Last Friday (6th July), two of the masterminds behind Buzzing Productions presented a performance entitled A La Mad Nix at the C-Block Theatre.

la mad nix (Ali McGregor and Max Barker in bohemian productions’ Vampire Play, 2004)

Buzzing Productions was a Canberra collective of six movement and contact improvisers, which operated over 2005 and 2006 (which I were a member of). Alison McGregor and Max Barker were the worthy recipients of Canberra Youth Theatre‘s worthy Open House grant, which allowed them two weeks free access to the C-Block Theatre. The Mad Nix spent this time engaged in a variety of visual, musical and movement-based improvisations, leading to a twenty minute show which was more like being invited into the guts of a snake than watching a play. The space was broken up and the audience scattered throughout the room, which was decorated with scribbled chalked drawings and butchers’ paper. A La Mad Nix was a series of jagged and frantic scenes – stuttered recitations of poetry by Richard Wilbur and Robert Graves, desperate and stumbling movement pieces, rapid electronic drumbeats and feedback… The only moment of calm was Ali standing at a window repeating a line from Sei Shonagon’s Pillowbook while Max rhythmically raised and lowered the lights on her.

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I was honoured that the Mad Nix used some of my words in the performance – an extract from a collection of short sketches I have written entitled Victory March. The piece they chose was called Jackie-O Motherfucker, named after an American band whose song Hello Mr Sky I was playing near constantly when I wrote it.