In which we serve
John-Paul Hussey is out at the Adelaide Fringe hustings where he finds the vivacious Elena Carapetis
Adelaide based playwright and actor Elena Carapetis, like many artists in her industry are not doing just the one thing: that one dream job that rakes it all in.
Specialisation is a middle class illusion where efficiency can apparently be found in simplicity and constancy. If you want that sort of life, then go work 9 to 5 in a bank and those bills will come in as regular as those pay cheques, and all will be happy. Carapetis doesn't work in a bank to make ends meet, like T.S. Eliot did, because he was only a writer and the only other mistress he had to keep was his mind. Elena Carapetis uses her mind and her body and so she, unlike Eliot, has to be super flexible when it comes to hopping from one from one job to another.
Right now Carpetis has been working with the Adelaide Fringe as their volunteer co-ordinator. "I looked at my calendar and realised that this part of my year is really quiet for me, and my work doesn't start until after the Fringe" said Carpetis. "I saw this job. I love this organisation; I love the festival and wanted to get a sense of what it was like on the other side of the door to where I usually sit, and through this job I've gained some incredible insights in how it all works."
Volunteers are an essential part of any Festival because, really, without them assisting in the administrative and production end, everything would come to an all mighty halt. The process of finding them is also not that straight forward. Well, they don't just turn up at your door, particularly if they are being asked to do something for nothing. But then again the idea of 'nothing' and 'everything' is interchangeable, depending on the quality of a person.
"What I found incredible about this experience is how generous people are with their time and their energy and how willing they are to get their hands dirty. They love the arts and the Adelaide Fringe and a lot of them have been following the Fringe for years," said Carapetis. "I think they also get a great deal of satisfaction in contributing in making something big happen," she added.
Part of Carapetis' and the Fringe's job is to let people know that help is needed. Luckily they have a large mailing list, "and with the help of our marketing and publicity teams we emailed those people and sent out a news letter, and the social networking sites were also very effective."
The social part of being involved is very much key, as Carapetis explained, as some of the volunteers are from out of town and don't know many people. "And within few days they've formed a great social network," which certainly makes for a much more enjoyable festival experience. And it's not all about manning ticket stations or licking envelopes either.
"There was a beautiful sculpture that was paraded down the street on opening night of the King and Queen of the Fringe," said Carapetis. "It was made up of all these empty water bottles and a lot the volunteers assisted the sculptor in the actual ground work of its creation." Within in a matter of weeks though the Fringe will come to a close and Carpentis' calendar will be about returning to her final draft of her new play, The Good Son. "It's about a man living with his mother, and he has a gambling problem," Carpentis said then added ironically, "and yes, he's trying to be a good son".
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