Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Other Woman.

The Mother, the Mistress

The Mistress, the Mother

At a memorial service

For those lost to time

Two women mourn

The Man

There is grave ceremony

An absence of men

In ironed uniforms

Except in the photo

Each is clutching tightly

In gloved black hands

As if there is no other


It begins to drizzle

She opens the only umbrella

Closer they huddle

Over his last rest

Their tears mingle

Into rain

And in that instant

It’s of no importance

                              That he never brought her home

Monday, June 27, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Theatre is NOT boring.

This is a response to Don't be So Boring, you can access Anthony Neilson's article for The Guardian here for a reference. Anthony Neilson is a playwright who wrote the Wonderful World of Dissocia and having written such a marvelous work is perhaps hasty in making broad-sweeping statements about what he terms to be "serious" theatre.

First up I want to get something straight: theatre is not boring. Theatre is an incredibly adaptive, dynamic form and it has an immense power in live performance to effect an audience. As a friend was informing me over coffee this morning even 'bad' theatre initiates a response - people leaving during a show are affected and they respond accordingly. Passivity is not an option and option when at great theatre. It asks you to invest all of your senses in the experience of the characters and because of it's very live-ness it involves you.

Theatre is a also a collaborative art form and it is part of the role of the playwright to respond to this reality. Plays exist to be engaged with by writers, actors, directors, producers, designers, crew and audiences. Theatre can be read, it can be performed, it can be studied and the fact that it exists in different states is definitely not boring. Story might be a god but there are many others in the Parthenon.

Ironically its because of its adaptability and its openess to interpretation that theatre is a medium that comes under such pressure from both inside and outside the industry. We are constantly being told that it is an out-dated medium that is irrelevant and unworthy of our attention. Anthony Neilson argues that it is "serious" theatre than is alienating audiences and that spectacle needs to be injected onto the stage. Well, not all theatre needs to be the same. The fact that the form is so diverse is actually a positive thing.

Here in Melbourne in one week you can see the new musical Doctor Zhivago at Her Majesty's Theatre; Manacle at La Mama and She Turned Out the Light at the La Mama Courthouse; Lally Katz's explosive new work Golem Story at the Malthouse; then Rock of Ages at the Comedy Theatre and The Horror Face down at MKA's pop up theatre. This is all before even investigating all the gorgeous little independent and student theatre venues across the city and is testament to the just how not boring theatre is. All this is much more fun than sitting down in front of the telly all week - as addictive as Masterchef can be.

Now, I adore musicals, they are fantastic theatrical experiences, but the fact that they are awesome does not mean that The Seagull needs a jaunty tune. Then again separating "serious" theatre from musicals is just silly, it's all theatre. Let's embrace the 'depth and breadth' of theatre for what it can be rather than trying to re-define what it is.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Melbourne City News Article



Check out page 16 and also of course check out the play that will be coming up really soon. Review will be posted up on here in the next week.

Friday, June 17, 2011

22 Short Plays Review

22 Short Plays

by David Finnigan

MKA is a Theatre of New Writing and is making a splash on the local theatre scene, with pop-up theatre appearing in unusual spaces and dynamic work being written and performed they are to be commended for both their vision and tenacity. 22 Short Plays by David Finnigan is the second in the current season of works being performed. Running just over an hour it was a tightly packed selection of sometimes surreal humour, drama and music.

In such an eclectic piece the performances are integral to maintaining the energy of all the separate little works. It is testament to the abilities of Conor Gallacher; Paul Blenheim and Ellen Grimshaw that they were so easily able to not only capture their characters but transform between them. The direction of Tobias Manderson-Galvin no doubt contributed to this with lovely transitions between the scenes and a smooth flow through the works without a horribly disjointed effect. The choreography too of the movement throughout the work was great, especially in Sitcom x 3 and Beowulf Video Game.

The structure of 22 Short Plays allowed a diverse demonstration of David Finnigan’s talent: from the cheeky pastiche of Dune to the hilariously identifiable situation of Westpac ATM and the dramatic horror of Ile and Moondirt. There was considerable variety in tone and subject matter and it was all accomplished with considerable panache. Having said that it was a pleasure to let a little narrative to enter the picture in Friction and Finnigan should not underestimate that audience sometimes enjoying the development of a character on the stage.

The naming of a show is always crucial to creating expectations, in the case of 22 Short Plays at times it seemed a trifle misleading. 22 Snippets ; Snapshots ; Scenes? Maybe. Plays? Well that is open to debate and interpretation! Undermining expectations of what theatre is – and what a play is – is commendable. But as wonderful as this showcase was it didn’t necessarily satisfy my dramatic needs. The short play has become an art-form in itself and much like a short-story there are conventions that are there to be challenged. With 22 Short Plays Finnigan certainly did that, but it would be interesting how many of the shorter scenes will wind up be sustained and developed into works, even a few minutes longer than they were. Then again maybe these pieces work and exist enough as they are; maybe we should all reassess what constitutes a play and get over our expectations?

I loved this show, it was frequently hilarious, the actors were outstanding, and the design was intriguing and yet…? It defiantly leaves you wanting more.
So, I have three projects in MUDfest this year and would lovelovelove for you to be involved. They are all quite different.

Waiting. For. Eurovision.

A short and affectionate pastiche.

Wait, so this is a play where nothing happens twice, all under the required limit of a 3min song?

- 3 actors.

- Director?

- 10 min play.

- 2 songs.

- Much love.

- In MudClub.

- One Show

Is This Too Framed?

A Directed Play Reading/workshop

Enter the frames of an exhibition; a performance; a dance; a song through an open bar. How else can one curate art that is dead?

- Many, many actors required

- Production involvement.

- Full length play

- It's a reading so you'll have scripts on the night

- Minimal rehearsal, maximum awesome-ness

- Includes debrief and chance to workshop play post-reading

- Guild?

- One Show

Curtain Call.

As part of Tastings.

It’s washing day and the play is written by Gracie, as she remembers to forget.

- 4 actors

- Director.

- Designer.

- 20 min play

- As part of the TASTINGS program so opportunity for proffessional mentoring

- Two Shows as part of the showcase.

Monday, June 13, 2011


As mentioned previously on this blog, I have a little obsession with book-jacket design and just how awful they can be. Do I judge? Certainly! The designer. Sometimes however they are great, fabulous and wonderful and in news just to hand rewarded for fabulous design. Jasper Jones (small format) has just received a design award for it's great cover. YES! YES! YES! There needs to be more celebration and acknowledgement of good design in the world. This, and only this might ensure that we are not forced to endure headless figures in period costume for any historical fiction novel that has a female protagonist.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The internet has not impacted on my reading habits in the slightest.

The internet has not impacted on my reading habits in the slightest.

One of the contributing factors to surviving a thesis is to discover a distraction that will remove you so completely from what you are writing that you can recover both your sanity and your critical distance. Terry Pratchett might not receive a thank you in your acknowledgment section but deep down within yourself you know that you would never have survived without Discworld.

There was always that one book The Colour of Magic on your family shelves. You did not like the aggressive caricature on the cover nor Rincewind when you opened it. There was another splash that time when you hired out The Wyrd Sisters animation from the ACMI library and subsequently read the book. Better, but there were too many to face jumping in and starting from all the way back at Rincewind did not
appeal. It would take many more years and a completely different approach before you dived into and properly appreciate the slightly interesting flavoured waters.

It was at work. Kate had mentioned Terry Pratchett and she was buying the latest for her brother. He doesn’t read anything but he loves these, she said. Kate’s upfront, she tells you right out that she likes only some of Pratchett’s work. But this latest is about the wizards at Unseen University and should be worth the price of a hardback. The wizards, you ask. Yes, she replies. There are patterns throughout the novels that you can follow. Lead characters and so on. Like all the ones with Death. It’s best to read those ones all together. The wizards are fun. So are the witches. The gods not so much. Then there are the guards. The guards? You are intrigued. It works like this. She opens both the internet windows and your eyes.

Wikipedia has accompanied you through your undergraduate degree. You do not trust it and feel you never will. But here, plain for all to see the Discworld books are there in a table with a list of main characters and also the ‘theme’ or ‘strand’ that they are a part of. I don’t like Rincewind much. You admit this to Kate. Really? She is surprised. Well, read those last. Start anywhere as long as it is in the start of that group.
Going Postal. The pages flick through smoothly and it smells comforting. The cover is not by Josh Kirby and the man on the front grins reassuringly as conmen are want to do. The Rowden White library holds a dizzying array of his books and it overflows into a mild panic. But you remember the wikipedia and you take this one and two with Granny Weatherwax on the cover. The Witches strand. If this doesn’t work it doesn’t matter, you tell yourself. You should be writing your thesis; researching your thesis; working on your thesis; reading your thesis. Thesis, thesis, thesis! The word crowds your conscious for attention. You ignore it and you read.

And you read. And read. Everything. After Going Postal and the witches there are the guards, who turn out to be favourites and then Death stories interspersed with the gods and also the wizards. Lastly you read of Rincewind and you love the world so much that he wins you over. It’s the winter break and you go on holiday through the pages. You’ve never read anything like this before. The immersion in this world is just what you needed and it took the internet to show you how to access it. There is no way you would have approached a series like this and yet now you know there is no other way. Kate is amused at your effusive thanks.

But you know that these characters live with on with you, in you, as does Discworld. Even Death has a resonance beyond the pages. You know also that Terry Prachett is right about the comfort of the anthropomorphic. [I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN.] But you do. You really do. Away from the thesis you reclaim a sense of you. You return to the world of JSTOR articles, of analysing and of academia. The thesis goes well. It is comforting to know that whenever you need to escape from this world there is another floating alongside, through space on the back of four elephants standing on the shell of a giant turtle. So, now you would like to thank Terry Pratchett and perhaps Wikipedia is owed an acknowledgment too. For in this instance, the internet did not just impact on your reading habits, it impacted directly on you.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Rapture Review

The Rapture

@ Bella Union, Trades Hall

Much like its subject matter The Rapture was a show little conflicted in itself. Frequently hilarious it was essentially a series of sketches about the Church enacted in the context of the end of the world. It’s Melbourne but not as we know it anymore: fortunately Jesus is coming and if we join the Filius Dei Nullius brotherhood there is the potential of salvation; unfortunately with all this business of organised religion our path to existential freedom might be hindered.

Christian Bagin and John Forman bring us a varied cast of clergy and transform very convincingly into character. Tellingly each of them tended to be a little corrupt, a little open to sin and terribly human. These men might have become servants of God but they weren’t about wanking in the wings; exploiting the abandoned or attacking each other with a sacred golden cross.

There was a lot of pantomime to this performance. Audience interaction was compulsory and fortunately on our night we seemed willing to cooperate with the shenanigans. It was quite a clever ploy to incorporate us all into the action. At worst the boys disrupted a first date (with a wedding!) at best they reminded us all of how annoying it is to stand and sit down continuously at certain points during a service. The staging and the space was good and the clever direction by James Pratt was clearly with the space in mind.

Particular favourite sketches included the one where one priest was conversing with a whispering Jesus – who was of course the other priest. Also the little section involving the bread of Christ and the consumption of many crackers was hilarious. Frequently I was breathless with laughter, as was the chap sitting beside me.

Now as someone who loves a bit of comedy and loves panto in all its wondrous glory I thoroughly enjoyed this show: it was a great piece of entertainment! However, in its current form as series of sketches it feels that still evolving and still in development. This is not necessarily a bad thing, one needs performance and audience reaction when working on ideas. I think there are two ways The Rapture could go from this point. The sketches could be incorporated into a mixed-sketch show with other characters or situations. This would be a lot of fun. Or else they could become the basis of a more in depth and fleshed out theatre piece. If this direction is taken there needs to be context, there needs to be narrative and there needs to wider social politics that complement the sharp religious satire. Armageddon is a great opportunity for theatre and times is currently being underutilised in this show.

Pitched in either of these ways The Rapture does have a future. Unlike all the audiences who will be doomed to hell for all eternity, although luckily in this case you will probably not notice as you will be laughing too much!

The Rapture is on this week - tix through Bella Union.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Why Thankyou.

4,017 hits!! Aw, shucks you guys!!

No, seriously! Thanks! It it quite exciting to be getting even just blogger stats back.... now comes the harder sell - if you click on the title of any recent post it takes you to the 'post-page' and there YOU CAN COMMENT. Yes, I know. Interaction is the next big. Totes!

Also following is nice, I have four very lovely followers and I don't bite or over update or anything, so please do. But to celebrate what happens already here is some love and a little chick that was supposed to get uploaded sometime way back nearer easter.

Isn't he the cutest?