Cast: Chloe Martin, Alexandra Hines
Director: Sarah Hickey
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Synopsis: Dee-Brief is a 9-part dramedy series (and 3-episode series for broadcast) that tells the story of Dee and Kate, two best friends trying their best to navigate their late 20's in Melbourne. After Dee breaks up with her long-term, on-again off-again partner, she moves in with best friend Kate to try and put the pieces back together. But -adulting' is hard when your best friend is just so damn excited to have you around again. And being single looked a hell of a lot different the last time you were here. Let's be real. We've all been there before, relationships between women are complex.
Dee-Brief will broadcast weekly at 7pm on Channel 31 if you're in Melbourne or you can catch Dee-Brief online via their YouTube channel, subscribe and catch the first three episodes at 9pm on Monday 14th May and then weekly every Monday night.
Follow the show on their website and Facebook page.
Question: What attracted you to the project of Dee-Brief?
Alexandra Hines: When I read the audition script I got a sense of real, relatable women, not just two simplistic archetypes - something that is still so dispassionately rare. After the second round of callbacks we found out that the show was going to be improvised and I just thought -who do I have to kill to be involved?'
Question: How would you explain the show?
Alexandra Hines: It's a love letter to strong, loving female friendships. It's an improvised dramedy navigating the turbulence of change and self-discovery with your ride or die. After Dee breaks up with her long term partner she moves in with Kate, her best friend. It promises to be a bestie sleepover for the rest of their days but reality crushes happiness and cracks appear when it comes knocking at their door.
Question: Why will we all be able to relate to Dee-Brief?
Alexandra Hines: This show is putting the things that every woman has felt at some point or another into words and onto the screen. It was created so organically, filtered through the voices of so many women and their experiences, it's become this series of episodes where people just look at it and think -that's me'. And it's not exclusive to the female experience it is dealing with the very human question – -what am I doing with my life?' It's also all filmed in inner city Melbourne and I think there's something beautiful about watching a show and knowing the places that it's all happening in.
Question: Can you tell us about your character?
Alexandra Hines: Dee is a very pragmatic woman, she is successful in her career and we meet her just as she's broken up with her boyfriend of seven years. She is creative, intelligent and fun but the type of personality to thrive with plans in place so upheaval is not her cup of tea. It's interesting because this season is about self-discovery for her. She had spent so long so invested in this relationship and coming out of that is a huge readjustment. I think she is beautifully compassionate and much to her detriment holds onto things for too long, with the unwavering belief that with work and dedication it can become good again.
Question: How could you relate to your character?
Alexandra Hines: It's funny because I'm actually not that similar to Dee. I mean we're both vegan, I'm scared of dating apps and I can be quite pragmatic at times, but I'm more of a hurricane than a goal setter. There is a lot in her post break up story I can relate to though. I'm an A-grade crumbler, you know, when you go through a break up and you think you're good, next thing you know you're room is covered in motivational posters, and you're just sobbing in your empty bathtub watching micro-pig videos.
Question: What was it like to improv on this project?
Alexandra Hines: We had a story arc that we worked within, so we would know what the scene was about (eg. making a dating profile) and then we would nut out how each of our characters would go about it. We'd run a few takes and there would be points that naturally start to reoccur and then we'd work on expanding and colouring them. It was an ABSOLUTE dream! We were constantly work shopping and coming up with different ways to engage with moments. It was a fantastic way to work; it felt like a hybrid between theatre and film. I cannot stress enough how many times I would thank the stars for Chloe and Sarah, it was just an incredible union of strong creative women and made for some beautiful moments.
Question: How is this project similar to HBO's Girls?
Alexandra Hines: It deals with the drama of every life in a similar no frills comedic way. There are parallels in that it's portrayal of women is not two dimensional or simplistic, but Dee-Brief leans more into the friendship between Dee and Kate rather than the external relationships which I think is important.
Question: What was it like working with a mostly female-team?
Alexandra Hines: There were a lot of women bringing their stories and experiences to the table, particularly when the story and characters were being developed. It made for such a well-informed foundation that we could all relate to. Building from that rich female platform the work was continually informed by incredible women in every department and the energy on set being so heavily female made for the most incredible work place. It was female strong but there were also some incredible men involved who would watch scenes play out and relate to them too - which I think is something very special.
Question: What was it like working with Sarah Hickey, on this project?
Alexandra Hines: That woman makes Beyonce look lazy! She's a powerhouse and an incredible director. Improv was an incredibly explorative process and Sarah gave Chloe and I such autonomy over the characters whilst at the same time maintaining such a strong image of where she wanted it to go.
Question: What's next for you?
Alexandra Hines: I just did a solo show in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and I'm working on developing that into a second show for the Melbourne Fringe Festival as well as collaborating on another show. I'm also spending most of my money on scratchies because I saw two shooting stars three nights ago and I think that means I'm about to be set for life!
Interview by Brooke Hunter
Photo: Tuscany Gray Photography