05 December 2013

What Melbourne loved in 2013, part 5

Today we go from a 45-minute play in the smallness of La Mama to ten hours of happiness at the Arts Centre and music floating through Docklands, with Patricia Cornelius, Bryce Ives, and Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey.

Patricia Cornelius

PATRICA: A woman in her middle age stands still, so long she stands still in the half light, half turned into the darkness, buried in a heavy winter coat and a grey mane of unkempt hair whispering almost inaudibly. And these snatches of odd and scattered phrases draw us into a world that lasts 45 minutes at the most and it’s called Bunker and it’s at La Mama.

The creative team are Greg Dyson, Trudy Radburn and Charlie Laidlaw. As in the title the world is a bunker, a place away from danger, an internal place, a place not easy to come back from. I left there moved and elated and yet this piece of theatre had been strange and elusive. I loved that it reminded me of what theatre can be, the strange worlds it can take us to and totally unpretentiously.

And just as Bunker is whispers and scattered phrases, They Saw a Thylacine, with its two story tellers (Justine Campbell and Sarah Hamilton) inside a cage, is a feast of intertwined, beautifully written narratives. The stories are rich and fine and entirely captivating. These are two actors who are making their own work and their use of language is a reminder of the best in the tradition of storytelling or yarning.  I loved their evident love of language. And I believe I was witness to the beginning of two actors who may continue to write for themselves for awhile but will go on to be wonderful playwrights.

What Patricia is looking forward to in 2014 at issimomag.com.

SM: Savages. OMG. This is writing that gets into your guts. I felt this play more than I watched it. It's hard to be made to understand men whom I despised for everything they thought and said about women – ugly women.

Bryce Ives

BRYCE: 2013 has been epic.

Life and Times by Nature Theatre of Oklahoma was quite possibly the best ten hours I'll ever spend in a theatre. A monumentally long examination of our struggle to express ourselves and describe what has happened in our past, it was wonderfully fucked and awkward. I was somehow moved, informed, entertained and somewhat changed by this experience.

Richard Murphett doing Richard Foreman with the graduating VCA actors was a surprising highlight. We went to poetry city, with Eddie, and it was strange, surreal, hysterical and disorienting. Richard Murphett allowed the necessary space to ensure the graduating actors somehow commanded this complex text. It was a celebration of Foreman and the New York avant-garde, but also was strangely relevant to this time and the work we are making in Melbourne.

Finally, Daniel Schlusshner (M+M, Mengerie) continues to lead our mob of makers. Within his work are regular moments that transcend and go to some place other, and it’s these moments that inform my own understanding of what is possible in theatre: how we listen, how we see and how we construct sense in a chaotic world.

Honourable mentions: 
The Story of O by The Rabble took me to the uncomfortable and disturbing part of my dream space. Palace of the End, directed by Daniel Clarke, gave us three astonishing performances of stories that must (urgently and regularly) be heard. And, finally, Einstein on the Beach gave everything I hoped and more.

On a personal note, it’s been wonderful working with the artists at Theatre Works under the unrelenting vision of Daniel Clarke, and alongside my continued collaboration with Nate Gilkes and the Present Tense ensemble. We’ve spent the past six months intensively training and considering our own process, often alongside the amazing Leisa Shelton, an artist who enables other artists and performance makers to better articulate and understand their work. Training with Leisa IS the highlight of each week.

SM: Bryce and I sat next to each other at Life and Times. He laughed at the same things I did; what more can you possibly want at the theatre. It was such a wonderful and happy-making experience that we said we may never be able to go to the theatre together again.

Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey
sound/music artists, long-term collaborators

Dress rehearsal of 5 Short Blasts

MADELEINE AND TIM: Sitting in the audio booth at the State Theatre with three young people from the St Martins Cross Age Ensemble as they waxed lyrical about their responses and insights  to the Australian Ballet’s production of La Sylphide. Their commentary was heard by a small test group of audience members via audio description headsets. In that booth we experienced a sense of both subversion and the sound of a million possibilities opening.

We also had  the busiest year of our career. The image is from our Dress Rehearsal for 5 Short Blasts: that moment when the imagined becomes real is always extraordinary.

You can see 5 Short Blasts until 25 December. Details here.

SM: My excuse for missing 5 Short Blasts was genuine: I was in hospital (nothing bad) on media day. And, you know, mornings.

No comments:

Post a comment