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Archive for the ‘About Me’ Category

Yes friends, I’m back. Three quarters of a year later, prompted by the Melbourne Fringe and a reference to this blog on this one. Ready to live up to the blog’s tagline and review, report and otherwise write on arts-related things (with a local focus). One thing that was stopping me from writing stuff here was the thought of having to write thousands of words on things when I feel like I don’t have that much to say, or it would take too much to work out how to say it. Deciding it’s better to do a little something than nothing at all (which is disputable), I have resolved to make a healthy number of little posts. They’ll probably average 200 words or so, rather than the 2000 I had previously, and will begin with the shows I’ve been seeing in the Fringe Festival. Don’t expect deep and full reviews, rather little thoughts and snippets. I may focus on one particular detail for the 200 words. Well that’s the plan anyway. I could very well end up being back to 2000 word posts before the Fringe is over. So without further ado, the first of these…can we call them reviews?…

DOGMEAT

Dogmeat poster

I think the main reason I enjoyed this show is because it was performed outside. A number of intercut and interlinked storylines set, it seemed to me, in a kind of post-apocalyptic world terrorised by wild dogs and people snatchers. But then again someone I saw it with thought it was actually about dogs, and the ‘people snatchers’ were dog catchers…

In a set made of the pre-existing La Mama courtyard with laundry added, the three actors take a number of different roles between them.

Sitting very much outdoors in the new courtyard, the audience was on benches sheltered by a tarp (the show goes on rain hail or shine, though it was quite a nice night when I was there). I said to someone afterwards “I don’t think I would have liked that play nearly as much if it had been inside”. Somehow I think a lot of the ‘character work’ was made to seem a little less self-indulgent as we’re still connected to the outside world merely by virtue of not being separated off by walls and a roof.

It was a robust piece and had a real sense of the communal storytelling in which theatre has its origins. Of course all theatre was originally outdoors, and mostly all in the day as well. It seems strange now that the norm is inside at night. Of course the advent of electric lighting made this feasible. After seeing this piece outdoors and really enjoyed the different feel it gave to it, I would be very interested to see a play outside in the day time. You get street theatre, but a full length play is rare. The seeming mystery and intimacy of night and the indoors is attractive, with its apparent potential for an experience separate to and beyond the everyday. But perhaps when the experience feels part of the rest of life and the world it can bring something even greater.

SEE THIS IF: You enjoy not realising three characters are played by the same actor til halfway through a play.

DON’T SEE THIS IF: You stop reading at the mention of two mates fingering a dead dog. Though I suppose you have to stop reading anyway since it’s the end of the review.

Dogmeat. Written by Tobias Manderson-Galvin. Directed by Jessica Tuckwell. Produced by Glynn Roberts. Matt Furlani, Conor Gallacher, George Banders. Part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival. La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday Street Carlton. 10pm. Until October 10th. Tickets through Melbourne Fringe.

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Setting Off

Until this year I didn’t see plays. People who know me find that strange, cos I’ve always had an interest in theatre, and done my share of drama classes and school plays. I think part of the reason is that it’s very rare for me to see a play I like: to date I have seen only two plays that I have been taken by (Affection by Ranters Theatre and They’re All in Their Little Boxes by Louris Van Der Geer, a friend of mine whose second play I review below)). Of course, it works the other way as well; obviously you won’t see many plays you like if you don’t see many plays full-stop.  This year I’ve started seeing plays, or theatrical experiments, or whatever they’re calling them these days.  I’ve also started reading a lot about the theatre, and thinking a lot about the theatre. I began working on a play of my own this year, and that prompted the increase in all things theatrical. On Saturday night I went to Hatched, a mini-festival at St. Martins Youth Arts Centre. One show I saw in Hatched was Honey-Bun and Baby Doll. I was  giving  my thoughts on the show to Louris Van Der Geer, the writer and director, and I told her I hadn’t been able to enjoy her show properly because I kept analysing it, trying to work out what I’d say about it afterwards. Analysing pieces of theatre and making references and connections comes naturally to me. I see this as a burden, the intellectualism and critical tendency chokes my creative spirit and makes it really hard for me to do anything theatre-related without being constantly self critical, halting any progress. But during the course of the conversation with Louris we realised the tendency to analyse and to make reference to other things in theatre suits the role of a critic perfectly. Louris joked ‘you could be the next Alison Croggon’. (thus exciting me to the level where I wrote everything in capitals for the next few minutes. Yes we were talking over the internet, what, do you think I interact with other humans face to face?). So I thought ‘why not give theatre review blogging a go?’. Rather than just damning my tendency to analyse and place in a broader context, why not put it to good use? In my reviews here I’m not concerned with making a by the numbers summary of the production: how elegant/clumsy the set was, whether the director’s vision complemented the text; assesing each actor’s performance &c. &c. &c. Rather I’ll write some observations I have about the show, and try to analyse why. Or will I do that? I’m not sure. Basically I’ll write whatever I want to write,  with a tendency to diverge into wider ideas. Just letting you know that my reviews are not intended to be comprehensive or play the role that a review in a newspaper does (whatever the hell that is). Oh, and most of what I write will be heavily influenced and referenced to a certain few theatrical thinkers and doers (see recommended reading for details). I welcome, nay crave, comments. True dialogue is lost in our society! Let’s bring it back!

With that, we set off.

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