Briefs Factory, the renowned Australian company, is making its première in Montréal with Dirty Laundry, an extravagant show inspired by circus, drag, dance, burlesque, music and comedy. From July 6 to 16, as part of MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE, audiences will be immersed in a glittering universe filled with laughter and audacity. Adding to the unforgettable experience, Quebec’s beloved drag queen, Barbada, will be the special guest entertainer.
Exclusive interview with Fez Faanana, the director and co-founder of Briefs Factory, and Barbada, as they prepare at La TOHU for the upcoming show.
Fez, as the director and co-founder of Briefs Factory, could you tell us how the company came into being?
The company began in 2008 in Brisbane, born from a series of parties. At that time, there were very creative warehouses, performances, and DJs and all this kind of evolved into a show. We developed these parties into a collective and soon after we started to get invitations to appear in festivals, so we thought we’d better rehearse and create something substantial!
Fifteen years later, we’ve become a circus, theatre, drag, and burlesque company. We’re nine artists with a great team of female technicians and producers. It’s shifting roles: men as burlesque performers and women in charge! Briefs Factory kept this spirit of party and celebration very much alive.
As you said, your creations blend multiple art forms – circus, drag, dance, burlesque, music, and comedy. What prompted you to introduce circus in the mix?
My background is contemporary dance, and when I discovered circus, it felt risky and exciting. Circus is like the punk at the table: when we talk about performing arts, circus is the misfit. I really respect the history of circus, even though it might be younger than these other art forms. I love how circus, historically, has the ability to be self-contained. It has a family motto : come together, travel together, set up the tent, go to town, sell the tickets, come back, sell the popcorn, and do the show. The whole idea of how it functions speaks to me: it’s not just a theatre company, it’s a family, and they all look after each other.
What led you to integrate Barbada, Montreal’s famous drag queen, into the show?
What I find interesting is that while we have really amazing looks and talents in our show, there’s also a sense of cleverness and politics, and I feel it’s important for our show to represent drag in a clever way. We’ve been working hard to make this season happen, and we want to make sure we reach the French-speaking audiences. This is our first time in Quebec, and we want to come back!
Barbada, how does it feel to be part of a show that’s already on the road?
I’m not going to lie; I was a bit worried at first. I’m used to doing my own thing, contact the artists and put a show together. So, since Dirty Laundry is such an elaborate and niche show, I was wondering how I was going to fit in. Talking with Fez, I think we really found the right way to do it, so it worked with my character, without taking anyone else’s place. I think we have a very good connection!
How was Barbada’s act created?
Barbada: My role here is to connect with the crowd. We want to establish the friendly atmosphere that is typical of a drag show. To do this, we are currently working on various interactions – we don’t script in full, because we want to leave enough room for spontaneous creativity!
Fez: Ultimately, I think if we’re laughing and having fun, it will “infect” the audience. I think people will feel the connection right away. We have fun, we laugh at each other, we laugh with each other.
You won’t want to miss this memorable, festive, and colorful show!
Presented from July 6 to 16, 2023 at the Studio-Cabaret de l’Espace St-Denis, in the MONTRÉAL COMPLÈTEMENT CiRQUE festival.