15 December 2012

What Melbourne loved in 2012, part 8

A week ago, I messaged some artists to see if they had anything to share about theatre this year.

Every day another three or more memories has turned up in my email, without too much prodding. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has contributed; those who are friends and those who I've passed in a foyer. It's been a joy.

Today, Telia Nevile explains why her heart nearly burst, Narrelle Harris found more vampires in Melbourne, and I'm glad that James Adler wasn't arrested for walking up and down a plane aisle talking about a b-o-m-b.

Telia Nevile
poet laureate
Not Molly Ringwald

TELIA: My favourite moment was standing backstage at the Last Tuesday Society Xmas Office Party. We were waiting to go on to do the rock eisteddford and were all really excited and buzzy. Gaby was dressed as a sheep and Jodee was a cow; Jof made a very handsome and understated Joseph and Miles was trying on the donkey head which was drooping down over his torso; Matt's rainbow, sparkly loin-cloth was being pinned in place by Bron, who was dressed as Mary; and Vachel was rubbing glitter into his beard and trying not to accidentally inhale it. I stood there looking around and thinking I am so incredibly lucky to be here, to know these people, to be doing this. We went on and performed, the crowd was amazing, the music was pumping, and when the glitter dropped at the end I thought my whole heart was going to burst.

And, the theatricality of the Rally exhibition at the NGV right now really excites me. It's immersive and playful and political but without being didactic; it's persuasive. The current Thomas Demand show also fills me with a special kind of joy. The humour and light and colour that emmanate, and the playlist he has going through the toilets, extending the show out past the traditional space and enhancing the visitor's experience.

SM: No one who saw the Xmas dance will ever forget it and to know how much the performers were enjoying it, makes it even better. Telia's work always makes me grin like a loon and I love using her photos. Then there's delights like her "I'm not Molly Ringwald" series of self portraits, and the Poet Laureate let me write my favourite review of the year.

Narrelle Harris
writer, vampire specialist

NARRELLE: I've been trying to remember the theatre I saw this year! I must say, I just loved the idea of a vampire living in Edinburgh Gardens, which is why I went to see MKA's Triangle, and it was brilliant. I especially loved the bored housewife revelling in the spectacular violence of finally DOING SOMETHING, who confronts (an imaginary) Vince Colossimo in the bloodbath at Piedemontes and ended up with his head being torn off, with the additional comment "he's such a nice man". That was a perfect commentary on middle class existential ennui and the act of making choices, even if they're terrible ones, rather than remain stuck in resentment and inaction.

Narelle's review

SM: Narrelle is another writer from Stage Left who realised early on that the internet is a terrific place for reviews, and she still occasionally reviews on her own blog, Mortal words, when she isn't writing books (like The Opposite of Life: about a nerdy vampire in Melbourne)  or speaking about writing or making awesome apps (like Melbourne Literary: a booky, readery, writery guide to our city of literature).

James Adler
actor, director, writer, producer and anything else he needs to be

JAMES: The strangest and most wonderful ironic creative experience was on the plane on the way to Amsterdam.

As well as touring Charles Dickens performs 'A Christmas Carol', Nela Trifkovic and I have been given the opportunity to tour An Actor Prepares (another review, another). This play is a musical monologue for two or more players about a suicide bomber.

Now Nela and I have been extremely time poor leading up to the tour and so we found ourselves learning lines and rehearsing on the plane. You cannot even begin to imagine how terrifying and how beautiful it was wandering up and down the aisles muttering away at my lines while people stared.

In their gaze I could, of course, sense them saying "what the FUK is this nutter doing"; if only they knew the words being muttered. Language, context and imagination are powerful creatures and this moment will remain my inspiration for our performances in this tour.

SM: I miss too much of James's work because he's always doing something with his company Eagle's Nest Theatre and I don't have enough free nights. Right now they're giving Europe a good Dickens and I so wish I could have been on that plane, but my favourite moment this year was realising that I didn't care and it didn't matter that I couldn't speak German as I watched Thomas Dentler perform. (The company had been collaborating with Theater in der Westentasche from Ulm in Germany.)

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