oceans all boiled into sky reviews

it’s the day after closing: three reviews for Oceans so far. From Culturazi.com, Bic Parker writes:

All in all this play deals with a very serious issue of mental illness and its reality and society’s reactions to it which, as you will discover, is to laugh at and be entertained by it… A most enjoyable and thought provoking play. Four stars.read more

Also on Culturazi, Nigel McCrae:

Laced with local geographical icons, ‘Oceans’ was, for this born and bred Canberran, like viewing the familiar haunts of the past through a fractured looking glass, each landmark a metaphor for something dark or seamy or sad. Are the monsters on Black Mountain the cultural imperialism of the mainstream media? Is Lake Burley Griffin death. Does it matter? Can you enjoy a play like you might a ride on a roller coaster? All sensation and no comprehension? Can you marvellously enjoy a guitar solo without understanding each nuance, every flattened 6th? Apparently you can, because I did and didn’t (get every nuance).read more

Lastly (so far), Adrienne Gross writes for Australian Stage Online:

Oceans Boiled Into Sky is a sci-fi black comedy, a 75-minute single act described in publicity as a ‘road-trip coming of age story.’ I’d describe it more of a realisation of consciousness, as we can’t escape our subconscious, it’s hiding in the steam and just when you think it has lifted, it just rains back down – the things we try to block, the other person you want to be… The highlights of the play were the well-acted one liners from Honest Jon and the part where Mack Finch cringed his way through chatting up Board Game Girl – the script so true to life it seemed lifted from an eavesdropping outside McDonalds on a Friday night.’ read more


So the Chief Minister of the Australian city which my phone’s predictive text function insists is called the Cancers is named Jon Stanhope, and recently he spoke about theatre

“In the past few days two quite different local productions have premiered, bringing home to me yet again the depth and talent of our local performing artists,” Mr Stanhope said. “The Messenger, at Canberra Youth Theatre, and Oceans All Boiled Into Sky, at The Street Theatre, are both engaging and challenging productions of a quality equal to anything anywhere in the country.”

(before we go any further, The Messenger runs until December 6 at C-Block Theatre and tickets on 6248 5057 and you should do that thing)

Oceans All Boiled Into Sky is another outstanding locally written and locally produced work,” Mr Stanhope said. “Taking the form of a live radio drama, it is a memorable production that gives a new twist to some familiar Canberra places. Like the Youth Theatre production, it is at times confronting in its message and its language.”

I wasn’t aware that Oceans had a message, but if there is I suspect that it’s along the lines of IF YOU STAY UP FOR 55 HOURS STRAIGHT YOU WON’T NEED TO GO TO BED EVER AGAIN

Oceans is on at the Street Theatre tonight (Fri 28 Nov) and tomorrow night (Sat 29 Nov) and then it’s over. It sold out the last two nights, so hustle it and book if you want to come along.

this finig myself on ABC website

This morning I scuttled to the ABC studios in this city the Cancers, where the good journalist Nicholas Kittel took me to a storm-water drain in Dickson and had me recite my poem (what with I tied first place at the second ACT heat of the National Poetry Slam last week).

not from the ABC online website: a shot of me by linton hartfield. why? i guess because it’s a bit fancy.

Then a quick interview, then a bit of editing and sassing it all up, and then this afternoon it is up on ABC online for you all to have a butcher’s at. If you have any kindness in your heart at all, you will watch the first two minutes (ie. the poem) and then close down the video before I launch into my catastrophic attempt at answering Nicholas’ questions.

Also on the website and worth checking out: the performances of my fellow ACT first-placers Hadley and Omar Musa.

oceans all boiled into sky podcast

‘Is there any artistic merit to this play that would outweigh the frequent profanity?’ The Culturazi Insatiable Banalities podcast – Chris Lloyd, Raoul Craemer, Lloyd Allison-Young, musicians Erika Ikenouchi and Warwick Lynch, barb barnett, the Insatiable Banalities crew, and Margaret from Ainslie, who (the legend grows) was hatched from an egg on a mountain top and whose nature is irrepressible.

chris lloyd and lloyd allison-young

lots of people – look at them all! people! lots of them!

Nov 15 update

Such things, such things. My script Robot Salesman Training Play was just produced as part of BKu and the Hunting Season‘s production of Damned if you Duo 4, directed by Lucy Hayes with Tom Connell, John-Paul Santucci and Virginia Savage. It was good – healthy, shiny, swaddled in merriment and wrapped in the rich sauce of Republic-era Rome, Napoleonic Paris, 1950s suburban Alabama, a 1992 Prodigy-gig and 50AD on the road to Damascus.

IT IS A DEVIL MADE OF BOXES. tom connell in a photo by john-paul santucci

The rest of Duo was grand as well – highlights were Max Barker’s piece Farang (cringe-inducing westerner in a Bangkok nightclub) and Nick Delatovic’s The Bamboo Throne (epic swords-and-sandals) – I might talk more about it soon, but meantime congrats to all involved –

Oceans all boiled into sky gearing up to take place at the Street Theatre from Wednesday – Saturday Nov 26 – 29. The actors and directors recorded a promo piece for Culturazi‘s Insatiable Banalities podcast on Thursday night, which was overheard by charming theatre critic Margaret from Ainslie. In conversation with ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope on Friday, Margaret described the play as being ‘full of three-word sentences’ with ‘every second word an explicative’. Apparently her grandchildren were appalled. If that’s not an incentive to see the play, I don’t know what is.

Other news, I performed at the second ACT heat of the National Poetry Slam last night at the National Library. It were a grand night, with twenty kick-arse poets and Jules‘ unhinged MC-ing (complete with a chilling Halloween poem which sent shivers up my spine) (not actually) – in the end, I tied for first place with Omar Musa, recently returned to Canberra after a year-long stint in London. We had a tie-breaker slam-off, which we tied again, and so we are both travelling to Sydney on December 4 for the national finals at the Opera House, in company with Hadley, who won the first heat last week.

From Jules Fleetwood’s Traverse Poetry blog: ‘At the end of an incredibly tense slam, Omar Musa and David Finnigan (whose extreme creativity constantly blows me away) drew for first place and then, after each poet performed a second piece, drew for a second time. … Both of Dave’s pieces were, as to be expected, utterly unexpected. The first, a conversation between David (who writes poetry) and David (who gets the credit) and the second, a passionate yet scientific description of how planets and moons are formed.

Finally – photos from my performance at the final Hive Variety Show last week. I did a mash-up of the top ten songs from Triple J’s Hottest 100 1996. Photos by Deye Aus.

I think it’s worth noting that although I look like I’m having a rather massive sulk in these photos, it was a really fun performance and I had many times of fun doing it. Also note: my crotch is labelled SPIDER BAIT. The significance of this did not sink in until people began laughing. I am an idiot.

computer game interfaces

Alongside everything else, this weekend saw a continuation of the debate around the question: if you had to view the world through the lens of a computer game, which game would you choose?

I have always argued for the simple utility of Doom’s interface. At all times, you can flick your eyes downward to check how healthy you are, how much armour you’re wearing, and what weapons you possess (fists). There’s even a little shot of your face, so you can check how you’re looking without needing a mirror. If it turns out I need more detailed diagnostic information about my wellbeing, the Mechwarrior 2 display can provide me with a detailed medical report on the state of my torso and all four limbs (blue means healthy, yellow is damaged and red indicates critical damage) and also lets me know when my engine is in danger of overheating (probably because I’ve been overusing my Lasers or Particle Cannon).

There is, however, clear value in the model used in adventure games like the Monkey Island series or Revolution’s Beneath A Steel Sky. I wouldn’t mind being able to access all the items in my inventory simply by rolling my eyes back, and it would be far easier to carry on conversations with certain people if I could pre-select my next line from a list of options.

Among the academics and expert practitioners whom I consulted, the most popular genre of game interfaces was the RPG. In particular, Mick Bailey (aka The Man Who Hates Fun) and Chris Finnigan extolled the virtues of Dynamix’s Betrayal at Krondor; Mick emphasised the importance of being able to check your Barding statistics at any time (35%, need to buy a practice lute before you try busking in any taverns) and Chris pointed out how handy it would be to have BaK’s Camp button in one corner of your vision, enabling you to drop everything and start camping at any time, no matter where you are or who is around.

A large proportion of the debaters lauded the notion of possessing a Spellcasting option, praising the examples of Diablo or the Final Fantasy series. I tend to think it would be far more practical in every day life to have the strategic toolbar employed in Real-Time Strategy games such as Dune 2.

I am surely not the only one whose life would be greatly simplified if I could order my trikes, sonic tanks and spice harvesters to retreat, attack or stand guard with the simple push of a button.