12 December 2013

What Melbourne loved in 2013, part 11

Daniel Clarke, Penelope Bartlau and Matt Kelly: Melbourne really had some wonderful people.

Daniel Clarke
CEO and Creative Producer, Theatre Works

Photo by Eugyeene Teh

DAN: The audience response to the opening night performance of Psycho Beach Party (Little Ones Theatre, Theatre Works, Midsumma). I remember thinking it felt like we were somewhere between a rock concert and a football game. I think people were screaming and clapping before the first line was spoken. Amazing. A brilliant way to start the year.

Threepenny Opera (Berliner Ensemble, Perth Festival). I didn't have a ticket. No tickets available. Then Stephen Nicolazzo was offered a ticket at the last minute and gave it to me. One of those shows where you go, "Yes it all makes sense. Without a doubt this is why I love theatre".

Story of O (The Rabble, NEON). I remember saying "fuck me" as I walked into the Lawler. I could not believe what I was walking into. The transformation of that space. I felt exhilarated throughout the whole show. Kind of like how I felt when I saw my first La Fura Del Baus show in the 1996 Adelaide Festival.  I just want this show to tour – everywhere.  I'd be a very proud Australian to have this work touring the international stages.

The casting of The Sovereign Wife (Sisters Grimm, NEON). I'd love us all to look through the same lens as Sisters Grimm.  The world I'd like to to live in.

This year I went to Edinburgh as a delegate with the British Council Showcase.  I saw over 35 shows in one week. It was intense; my body experienced so many different emotions daily. It was real but un-real at the same time.  It was like I was inducing the most extreme feelings every few hours. It was a gift and I saw, took part in, and experienced some of the most inspiring work for me of 2013.

I also became very passionate about showcasing our homegrown work on the international stages,  because there is a lot of extraordinary work being made by artists I love that deserves to be seen in an international context.

Edinburgh Fringe favourites: Adrienne Truscott's Asking For It, The Worst of Scottee (Scottee Inc), Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model (Bryony Kimmings), Brand New Ancients (Kate Tempest), Black T Shirt Collection (Inua Ellams) and You Once Said Yes (Look Left Look Right).

I'm pretty hopeful you are gong to be able to see  most of the above works for yourselves over the next couple of years in Australia.  So please keep an eye out for them.

And the first preview of M+M (Daniel Schlusser Ensemble, Theatre Works, Melbourne Festival). I think I will remember this night forever.  My words won't do it justice.  Thank you.

What Dan's looking forward to in 2014 at issimomag.com.

SM: Over the last three years that Dan has led the Theatre Works team, it's become a welcoming hub of creativity that's presenting and producing theatre the likes of which no one else is presenting. The year started with a Midsumma program that defined the festival (Psycho Beach Party, Here Lies Henry and The Dead Ones) and to even think that M+M or Room of Regret might not have existed at the Melbourne Festival without Theatre Works ...

And he found time to direct Palace of the End, which was one of my favourite opening nights of the year. And Gaybies, where he found the love in each verbatim story told and created a bigger story on the stage that welcomed everyone.

Penelope Bartlau
Artistic Director, Barking SpideVisual Vheatre

Photo by Sarah Walker

PENELOPE: I have to say, it's when Leah Scholes (Barking Spider's Artistic Associate) persuaded me to see Slava's Snow Show in the middle of this year. I was assuming, it being such a big and well-worn show, that it wasn't really going to be that inspiring; daggy, in fact. But, it was so wonderful.

The audience's engagement and response to this show blew me away. It ignites wonder and playfulness on a grand scale; it was completely inspirational.

That show has clarified what it is Leah and I love about theatre, and has given us an aesthetic vocabulary which is now an underwriting starting-point for our thinking and our creation.

SM: Penelope and Barking Spider tell intimate, delicate and insanely gorgeous stories. They're not made for the masses; they're made for the lucky few who are at the right place at the magic time.

The Lucian Swift Chronicles: A tale of magic in Melbourne was one of them. It was at the Magic Festival and told a story that was such a part of this city, but belongs to everyone. Just beautiful.

See what Penelope's looking forward to in 2014 at issimomag.com.

Matt Kelly
list maker
r + M = Listies

MATT: "Things i enjoyed this year." By Matt Kelly (aged 34).

Far and away the best theatre I saw this year, and close to the best I've EVER seen was The Sisters Grimm's The Sovereign Wife. I wish I could write articulately about how much I enjoyed it, but I still can't.  I'm sure someone else has already done it much better than me and used loads of fancy words.

The rest I'll do as a list (the order doesn't matter, so I've randomly selected numbers).

5. Zoe Combs Marr's Dave at Comedy Festival
12. Last Tuesday Society's Don's Party
4. Isabell Rachael's Edge at Melbourne Fringe
666. The Last Temptation of Randy at Melbourne Fringe
69. Dan Savage at The Festival of Dangerous Ideas
9. Bello the Clown at The Royal Melbourne Show
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,2,3,4,5,6,7. Einstein on the Beach
4. Dr Professor Neil Portenza at Melbourne Fringe.

SM: If Matt tells me that something is funny and that I should see it, I believe him.

My moment for the year was taking a 5-year-old to her first Listies (Matt and Richard Higgins) show, Earworms at the Melbourne Festival. Snot came out of one of us and the other one sat and watched very seriously. I was a bit scared that I'd scarred her for life – or that she'd never fart again in case a mosquito came out – but she was just taking it all in and repeated all the jokes to me on the tram ride home.

And now I'm singing the *%#$!!!! banana song again.

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