This year marked 10 years of me reviewing. I had a month off to breathe.
I only saw 165 (or 20+ more if I count events with multiple performances) shows this year. There were also less reviews but a lot more tweets. And I was teaching arts journalism; meeting and reading young writers who want to write about the arts is as good as it gets. It's been a shitty year for arts writers, but there are plenty of voices who are going to be there and demand that they are heard. And I love teaching.
|Selfie. Not giving a single fuck in Ubud in November.|
Plus a special thanks to Faster Pussycat Productions for the new logo.
SM's favourite moments in Melbourne theatre in 2016: Having this series welcomed back after a year off was awesome. Getting the emails and messages and talking to people about it IRL reminded me that we are a strong and active community.
Like so many others, I was a bit over it this year: funding cuts, Fairfax cuts, creative and writing tertiary courses being branded "lifestyle choices", far too many people still excluded from having a voice on main stages, boring conservative mainstage programs, and criticism of that dullness being ignored. The arguments I began to have in the 1980s are still happening; it's fucking depressing.
Then in the last couple of weeks I saw:
- Blaque Showgirls at Malthouse. An Indigenous fuck you to every condescending, well-meaning and earnest statement about acceptance and respect. Laughed until I cried.
- Burning Doors by Belarus Free Theatre at Arts Centre Melbourne. Some people are using theatre to save lives and change their world. Some people risk so much more than a couple of dull hours to go to the theatre.
- Hot Brown Honey at Arts Centre Melbourne. Standing screaming ovation for rejecting everything that denies women and especially women of colour a voice.
- Briefs at Arts Centre Melbourne. The other side of the Hot Brown Honey coin. What this show said about gender and masculinity needs to be bottled and drunk by everyone who tells someone to "man up".
Maybe there's a lot of hope for our main stages in 2017.
And throw in Moira Finucane telling a room of cheering people that "Art does change culture and it does change lives", at a fundraiser where Finucane and Smith raised enough money to create the kind of art that does change lives.
Going to Coranderrk to see Coranderrk and hearing the voices that spoke there 135 years ago.
Being totally relaxed lying in bath in the Embiggen Books window for Between Two Lines at Melbourne Fringe (Anna Nalpantidis with Elizabeth Brennan).
|Coranderrk at Coranderrk|
iOTA singing "Life on Mars" at the Melbourne Festival Bowie concert.
Watching children cut Cameron Woodhead's hair at Haircuts by Children at Melbourne Festival.
|Cameron Woodhead at Haircuts by Kids|
Having no idea what was funny at Two Dogs at the Melbourne Festival.
The moment when Joshua Ladgrove decided that Neal Portenza couldn't do his scripted show when there were only nine people in the audience and The Age reviewer was in the front row.
Watching a stage of naked women dancing in Nic Green's Trilogy at Arts House.
The Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reading that wasn't a reading because it was just a group of friends hanging out and reading out loud. (Thanks Ben McKenzie.)
Getting a bag of "FUCK YOU" candy hearts at Dion in the Melbourne Fringe.
|The best way to read a play|
The whole audience breathing in together when the black world became white, and again when the white world dropped to reveal Hamer Hall in Back to Back's Lady Eats Apple at Melbourne Festival.
Dancing in an industrial fridge in a hotel dressing gown as Otto and Astrid sang "Ich Bin Nicht Ein Roboter" at the Finucane and Smith Christmas Cocktail party.
|Otto and Astrid|
Robbing a bank with Richard Watts and Fleur Kilpatrick at Pop up Playground's Small Time Criminals.
Running late to see Pound It, walking down the stairs and wondering who that amazing voice could be coming out of – then seeing Bridget Everett and knowing that I was going to love every second of her show.
Every tweet from Candy Bowers.
Every tweet from Candy Bowers.
Hanging out in Ai Weiwei's cat room for kids at the National Gallery of Victoria at 6.30 am during White Night.
|Ai Weiwei's cats at NGV|
What SM is looking forward to in 2017: Whatever it brings, everything else that everyone else has said, and The Book of Mormon.part 1