements with her legs. Because I’m an actor, Rosie [Dennis] helped me with my acting in My Radio Heart. Rosie taught me, in acting, what I do, paying attention to what I did, to focus on that. I got a big grumpy and shitty at Rosie really pushing me. I pushed through for that, and I came up with something new to do something about it, some movement that doesn’t get me angry all the time. 

What’s the most fun thing about being part of Sprung!!?

Sinead: That’s a big question for me. Well, mainly seeing everyone. For me, it’s not about Sprung!! – it’s the land I’ve been drawn too. It captured me, drew me in, and I noticed it’s actually Sprung!! that I’m drawn to. It’s pretty down here [the Northern Rivers]. And the magic inside me is clinging onto me. That’s why I express my feelings through dance. I’ve been invited from Sprung!! to be with this company through Michael Hennessy. 

Tell me about the show – what characters do you play?

Sinead: I’m playing Cleopatra, and I entertain the people in the audience. I had a lover but split up, we had a huge fight with each other, and then in the moment flashbacks come through in my brain, and then I dance that out, and it creates the emotions to get that lyrical contemporary style into that emotion and it creates a story about me, Cleopatra, and him.

Zac: So, right, I’m a person in the kitchen, preparing food, not actually real food – I have a name like my own – Zakoff – and my grunge voice. That’s what I’m doing as the chef… and I have a son, in the show, because I love my son. The son thing is not real, it’s just for this… If I have a kid, a son, it reminds me of being a better father to my son, and how much I love my son, care about my son, help him in his life and what he wants in his future… it reminds me how with my ex-girlfriend she might have got pregnant – that’s inspiration for the character; that’s why. 

Who else is working on it?

Sinead: Tara, Max, Kane, Freya, my old dance partner Asher and Che, and me; and um right now, my boyfriend Zac. I think that’s it. Oh and Alice, got it, yeah, Alice. 

Zac: Michael works hard and makes things happen, and Robyn runs it; she makes it happen ’cause she goes for what she feels for her. I know Robyn from way back. Katie and Alice [from French Café] were there too. 

Why the idea of French Café?

Sinead: Because Liz Lea brought that up, and then we wanted a name, and called it French Café, because of the acting skills we can use. It’s a dance-theatre show so we use acting skills and also clowning; that helps us in French Café, the clowning skills. Giovanni [Fusetti] and others give us a lot of help to make this happen with French Café. 

Zac: It’s a country, where some people are living. France is a different state. There’s a whole world and France is like French Café. That’s where some people live; they work there, have careers and jobs. That’s why we came up with French Café. 

What should people expect from the show?

Sinead: From my perspective, for the audience, we need to show them what people with disabilities and without disabilities can do…we can show the audience what we can do, what people haven’t seen before, like French Café, or other projects we have done in Sprung!! They should expect the right technique, for example the movements and the steps they wanna see from us dancers… That’s what it’s about, to impress them. They adore it, actually, what people can do. 

Zac: They’ll say, ‘Wow! We’ve never seen this before! How do you do that, do the show perfectly how you did?’ We’ve been doing this for a long time. People will love the show. 

French Café is presented by Sprung!! at Brunswick Picture House on Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 2pm and 5pm. Tix at brunswickpicturehouse.com.

Guests can arrive an hour early for French bistro food and wine, and curtain-raiser vignette entertainment by Sprung!! Open doors performers. Raffle tickets for the return trip and accommodation in France (sponsored by John and Alex McAuley), and the second prize Byron Writers Festival Family Day Sunday pass sponsored by 2019 Byron Writers Festival, are now available at sprung.org.au/raffle.

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