Preview :: The Art and Craft of Approaching Your Head of Department to Submit a Request for a Raise @ Sydney Fringe

September 16th 2011


Since they first dropped from the shady branches of the University of Wollongong in 2008, performance collective Applespiel’s star has been on the rise. Show after hilarious show, they’ve crept into our hearts, and it just keeps getting better. Just on the horizon is Performance Space, TINA, Late Night Library – you name it, Applespiel seem to have a finger in the pie.

This month it’s Sydney Fringe Festival, as performer-director-curator-slash-slash-slash Nathan Harrison shares his hard-won secrets on The Art and Craft of Approaching Your Head of Department to Submit a Request for a Raise. Flog caught up with Nathan to ask him what the what.

Flog: So, in 25 words or less, could you describe your show?

Nathan Harrison: A really, really, exceptionally exhaustive guide to asking for a raise. Every possibility will be dealt with. Repeatedly. For as long as it takes.

How did you stumble across the Perec novel that inspired the show?

A friend from Melbourne, Bram, runs a book blog and he wrote about the book earlier in the year. I'd heard before about Perec's novel 'A Void' – the one that didn't contain the letter 'e'. This book was given to him as a challenge – to use a computer's basic mode of operation as a writing device. So he took a huge, convoluted flowchart designed by Jacques Perriaud about asking for a raise and wrote as if he were a computer testing every single possibility. I hunted the book down and read it, and loved it. It's hilariously analytical, but there's a very human frustration through the whole thing. Straight away I knew I wanted to perform it.

Have you ever asked for a raise, and if so, were you successful?

Once. I was seventeen and working in a fruit shop. It was terrifying, and I'm sure I was incredibly awkward about it, but I got a raise, so I must've done something right.

Any tips for fellow money/acclaim seekers?

I think Perec said it pretty well with "Relax. Take a deep breath. Stop scratching." But otherwise I don't know. That whole world scares the bejeezus out of me, which is why I can only talk about it with the help of a giant flowchart.

Can I have a raise?

Look, you're an excellent employee and a model worker, but at the moment there's not a whole lot of room in the budget. Maybe there's another department you could ask?


What: The Art and Craft of Approaching Your Head of Department to Submit a Request for a Raise

When: Sept 22 – 25th, 6.30pm and Sept 29 – Oct 2nd, 4.30pm

Where: PACT Centre for Emerging Artists, Railway Parade, Erskineville

How much: $22/$26



Read more from Nick La Rosa