Admittedly, this blog has not been completely forthcoming during the year. There were large pockets in the Promptside calendar where it appeared as if this theatre cockroach had failed to report back about things he has seen. Many apologies; Rather than saying I’d been too busy with work, let’s just say I wasn’t very eager to put down my glass of bubbles to bring out the camera.
So this is not so much a retrospective as a thank-you to the fabulous creatives I’ve had the pleasure of working with and spending time with throughout the year.
I spent a whole lot of time with the delicious people of Little Ones Theatre who never fail to entertain, on or off stage. Because of this, I sometimes get to photograph them hanging around candidly being sexy.
Genevieve Giuffre, in between performances of ‘Salome,’ in bed with the hot dog, microphone and string of pearls.
I got to run a photo booth at the Theatreworks Fundraiser, Abundance, where I played dress-ups with a whole lot of kids, one of whom was the gorgeous photographer-about-town Sarah Walker.
Sarah Walker at Abundance
Rose Chong and the Chongettes are, and have always been, avid supporters of the theatre, and I’m so glad my job allows me to stop by every now and then at this Aladdin’s cave of fabulous costumes, which is always a welcome breath of fun and colour! This year, I was honoured to collaborate with the formidable Rose to do their window for the Gertrude Street Projection Festival.
Rose Chong and Hannah Cuthbertson at the Leoard X Flamingos Rose Chong Christmas Party
I worked on a few developments this year; One of which was with Renae Shadler, the most enthusiastic and energetic theatre maker I know. It was a collaboration with artists of Generation Y, including Felix Ching Ching Ho, Yusuf Harare Jr, Cameron Stewart, Neil Triffett, Penny Harpham and Kris Chainey about Generation Y, called Y? Ironically, I’m not of that generation, but learnt a lot about them, and about myself.
Renae Shadler and I in a Telstra phone booth. Doing selfies.
The other development involved a bunch of queens in the room, including Stephen Nicolazzo, Ash Flanders, Art Simone aka Jack, and Marion Potts, exploring the pearls of wisdom of some of our dear friends, the women of Youtube.
Ash Flanders with Art Simone during ‘The Woman Project’ development.
I also found these women online, but they were presenting something quite different altogether. When Tanya Dickson and I conceptualised the set of a men’s magazine for Lucy Kirkwood’s NSFW at Red Stitch Actors Theatre, there were ethical considerations of how people, and images of people are portrayed in this day and age. Ultimately, we decided that it was OK to have this kind of nudity on stage. For the sake of art. Thank you to all at Red Stitch and lovely production team, led by the very graceful Dawn Holland.
NSFW set at Red Stitch
Speaking of sets, I had the pleasure of recreating two other settings for The Unspoken Word is ‘Joe’ when it toured to Geelong and Brisbane this year. Last year, the play was set on the set of ‘The Intensity Collective’s Hedda Gabler.‘ This time around, it was an amateur production of Les Mis at the Geelong Courthouse Arts and then a few days later, a Molière at the Brisbane Festival. Many thanks to the team including Declan Greene, Zoey Dawson and Glyn Roberts for letting me play designer so many times over.
The barricades of Les Mis for ‘The Unspoken Word is Joe’ at Geelong Courthouse Arts
‘Joe’ cast at Brisbane Festival
When I was away from home in Brisbane, it was so nice to see all my Melbourne friends who were also part of the Brisbane Festival. The team from Arthur for Cut Snake, Nicola Gunn’s Hello My Name Is, MKA and, of course, those psychos at Little Ones Theatre were all there, making it seem like a really fun school camp!
Cast and creatives of Psycho Beach Party at Brisbane Festival, including (right to left:) Me, Kevin Kiernan-Molloy, Stephen Nicolazzo, Zoe Boesen, Amanda McGregor, Paul Blenheim, Peter Paltos, Caitlin Adams, Ash Flanders, Daniel Clarke, Owen Phillips, Tessa Leigh Wollfenbuttel Pitt, Kris Chainey, Kurt Phelan and Tom Dent, though there are other equally as smiley and miraculous kids in the Little Ones Theatre team who aren’t in this picture. Thank you all.
I worked on a short film with the wonderful people of Access. It’s being packaged up as we speak, so keep an eye out for this cute little short about superheroes. Who doesn’t love a film about a group of superheroes, right?
The cast of SUPER at a shoot at the SUPANOVA convention
James Deeth at Piedimontes for the SUPER shoot.
The very lovely director Samara Hersch got some help from writer Louris Van de Geer to write the SUPER script. She ended up being in the film in the end.
Louris Van de Geer at the SUPER shoot.
The other Samara-Louris collaboration I worked on was the development of Hello There, for Next Wave Festival.
Aaron Orzech vacuuming confetti at ‘Hello There’ development.
Genevieve Giuffre eating corn at ‘Hello There’ development.
I’m also glad I got to remake that iconic pink dress that Nicola Gunn wore to emcee for Abundance, and in that large ‘billboard,’ in SEQUINS, for In Spite of Myself.
Nicola Gunn in that pink dress for Bang Bang in ‘In Spite of Myself’
Along with the moments of fun and celebration, there have also been moments of beautiful contemplation.
Blizzard, directed by the very elegant Natalie Cursio, existed in space where the sparse soundscapes were created by Caroline, Melissa and Alice incidental to their dance, which was as beautiful to watch as it was to meditate upon. This particular image reminds me of The Three Shades.
Caroline Meaden, Melissa Jones and Alice Dixon at ‘Blizzard’
The year began with I Know There’s A Lot Of Noise Outside But You Have To Close Your Eyes in Sydney where I spent some time with the girls (Allison Whiltshire, Anna McCarthy, Zoey Dawson and Katie Sfetkidis, who is the rock star lighting designer I continued to work with on quite a number of shows this year) and introduced Zoey to Sushi Trains.
Zoey Dawson in cocoon dress, in ‘I Know There’s A Lot Of Noise Outside But You Have To Close Your Eyes.’
Last year, I worked on Triangle, for which Russell Goldsmith and Chris Wren used the theme music of ABC Radio National’s Late Night Live, Eliza Aria from The Wild Swans, performed by the immaculate soprano Jane Sheldon. This year, I got to work with her on the one-woman opera Exil, directed by Adena Jacobs for the Sydney Chamber Opera. We both agreed earlier on, much to Adena’s amusement, that it should be set in a spaceship. Obviously, it wasn’t.
Jane Sheldon with Adena Jacobs at a rehearsal for ‘Exil.’
Daniel Clarke’s Palace of the End at Theatreworks reminded us of the Iraqi wars through the compelling performances of Hannah Morris, Robert Meldrum and Eugenia Fragos. Thank you, Daniel, and the cast and creatives including maestro Russell Goldsmith and Rob Sowinski, for this, the most real, emotional and shocking piece I’ve worked on this year.
Set for ‘Palace of the End’
Having recounted some of the invaluable experiences and chances to foster memorable creative relationships in the theatre this year, I feel all the more richer. Perhaps it’s a bit backward in thinking, considering Wesley Enoch’s recent I Don’t Do it for the Money speech at Belvoir. Perhaps one day, it would be nice to receive an award wage for what I do. But in the meantime, I’m OK with this kind of reward.
Thank you all for making it a worthwhile experience, and I’ll see you all again in 2014.
Caroline Meaden in ‘Blizzard.’