An Interview With

Jeffrey Jay Fowler

Writer & Director of the 2017 West Australian Arts Editor Award, Melbourne Tour Ready Award and The Blaz Award Winning Show: THE ONE



How long have you been an artist? Can you tell us a bit about your practice?

I've always been an artist, even though my teachers in primary school could rarely see my potential. Actually, the first B grade I ever got was in Year Eight art but it didn't deter me; just made me realise I'd have to keep practicing. For the last decade I've mostly been working in theatre and performance. I create new works, largely as director or writer but sometimes as performer, deviser and dramaturg. 


can you tell us a bit about your show?

The One is a simple story about modern love spoken, by a nameless man and woman, over a bed of live guitar. It peels back the ideas of modern relationships that we take for granted and questions why things are the way they are for men and women as they court one another.


what drew you to write the one?

I'm fascinated by the gay marriage debate because I think it's the wrong debate. I think we should be getting rid of the government's involvement in marriage altogether. I've seen marriage ruin people's lives, but also have seen marriage keep people together. It's something I think about a lot. I wanted to explore it deeper. I wanted to see the emotional repercussions of having to decide whether to marry someone or not. 


who are some of your favourite writers?

I love the lyrics of Ani Difranco, Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Patti Smith, Leonard Cohen, Dolly Parton, Amy Winehouse. It was lyricists that inspired the text for The One much more than playwrights.


Do you have a favourite line in the show you can share with us?

"I love your cock. It’s smashing, really just, a wonderful cock babe. You have such a great cock." 


can you tell us what you love about writing for performance?

Seeing it performed and working with actors to make it sound right. There's a great feeling when you work on a line both with the words and delivery and then feel that click when you and the actor get it just right.


Can you tell us about the most memorable performances you have ever seen? Has there been a particular show that has moved or inspired you?

Robert Lepage's Dragon's Trilogy was the show that made me decide to be a theatre maker. It was epic. I loved how unapologetic it was. It understood totally the possibilities of live performance; it did things film and tv cannot do.


what are you working on next?

The show I'm directing, The Eisteddfod by Lally Katz, previews tonight! In October, Chris Isaacs and I are debuting a companion piece to FRINGE WORLD award-winning show FAG/STAG which is called, at this stage, BALI.


What does it mean for you to be making work in WA?

This is a fantastic city that is growing culturally in strides and I love being part of that movement.


If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

Great question, thanks for asking. I like to think some kind of web-spinning spider. You create the web and what you're seeking comes to you. I'm also fascinated by the fact that spiders hatch and simply know what to do. They don't learn how to make webs, they just know. Though I just asked my friend Natalie Holmwood what animal I'd be and she said I would be a large cat. I don't know. I'm allergic to small cats. I've never been close enough to a large cat to be able to tell if I'd be allergic to them too. Okay Natalie changed her mind and now she says I would be an eagle actually. Maybe like an eagle crossed with a meerkat, I think. Because, kind of cute, kind of a bird of prey. Yeah. So maybe like a Griffin but with meerkat and spider somewhere in their ancestry.