I was stoked to have been able to photograph my friend Katie Sfetkidis’ FOLA show In Deep Water. Her study of bioluminescent deep sea creatures came eerily to life within the black mass of Theatreworks and Ian Moorhead’s riveting soundscape complete with muffled explosions from beyond.
I kinda felt like the National Geographic underwater photographer I’ve dreamt of becoming (only I didn’t even need to get wet.)
If you’ve missed that chance to experience this other-worldly environment of mystery and wander, the show will be on again shortly for one night only at Blindside Gallery.
New independent-music-theatre-company kid Watch This is back again with yet another gorgeous Sondheim musical, this time the musical master’s Pacific Overtures, so ethereal it has barely ever been performed in Melbourne. Backstage, cast are humming about at their one-hour call, whitening their faces and blackening their brows. They will don delicate white paper-doll kimonos soon, but meanwhile, show blacks keep them neat and well-groomed.
On Monday night, we attended the opening of Midsumma Premier event, the exquisite The Worst of Scottee, followed by the launch of this year’s season at Theatreworks. It’s been a much anticipated lineup meticulously put together by Daniel Clarke and his team, featuring some of the very best that Melbourne’s indie scene has to offer. Beginning with Gary Abraham’s The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant, the program also includes a Sondheim, works by Elbow Room, ARTHUR, Natalie Cursio and Nicola Gunn, Little Ones Theatre, Bryony Kimmings, and Four Larks’ The Temptation of St. Antony for Melbourne Festival, as well as the Theatreworks commissioned Encounter(s) projects which includes works by Yana Alana and Katie Sfetkidis.
What? Christmas Party? Remember that fun season that came and went so quickly as we all slide back grumpily into work mode?
Partly due to the fact that my switch has been on ‘lazy,’ these summer-fun photos are coming out well into the new year. That said, the sun is still shining and the pool parties are still happening, so it’s time to revisit this cool soup of frisky bathing animals!
There were the flamingos;
There was good ol’ fashioned bathing;
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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.
The other Samara-Louris collaboration I worked on was the development of Hello There, for Next Wave Festival.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Melbourne Festival is well and truly underway. At the opening weekend party, artists gathered to celebrate a hotly anticipated couple of weeks of world class ART.
At the opening night of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, we saw Kevin Rudd in a peeled apple suit. I’m not exactly sure why he was wearing a peeled apple suit, or if it was supposed to be a peeled apple at all- maybe it’s a peeled grape, or some sort of unpeeled fruit, even.
Regardless of whether it’s peeled or unpeeled fruit, there’s a lot of different kinds of fruit, pixelated and unpixelated, at the Fringe worth checking out.
Brisbane Festival kidnaps a busload of Melbourne theatre kids, including enfants terribles MKA: Theatre of New Writing with The Unspoken Word is ‘Joe,’ those crazy camp show ponies from Little Ones Theatre with Psycho Beach Party, that enchanting Nicola Gunn with the piercing blue eyes and her show Hello My Name Is and those sexy tumbling Arthur Productions kids primed for a Jane Fonda exercise video in Cut Snake.
Independent performing arts curator David Berthold has stolen the four of six companies programmed to be in next year’s MTC 2014 Neon season so that the launch was not as meaty as it might have been.
For a couple of weeks, at least, this is where it’s at.
I remember telling Stephen after rehearsal one day that the air in there feels like a sick zoo, and reminds me so much of Aubrey Beardsley’s illustrations of Wilde’s Salome.
Meanwhile, go see Little Ones Theatre’s Salome at Malthouse’s Helium season.