02 December 2017

What Melbourne Loved in 2017, part 7

"Let's do this! Let's be ambitious in everything we do!",  Joseph O'Farrell (Jof)

Let's all listen to Jof.

Eugyeene Teh

Eugyeene Teh. There aren't enough words to describe how much I love this photo.

Favourite moments in 2017
Melbourne theatre is very quickly being redefined by culturally diverse works, primarily from the independent sector. 2017 saw a major shift in how the theatre community and its audience perceive theatre that is not white. The effect of this has been exponential – inclusivity of artists and audience, being able to have dialogues about contemporary ideas with the previously muted others, and mutual respect and understanding in an effort to achieve equality and camaraderie across various intersectional communities. Suddenly, these works have weight, urgency and value. It’s about time, and it’s all very sexy!

Many of Melbourne’s strongest theatre in 2017 have come from bold diverse voices, including;

Romeo is Not the Only Fruit, a lesbian musical satire written and directed by Jean Tong, with predominantly Asian cast and creatives mostly from DisColourNation. Besides the fact that they opened on the night that Australia voted ‘Yes’ to marriage equality, this team defied common perception that great theatre can only be created by white-male-led teams.

In Between Two at Melbourne Festival, which allowed two Asian-Australian hip-hop artists, Joel Ma and James Mangohig to tell their stories and derive great empathy from a Melbourne Festival audience, simply by being beautiful humans.

Exquisite: An Evening with Mama Alto, which was exactly what it says on the tin. Her vocal prowess is only surpassed by her strong, poised resounding voice that fearlessly leads the way for intersectional communities of queer people of colour, among countless others. A role model who needs to be taken seriously by us all.

Under Siege at Melbourne Festival, created by Yang Liping with designer Tim Yip, is a spectacular exhibition of the historic battle Gaixia, with a focus on warlord Xiang Yu’s heartbreaking relationship with his concubine, Yu Ji, an elegant Chinese boy.

Merciless Gods allowed us to plunge headlong into the heady worlds of the perceived ‘others,’ redefining the term ‘Australian,’ challenging white values and honouring those of the shunned. It shows us that beauty lies in the souls of everyone, regardless of race, gender or their beliefs.

Asia TOPA, Stephen Armstrong’s new festival which reminded us that Asian culture is beautiful, intelligent, diverse and powerful.

Looking forward to in 2018
In 2018, I am excited about to Jean Tong’s Hungry Ghosts, directed by Petra Kalive with Emina Ashman, Jing-Xuan Chan and Bernard Sam; Michele Lee’s Going Down with Catherine Davies, Josh Price, Naomi Rukavina and Jenny Wu; Little Ones Theatre’s The Nightingale and the Rose directed by Stephen Nicolazzo with Jennifer Vuletic, Brigid Gallacher and Yuchen Wang; and The House of Bernada Alba by Patricia Cornelius, directed by Leticia Cáceres with Peta Brady, Julie Forsythe, Bessie Holland, Melita Jurisic and Candy Bowers, Candy Bowers, Candy Bowers!!!

SM: Every design of Eugyeene's is my favourite. Highlights of this year include creating a proscenium arch in La Mama in The Happy Prince, the amazing moss green of The Moors at Red Stitch, and the stage stabbing into the darkness of Merciless Gods.

Isabel Angus
Comedian, writer, performer

Isabel Angus

Favourite moments in 2017
Probably watching three bums talking into microphones in Wild Bore at the Mathouse Theatre.

Looking forward to in 2018
Having less FOMO by actually going to more theatre shows all year round - because there is actually always something on and more people should go! Also, delving deep into MICF 2018.

SM: I missed Isabel's kids show at Fringe,  so it's her being one of the wonderful team who created Do Not Collect $200. I look forward to a new show from her soon.

Joseph O’Farrell (JOF) and Sam Halmarack
Community development artists
Their new show, We are Lightning!, premieres at Arts House in December

Joseph O’Farrell (JOF) & Sam Halmarack. Photo by Sam McGlip

Favourite moments in 2017
JOF:  I was lucky enough to see Elbow Room's Niche at Northcote Town Hall on my first day back in Melbourne. To see an ambitious work of scale by an independent theatre company was REALLY exciting and inspiring.

I was also lucky to tour with Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey to UK and EU this year where I saw them open their work 5 Short Blasts in two different cities on the same weekend.

Let’s do this! Let’s be ambitious in everything we do!

SH: We recently saw Cracker La Touf play. They’re a young band that we first worked with as part of our new show’s development in 2016. To watch them play and be complete rock stars blew me away!

Looking forward to in 2018
JOF: Next Wave. I LOVE this festival and its approach to a more inclusive and progressive arts sector. Can’t wait to see what the team have been working on.

SH: I am from London, so I’ll leave town after the show and not sure when I’ll be back, which is a really sad realisation. I love this city.

I’m really looking forward to touring We Are Lightning! to Mayfest in Bristol. It’s one of my favourite festivals and I can’t wait to share this crazy show with the city

SM: I didn't see JOF or Sam perform this year, but Sam's last show in Melbourne was one of my favourite moments from 2014, and the last Suitcase Royale show I saw JOF in, Zombatland, won my Favourite Comedy in 2012. So, I'm totally looking forward to We Are Lightening!.

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

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