24 November 2017

What Melbourne Loved in 2017, part 3

Another two amazing artists who went through MUST and Monash (Fleur and Sarah), more Taylor Mac tears, a controversial show, and a lot of excitement about new writing and emerging artists who are showing us how it's done.

Sarah Walker

Sarah Walker. Photo by Sarah Walker

Favourite moments in 2017
I mean, it's kind of unfair that Taylor Mac's A 24-Decade History of Popular Music happened this year because that show was such a seismic event. And because it was so long, there were moments that would otherwise have defined a whole year that I've completely forgotten because so much happened. So much!

Here's a few that spring to mind: the audience in the "isolation chambers" up the back of the Forum getting overexcited and pelting me with pingpong balls during one of the war sequences. Walking through the aisles during the blindfolded hour in Chapter I and seeing all the tiny moments that nobody else would have seen – the hands creeping into other hands, and the heads on shoulders, and the sly little blind kisses. Taylor's imagined deathbed speech from Walt Whitman to Stephen Foster (I want a transcription of that speech so badly). But really, I think my favourite thing of all was the way Taylor smiled at people. When they came up onstage and did a good job. When judy stepped back and watched another performer belt out a solo or a dance piece. When the audience sighed or laughed or cried. I've never seen so much love in a smile. It's the sort of smile you look for your whole life, and Taylor gave it to everyone. It was like the opposite of the hidden kiss in the corner of Mrs Darling's mouth in Peter Pan that Mr Darling could never get. Taylor's love was for everybody.

My other favourite moment was during The Adam Simmons Creative Music Ensemble's The Usefulness of Art concert at fortyfivedownstairs. The whole concert was so suffused with joy and excitement. At the crescendo of the work, Adam was standing in front of the orchestra, furiously conducting, not so much leading the music as wrenching it from the performers – punching the air to bring the sound along with him and as the piece peaked, he let out this yell that was the most cathartic release of energy, and the band crashed around him, and, holy shit, I had goosebumps coursing up and down my whole body and everything was shining.

Looking forward to in 2018
Oh, golly, so much. I can't wait for Blackie Blackie Brown – my boyfriend is working on it and I was in the room for some of the development, and it was just madness. I think it's going to be hysterical and brutal and schlocky and full of life.

I'm also super excited that Stephen Nicolazzo and Patricia Cornelius are going to be erupting onto the mainstage at the MTC. It's about bloody time. Also, Patricia and Julie Forsyth in the same room? Somebody has been raiding my daydreams again. Fuck yeah.

SM: Sarah's name appears the most on this site because she takes the photos that capture what a show is about and she capture how a person looks in that split second that they aren't self conscious of being in front of a camera. Every time.

Fleur Kilpatrick
Playwright, teacher, RRR Smart Arts theatre commentator 

Fleur's birthday. Photo by Sarah Walker

Favourite moments in 2017
One of my favourite things this year was seeing wonderful shows get a remount. This is so rare in Australia and it was so wonderful to see Hello, Goodbye, Happy Birthday head out on tour, Two Jews Walk into a Theatre get a Melbourne Festival season and Zoe Coombs Marr's Trigger Warning make a return to MIFF.

I had never seen Trigger Warning and it was without a doubt one of my highlights. It was extremely clever terms of content but also form, something that so many comedians take as prescribed. Plus it was perhaps the funniest thing I had ever seen.

Another firm favourite was All the Sex I've Ever Had by Mammalian Diving Reflex. This show was so joyful and celebratory. It was a celebration not only of sex but of living and surviving. As the senior participants shared their lives and exploits, a  community quickly formed in the theatre, a community dedicated to celebrating these men and women through their joys and griefs. I left feeling immensely grateful for their generosity, bravery and perseverance.

Looking forward to in 2018
A total delight in 2017 was seeing space created for new works. With that in mind I'm writing my "looking forward to" as a wish list: these were wonderful works that deserve a season or a remount.

Fleur's 2018 wishlist:
1. A season for Natesha Somasundaram's Jeremy and Lucas Buy A Fucking House. It's three-day La Mama exploration sold out. It was so smart, funny and delightful. Programmers, please fight for this one.
2. A return season for Jean Tong's Romeo is not the Only Fruit. This satirical Lesbian pop musical  sold out its Poppy Seed Festival season and racked up critical praise. I want to see this come back to Melbourne but also tour please!
3. A season for Emina Ashman's Make Me A Houri. This was one of the best readings I saw this year. Emina's writing is so beautiful, poetic, dark and all her own. Her writing asks questions of what it means to be a Muslim today, a feminist today, a woman today. Again, programmers, chase her.

SM: I was at Fleur's surprise birthday at All My Friends Were There; that was awesome. I love listening to Fleur and Richard Watts on Smart Arts on Thursday mornings. I also love that she loves teaching undergrads as much as I do.

Scott Gooding
Actor, director 

Scott Gooding
Favourite moments in 2017
Ohhh, saw so much good stuff when I went through my diary. Stand out performance I saw was You're Not Alone by Kim Noble, at Malthouse. Brave, provocative, unflinching and funny as fuck. Whether it was "real" or not, I didn't care. It was great also to see so many people get up in arms about it.

Looking forward to in 2018
Next Wave Festival. Watching this bunch of cutting edge artists get to strut their stuff and show us oldies how it's done. Can't wait.

SM: I got to see Scott on stage again this year  in Jane Miller's Cuckoo; he's an actor who finds the heart of his characters and lets the emotions they try to hide drive them.

part 2
part 1