16 December 2016

What Melbourne loved in 2016, part 12

Today's wonderful people – Bron Batten, John Kachoyan and Myf Clark – are published a bit late today because of many amazing moments at Finucane and Smith's cocktail fundraiser last night. One being, Moira reminding a room full of very generous people that "Art does change culture and it does change lives". Let's remember that.

Bron Batten
theatre-maker, performer, producer, Grand Designs enthusiast

Bron Batten. Photo by Theresa Harrison

BB's favourite moments in Melbourne theatre in 2016: Can I say something I was involved in? Oh well, I'm going to anyway! Working with 90-plus women of all sizes and ages on Nic Green and Laura Bradshaw's production of Trilogy at Arts House was a wonderful honour. Experiencing the openness, trust, tears and humour we shared whilst exposing ourselves (literally and metaphorically) was breathtaking and a total privilege, as was working with Nic and Laura. Plus I'm pretty sure that everyone I've ever known or worked with in Melbourne has now seen me naked so that dream where you go to work in the nude now holds no terror.

Backstage in Biscuit Land generated some really difficult discussions about inclusion and cultural access that I thought were really important and made me question my own attitudes towards who and what dictates those terms. Jess's spontaneous tics were the kind of brilliant, inherent improvisational element that is the reason why I go to live performance.

Of course Zoe Coombs Marr's brilliant and disgusting creation Dave should get a mention and I know it was in Sydney but The Listies Hamlet: Prince of Skidmark was loaded with ridiculous jokes and completely amazing in its ability to get tiny children screaming with excitement about Shakespeare.

What BB is looking forward to in 2017: I think The Malthouse has some really interesting programming and I'm sure the whole Dance Massive program will have me inspired whilst at the same time moaning about my complete loss of flexibility.

SM: I knew that Bron's work in Trilogy was my favourite moment* of hers before I read this. It's a show that changes lives by making the bit of our brain that-believes-all-the-controlling-bullshit-about-how-women-should-look realise that it's bullshit. (I still sing Jerusalem when I'm naked.)

* Even though her Onstage Dating may well be one of my favourite shows of all time. I saw it twice and would happily have seen it every time.

John Kachoyan
director,  dad

John Kachoyan

JK's favourite moments in Melbourne theatre in 2016:  Duncan Macmillan’s Every Brilliant Thing; a piece I’ve seen grow from a little showing in London. I really loved Edward II at Malthouse, Jane Montgomery Griffiths heartbreaking, towering and utterly brilliant performance in Wit, and Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour was my Melbourne Festival highlight.

Outside of shows,  some of the small moments of community have been amazing for me. Chats in foyers, excitement over works to come and celebrating success in others – a maturity and calm in the face of such crisis. And it's more a movement than a moment, but the rise and rise of amazing creative women into positions of influence, care and creativity in all aspects of our theatre landscape; long may it continue.

And the birth of my son August, who's made me ask more than ever "Who do I make work for?".

Things I wish I saw and hope to see again; Mark Wilson rounding out his Shakespearean trilogy with Anti-Hamlet, Picnic At Hanging Rock and LabKelpie's A Prudent Man by Katy Warner with the gorgeous Lyall Brooks.

What JK is looking forward to in 2017: So many shows! Desert by Morgan Rose at Red Stitch - Morgan is a brilliant writer and I cant wait to see her next play, Daniel Lammin’s Awakening remount at fortyfivedownstairs, Fraught Outfit’s The Book of Exodus - Part I and Part II (a double treat after the mesmeric, challenging Bacchae), Christopher Hampton’s version of Florian Zeller’s The Father at MTC and Kate Mulvany’s Richard III for Bell Shakespeare is sure to be stunning.

Also! Go and see The Listies Ruin Xmas. (SM: At Malthouse: finishes this weekend. I'm going tomorrow.)

SM: On Facebook, one of John's friends quoted him talking about his awe and love for his partner after she gave birth. That was cool. And his direction of Elegy: he let the audience feel safe until they realised they were so involved with the story that it was almost personal.

Myf Clark
reviewer, arts worker, co-director of Girls on Film festival

Myf Clarke

MC's favourite moments in Melbourne theatre in 2016:  Highlights for me were either supremely intimate and/or made me cry.

On the intimate side, I was completely taken by Dion and Menage (both in Melbourne Fringe). I ended up being the only audience member for Dion the night I went, as the other two didn't show up, and it was a truly breathtaking and eerie experience. While Menage (performed in a cafe and bedroom for an audience of two) was one of the most thought-provoking shows I saw this year.

Meanwhile, I ended up in tears watching Blaaq Catt by Maurial Spearim and 186,000 by Kerith Manderson-Galvin within 10 minutes of each show starting. (SM: 186,000 finishes tomorrow, 17 December.) Both shows broke my heart and made me think in different ways and I am so glad that I can now carry these shows in my heart.

On a lighter note, I discovered the joy that is artists like Maeve Marsden and Tom Dickens. Between Jagged Little Singalong and Romeo and Juliet, I relived two of my all-time favourite albums and left with the biggest grin on my face and the sorest of throats from singing along to every single song (I really am a 90's child!).

I also discovered this year that I actually quite like stand-up comedy (as long as it's not performed by a famous male comedian). Lauren Bok, Grant Buse and Tegan Higginbotham were my first shows of MICF this year and all three left me on an absolute high!

What MC is looking forward to in 2017: The funding cuts of this past year were incredibly devastating, notably for me in regards to Platform Youth Theatre (which I joined at the tender age of 17 as a performer and then worked for years later) shutting down. I'm hoping that 2017 sees new and emerging talent step up and make their art known by all, no matter what our funding bodies put us and them through.

I'm also incredibly excited to see what La Mama Theatre puts on (as I am every year), while the Theatre Works program for next year has really caught my attention. I also honestly believe that Patricia Cornelius should have a show in every season of every theatre company all of the time.

SM: I've loved reading Myf's reviews this year, especially when I read one and instantly wanted to see the show.

part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5
part 6
part 7
part 8
part 9
part 10
part 11

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