Melbourne Festival – In Retrospect

Though Melbourne Festival 2012 kicked off with the formation of Santiago Sierra’s destroyed word, Kapitalism, the festival constantly provided an ominous Memento mori for its audience.

Santiago Sierra’s ‘Destroyed Word’

Perhaps it was clever curating, or maybe it was unintentional, but Opening Night’s lackluster opera, After Life, set the bar low enough for its forthcoming counterparts that consistently delivered high standards night after night. While returning Akram Khan Company’s DESH displayed a beautiful dance of self in a creative wonderland, William Forsythe’s I Don’t Believe in Outer Space immerses considered choreography within an eclectic orgy of contemporary themes. Pretty boy Tim Draxl’s special performances as Chet Baker in Freeway was exquisitely and meltingly presented, and Arena Theatre Company’s The House of Dreaming takes through a house that awakens our inner child and reminds us of the magic of theatre.  Midway through the festival, I found refuge in the very permitted REM-state sleep during the meditative The Minotaur Trilogy, well worth visiting for the imagery induced by a hallucinatory soundscape and light (or lack of.)

On a similar vein, The Rabble’s Orlando, and my pick for MF 2012, retold the story of Orlando in their own distinct image-centric and affecting way. CAMPO/Gob Squad’s Before Your Very Eyes was a surprisingly beautiful observation of life, innocence and growing up, or not, performed with wonderful sincerity by seven young children. Despite the curious repeat programming of Schaubühne Berlin doing another Ibsen, An Enemy of the People did not fail to deliver. Thank you, Mister Sheehy, for bringing them back, and for the joint commissioning (with Avignon Festival) for this world premiere season.  Money well spent.

What a festival!


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