Something I’ve not tried before, but it seems reasonably straightforward: a spoken word piece + mixtape. This is an old piece called trench becomes supermarket, which has remained in my consciousness since the first paranoid stoned episodes when I was 17 which summoned the vision more or less wholly.
image from wikipedia
I’m much curious to know what you make of it, if you make anything of it. I of course don’t have copyright for the 30 second snatches of music contained within, so if Four Tet, Filastine, Fennesz, Paul Heslin, Cornelius or Fats Domino are reading this: you guys do good work. If you need to take me out into the woods and shoot me in the back of the head, so be it.
Went to the preview of NUTS‘ Hours of Fun with Cement last night.
My relationship with the National University Theatre Society is an odd one. Since dropping out of the Theatre Studies course in 2002, I’ve continued to work with the theatre students there on and off, usually in other contexts around Canberra. In 2005, I collaborated with the NUTS Executive Committee and received NUTS support for a huge joint venture: One Night Only: Dallas Rockwell’s Confessional Tour, which was a trio of plays (by myself, Max Barker, Hadley and Stu Roberts) set during a pop concert.
Following that show*, NUTS closed up shop, the society went into a permanent hiatus, and the core artists proceeded on to other ventures. Then, at the end of 2007, Cara Irvine and small cadre of other students revived the organisation. The two year gap meant that there was virtually no cross-over between the artists of Old Nuts and the current generation of New Nuts. (Note: no-one calls them that but me.)
Anyway, the reason for the tedious history lesson is to put the show in context: to my way of thinking, Hours of Fun with Cement is the New Nuts’ coming-of-age production, on par with the best work by Old Nuts. You might want to take my opinion with a fairly hefty grain of salt (for reasons which will become obvious), but that’s my opinion and I’m standing the fuck by it.
Cement is a quadruple-bill of short plays: Hadley’s Sock Yeti and Zara and the Sea, my Hate Restaurants and Slow News Day by Will Coward, Peter Dabro and Sam Power. Putting aside their choice of one of my plays to produce, the production deserves commendation for picking up work by ACT writers (Hads and I) and packaging it with the best material from the kickass 24 Hours of Theatre Festival NUTS held earlier this year (Slow News Day).
Ethically the production holds up well, but more importantly, the slickness with which it was carried off says all sorts of good things about the current generation of NUTS artists. A beautiful set (the innards of a whale), cool costumes, live music – high production values across the board. And consistently good performers from a fairly extensive cast (I don’t want to single anyone out especially, but mad props to _____ _____ for kickass performances across three of the four plays).
Actually, fuck not singling anyone out. Pete Dabro was the aforementioned performer, and much love to Tasman Vaughan for doing a beautiful job with Hate Restaurants, but my sincere congratulations have to go to Duncan Ragg, who was the overarching director and producer behind the project, as well as directing Zara and the Sea. The challenge of coordinating this many performers and events into one cohesive mass is enormous, and it promises good things for NUTS in 2010.
Finally, to end this on a down note, my criticisms:
Fuck you Hadley for the guys in Sock Yeti being so fucking good but the female character being so passive. Fuck you Slow News Day for having the best line of the year (‘Brad Schwartz, weather and sports: that rhymes and I’m a murderer’). Fuck you Hadley for Zara and the Sea having the most beautiful opening in any of your plays since Curious Dream, breaking all its own rules and then suddenly at the 2/3rds mark deciding to self-consciously play by its own rules. And fuck you Finig for all the failed gags in Hate Restaurants. Fuck you for the final confrontation which involved all the characters on stage at the same time and looked like a fucking Shakespeare wedding. And fuck you for not stipulating in the script that the play close with the sounds of Enya’s Orinoco Flow.
Recently, Na Milthorpe of Exhibitionist (otherwise known as Doctor Na Milthorpe) published a conversation between her and I about the value and function of reviewing. This has caused me to go back and re-evaluate some of the reviews I’ve received over the years. In 2001, Canberra Times theatre critic Alanna Maclean attended (and panned) my first full-length production: supernatural crime-comedy The Mischief Sense. Since then, Alanna has attended and reviewed a number of my other productions. We haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, but that’s usually because she points out flaws in my work that I’m embarrassed by and unable to defend against. Either way, the important thing to emphasise is that what follows is in no way intended as an insult to Maclean.
What follows, more specifically, is a collection of Maclean’s reviews of my work which I’ve Babelfished from English to Traditional Korean and back again.
image by Arran Mckenna
The Mischief Sense (Bohemian Productions, Sep 2001) – ‘Script Fails in Tilt at Irony‘
“the script is unable to tilt in the irony”
good saw again from Alanna Maclean young and drifts the production warm-heartedly in it and in the Currong new play. The pity, then, the mischievous feeling not quite hits the mark. The title as if implores in the binding welcher god Northern Europe myth the fire god, and the piece endeavor is one way crime comedy, but this ambitious enterprise is doing drops down. Sometimes the actor with inarticulate, the long script, has them in dark completely, and many furniture sets move the replacement unwieldy the lighting attachment design combat. This kind of piece does not need the realism trap. It, however, needs to discover the strong visual style. Needs to broadcast even more directly brown and the black and the shy performance cannot deliver the mission which and the lavender hill rioter mixture matter to the audience the feeling cannot achieve likely. Is great looks at a young writer in the work, but the script needs some urgent dramatic work art. And the company must change is tenacious it the design, direction and performance skill, if they want this kind which transmits the script as if to struggle sharp and satirize the theater. I finished have lost with the evening which confused, looked that suffocates becomes reconciled the idea to glimpse quick-wittedly.
Chosei: Post Poe territory there is a life which is eternal what kind of. 1950’s reaches the swallow of the fear whose scientist Russia B movie is cheerful, is from a condition which Adolf Hitler makes the transcript and plays and predicts and to be like that his lover (and the nephew daughter) Geli Raubel goes a future. This piece seriously well, has and which degree success in order to go attains. It goes out to the place which finally enters and is not positively, the bathtub leads and arrival and the implantation which are that place fun in the outside and is a Russia winter eye which kicks.
You the fan of vampire vampire playing does to bring with you in case is this from your tube. The bead Finnigan original vampire problem leads in talks and Dickson surroundings of selecting on alternative Canberra which has the subway and when [e] [tin] meandering after, which degree [e] three shows a charm. Glow starts last from scene and ends with the first time. It is in order for we to follow the talk of vampire shaft warfare joyfully before seeing disconcerting reasons, in order to see the result of activity.
When playing ends, (or is started) the survivor of 2 people waits dawn in the south coast seashore. Karen blacksmiths (Alison McGregor) comes a creature which George Bekken (Gina Guirguis) night is charming is. Positively does quite in the charming vampire and the broken leg after that and has buys and to fall Manson lanes which are pushed (jack Lloyd) is. He limps many.
The 4th member of the shaft the bone (maximum the barker) has ancient Conan comedies Tintin and is a vampire who develops the relationship. The barb barnett Finn – lurks with in their nemesis circumferences which only the Finland bay says, and nine [su] Nicholson and Hanna Cormick and Rob Graf pick up the scope of the support role which is strange. This is fun from time to time and all positively is. Is the audience of opening day who in the honeymoon which is in Canberra will want the conception where because of description below, came off a reference in the vampire who is locally to place to seek.
Between in the register of the engine of Dickson for the test of a driver and you could finish above at the hands of the foreigners, leading through a Canberra that was not nothing as this that you know. At least that one it seems to be what all in the sky is happening in the boiled oceans… Visually this production is defying. The five characters are in the one front scrim and work to the microphones in stands. The elegant projections appear to a side. Gradually, behind scrim, one diorama burnt dark of the black mountain appears above, finishes with a conduction of car above of it and the tower. The feeling is graphical novel of the part, old radiofónico show of the scientific fiction of the part because passarinho of Mack (Allison-New Lloyd) is sequestrado in the register of the engine of Dickson to serir in such a way obscure targets one of Gwen Malkin (Chris Lloyd) and of honest John (Raoul Craemer). It finds an ally in the girl of Plate-Game (wild of Virginia), although the fact of that seems to be inoperative. A destroyed Parkway of Tuggeranong poveado for centípedes, dragonflies and giant spiders makes the black mountain arising itself to capture some difficult creatures of the cloud and the Burley-Grifo of the lake is so dry how much the ean boil-dry of this world of the post-disaster. However, although the splendid adjusted project (Gillian Schwab), scape healthy of disturbance of Erika Ikenouchi and Warwick Lynch and some hard work for the executors, are hard to grasp that movements this sample. The certificate of David Finnigan is poetical and 0ccasionally funny but all it seems a little disoriented and to lack in the tension. However dramaturgo of Canberra is good for seeing one to turn places that we know in an alternative universe that he extracts in memories of bushfires to call above an image of the city in deterioration. E the small dialogues between passarinho and the girl of Plate-Game on the school and relationships are facts so cool for Allison-New and savage sounds true and the place. Very well being to make use for some worlds of the scientific fiction and knowing the power of sort of the fancy I met to want all to mean it much more.
Up next! The Australian National University Theatre Society (NUTS, or ANUTS to give them their technical title) are presenting an evening of short plays by myself and Hadley (plus a bonus from the NUTS 24 Hours of Theatre festival) entitled Hours of Fun with Cement. The show runs 8pm Thursday 22 – Saturday 24 October at the ANU Arts Centre in Canberra, and it will be fucked because Hadley is a deviant and the two scripts they’re presenting (Sock Yeti and Zara and the Sea) are ruinous and beautiful.
Also next week, I will be speaking at the At The Centre of the Edge conference in Brisbane. According to the website, At The Centre of the Edge is a national independent theatre-makers conference. It is probably that, but it’s also an excuse for me to get to Brisbane to catch Dave Burton‘s Lazarus won’t get out of bed at Metro Arts. Good times.
The Crack Theatre Festival – the first ever – is over. I’m still a little shell-shocked about it, but really happy and proud of us as well. It was huge – 9 panels, 7 workshops, and 14 separate performances, ranging from the simple and straightforward (and beautiful – thank you Anna Barnes for Revelation or Bust) to the incomprehensibly massive and unmanageable. But we managed. Many billions of thanks to our volunteers – Lina, Pete, Hanna, Nickamc, Clappers, Max, all the others who threw in – thanks in a whole different sense of the word to our Tech Coordinator Anthony, and beyond thanks – high fucking fives – to my co-director Gillian Schwab.
Also, holy shit we had lovely artists. There were more than 60 of them, all up, spread across panels and workshops and performances. I didn’t meet them all, but every time I encountered one they would be sweet, helpful, calm and understanding. Everyone rolled with all the punches they got thrown, which I admire and am stoked about. And on top of that, none of them got any support – not even a few dollars towards the cost of lunch, or a free tank of petrol – but they coughed up and kept going without a word of begrudgery.
Also our audiences were incredible. Large. This Is Not Art had record attendance this year across the whole festival, but even so, we weren’t expecting the new festival to join the ranks to have people rocking up in droves every day. We had to turn people away on several occasions.
So Crack ran for 4 nights. The cops shut us down on two of those nights, which I think is a good start, but I believe we can do better next year. Oh, next year – no, next year, no. No. Can’t get my head around that one quite yet. So it’s a little more hiding out from the world, I’m afraid. I’ll be back online soon to map out my next few months – or try to, anyway.