09 December 2016

What Melbourne loved in 2016, part 7

Today we here from Penny Harpham from She Said Theatre, Morgan Rose – whose show F.  runs until 11 December – and Kerith Manderson-Galvin – whose show 186,000 runs until 17 December.

Morgan Rose

Morgan Rose

MR's favourite moments in Melbourne theatre in 2016: This is easy. Conviction (Zoey Dawson and Declan Greene and, holy shit, Ruby Hughes). All the way. Made me feel every feeling there is: fear, joy, disgust, anger, jealousy, confusion, awe ... and more. It made some people uncomfortable because she writes about herself (which we all do, but she doesn't try to keep it a secret); isn't that just a really hilarious thing for people to be upset about? I say keep doing it until their heads bust open.

Incomparably different, but equally as moving was Nic Green's Trilogy at Artshouse. I wept, and I'm not a weeper. I don't know what I was feeling, I'd never felt it before, it doesn't have a name, but it was uncontainable. Seeing a bunch of women, naked, beautiful, unphotoshopped, dancing, and proud in their skin was like seeing the truth for the first time ever. Hmmmm...maybe that new unnamable feeling was just the absence of shame.

Oh! I also say Mammalian Diving Reflex's All the Sex I Ever Had at the Sydney Festival last January; it was probably in my top-three shows ever. A group of seniors sat at a table on stage and told us their entire sex lives, year by year starting at birth. It made me want to never write a play again because people talking unscripted about real things is so much better than anything any playwright could dream up.

What MR is looking forward to in Melbourne theatre in 2017: Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. at Malthouse. Stephen Nicolazzo's direction of The Moors at Red Stitch.  She Said's Fallen (although we will all have to travel to NSW see it).

SM: I saw F. on Wednesday night (the last show of the Poppyseed Festival). Morgan wrote it in conjunction with a cast of amazing young people. It's a chance to get into teenagers heads and see the world from their points of view. Some parts of being a young adult today still scare me, but overall this work made me remember that young adults are pretty good at navigating and negotiating the world they live in and it left me feeing positive about a future that's going to be shaped by these people. It finishes on December 11.

Kerith Mandseron-Galvin

Kerith Manderson-Glavin. Photo by Cam Matheson "who captures me in photos the way I see myself"

KMG's favourite moments in Melbourne theatre in 2016: Church at Melbourne Fringe. All of it, but, particularly, crying with absolute joy and for one small moment freedom while singing “Natural Woman” with the Divine Femme Choir. That night I felt community and hope.

Luke Devine’s Work Bitch at Hot Hot Hot. It should be put on again and everything Luke has written should be published and put in your letter boxes. It’s nice to get mail from time to time.

DJ Donna Quixote, aka me, djing at Blue Room’s Silent Disco at Perth Fringe. Watching everyone change their silent discos away from my channel and the few that remained dance in a frenzy.

James Chance, oh my goodness, James Chance. I mean he was really, very good. Feeling like I understood music or it understood me.

The time Loretta Miller of Jazz Party removed an item of clothing at a gig and it was pure theatre. Also her costume change at the Rock and Roll Graveyard single launch.

Casey Jenkin's Programmed to Reproduce at FOLA was hard and necessary and sad and so smart and meticulous and beautiful.

Titanic was a great movie when it came out and I saw it twice but Dopplegangster's Titanic was better. Wow. World class. First class. I hope so much it happens again and again.

Gob Squad’s War and Peace or being on stage in it and so supported in a position that would usually have me running off stage, or more likely sitting quietly and disappearing. I felt safe and happy.

And finally.

Your Ever Illusory Hosts *Jimay Falcon & Sh'Gazey A Game Show Extravaganza. I smiled all night long and the corners of my mouth are turning up again when I think about how much I loved that night.

What KMG is looking forward to in Melbourne theatre in 2017: I actually haven’t thought about it one bit. So that’s something.

SM: I so wish I'd been at War and Peace the night Kerith was on stage (Chris was). She's just finished her Masters at VCA and her new show 186,000 opens this week and runs until 17 December. I haven't seen it yet and am trying to find a free night.

And another terrific photo that captures the person how she really looks; it's lovely to know that Kerith sees herself how the world sees her.

15 December

I saw 186,000 last night. It's gentle and loving and shares young queer voices that are too often ignored on our stages and in our lives. The verbatim text is on screen and recorded, and the four people on the stage share their own stories. The structure comes from the staging and the movement; it's almost hypnotic. And the queer western femme dream design is gorgeous.

Penny Harpham
co-founder and co-Artistic Director, She Said Theatre

Penny Harpham. Photo by Lachlan Woods

PH's favourite moment in Melbourne theatre in 2016: For me it would be in Influx's new work, Animal, presented at Theatre Works, created and performed by Kate Sherman and Nicci Wilks and directed by Susie Dee. There is a moment towards the end of Animal where he two female performers climb and crawl all over the set, which is made entirely of stacks and stacks of solid industrial containers, and it seems to transform in front of you as the containers at the very back of the stage reveal themselves to be not solid, but full of water. One of the performers drags the other into the container and violently drowns her. The lights shift so that as her body goes limp the lights blur and darken and though we know we are watching a performance, the performer is now floating lifelessly in anonymity at the back of the stage.

It is both a masterstroke of stage craft, but also a visceral attack on the senses. It made me think of all the women who had been killed by their partners this year. It made me think of Eddie Maguire saying on national radio that AFL journalist Caroline Wilson should "drown herself".  It made me realise how powerful and strong and vulnerable and brave women are and how we are forced to shrink in this world in order to survive under this suffocating, relentless, Trump-filled patriarchy. It made me realise how a moment of live performance can leave me reeling and angry and charged and aware of the macro and micro and it made me want to make work that did for other people.

What PH is looking forward to in Melbourne theatre in 2017: 
I'm very excited about the Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival, 5-14 May. Jacob Boehme is one of the country's most exciting and versatile performance makers and I'm so excited to see the program he has curated take over the city in May. Also, Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again at Malthouse sees an almost all female team explore (or perhaps attack?) language and violence against women with a cultural diverse cast and some of my favourite creatives including Emma Valente and Marg Horwell.

SM: I love that She Said Theatre is getting lots of mentions this year. My favourite moment was seeing how HART had developed and changed since its first season. What a show!

part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5
part 6

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