Like the independent theatre scene that I like to call home, I think Malthouse Theatre’s Helium is going to be pretty sexy. It’s like attending the RMIT graduate fashion show at either of Melbourne’s two major fashion festivals because, let’s face it, they’re brimming with the drama, fresh talent and bold ideas that leave the salable ready-to-wear lines unfit for entertainment.
Helium is a season of new works from five independent ensembles, hand picked from a troupe of over 300 artists and over 80 applications. Though having precious little direct creative input into them, these are works that Malthouse Theatre is admirably funding. And trusting. Programmed to be at the Tower, previously a meeting room pre-Kantorian times, Marion Potts has herded the trouble-makers into that upstairs space that enshrines creativity.
Helium alludes to the fact that this theatre space is so wonderfully high up! (Creatives beware: loading may be a bit of an issue.) It is also one of the basic elements that makes us be. And, science, of course, is always very sexy.
First up is the raunchy and shapely predecessor of Barbie, Bild-Lilli, by Elena Knox. Next up is Personal Political Physical Challenge by Hydra Poesis, choreographed by Sam Fox with an ensemble led by Rachel Arianne Ogle and James Welsby, and then we will have, led by Tanya Gerstle, Pale Blue Dot by OpticNerve Performance Group, investigating how we define ourselves as inhabitants of this planet, and what we decide will go on the Voyager Golden Record to be launched into space, for the Aliens. (I told you science is sexy.) Opal Vapour brings us Indonesian trance-inducing ritual dances through Jade Dewi Tyas Tunngal’s contemporary movements, and finally, Orlando, by The Rabble. After Virginia Wolf. Delicious.
Speaking of sexy, Josh Wright is Malthouse Theatre’s associate producer, and has had a big part in curating this wonderful season. We like this man.