Malthouse Theatre brings you HELIUM 2013 – a season of five works from Australian independent ensembles set to raise some eyebrows and keep you on your toes.

Following last year’s hugely successful Helium season, including a sell-out production of THE RABBLE’s Orlando and the acclaimed dance performance Opal Vapour (Winner, Best Dance Award, Melbourne Fringe 2012), HELIUM 2013 will again showcase the best in Australian independent performance – always kooky, very topical, a little bit twisted, and utterly contemporary!

As we all know, variety is the spice of life and it certainly seasons HELIUM 2013 … liberally. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll start to question Australia’s most dubious tourist attractions with HEY! YEAH! IT’S MOLLY’S TRAVELLING WORM SHOW! (13 – 24 August). Australia is renowned for its love of Big Things: The Big Banana, Big Pineapple, and the Big Prawn to name but a few. But who remembers the Big Earthworm? Once upon a time, a tiny Victorian town called Korumburra faced perilous economic decline, until a group of locals decided to capitalise on our love of oversized attractions with a giant worm. In HEY! YEAH! IT’S MOLLY’S TRAVELLING WORM SHOW! (13 – 24 August), Melita Rowston delves into the small-town politics of Shit Tourism and the mystery and scandal surrounding Moomba’s infamous Karmai earthworm puppet and its minions of worm boys and girls.

If Madonna and Matadors are more your thing, HELIUM 2013 rewards with one of Australia’s most outrageous and incisive ensembles, Little Ones Theatre. Following the success of their recent Psycho Beach Party, this high camp company will take-on Oscar Wilde’s SALOMÉ in a wild(e) re-imaging of the cult Biblical tale about religion, sexuality and desire. With an 80s new wave soundtrack and gender-bent cast, Salomé will be a bold and risqué theatrical event sure to get you hot under the collar. Just don’t lose your head …

Another investigation of a classic storyline but with radically different results will be LORD OF THE FLIES (28 June – 14 July), the archetypal study of power and human nature. What happens, however, to this classic tale when the schoolboys become schoolgirls? US-A-UM’s production features an all-female cast directed by Kip Williams (Artist in Residence, Sydney Theatre Company). LORD OF THE FLIES will be a subversive re-examination of this most bloody and vicious story and its themes of morality, violence, civilisation and animal instinct.

HELIUM may be one of the more ethereal of elements, but this year we’re bringing it down to the ground and right into the body – whether living or dead, ugly or beautiful. Created by formalist provocateurs The Public Studio, THIS IS BEAUTIFUL (19 July – 3 August) will be an intimate performance event/installation on an operatic scale. Exploring the inherent beauty and ugliness of the human form, THIS IS BEAUTIFUL will showcase a multimedia vivisection of actors onstage and on screen. With its sensuous physicality and an Anti-Theatrical approach, THIS IS BEAUTIFUL lays bare our prejudices, our desires, our fears, and our innermost ugliness.

The final production in Helium’s 2013 season will be Rachel Dease’s extraordinary CITY OF SHADOWS – A SONG CYCLE OF MURDER, MISFORTUNE AND FORENSICS (21 September – 5 October). Inspired by the Police and Justice Museum’s photography exhibition of forensic and police photography in early 20th Century Sydney, CITY OF SHADOWS will be a soulful musical experience sung to a rolling archive of haunting black and white photographs. Taken by the brutal beauty, honesty and the humanity behind the images, Rachael Dease has created a catalogue of songs that may begin to do the dead justice, and give the living pause for thought.

Helium 2013 is curated by Malthouse Theatre and presented in the Tower Theatre. If you want to know ‘what’s next?’ don’t head underground, just look up!

All tickets $25 or season pass for all five works $100
Tickets on sale from Friday 7 June
www.malthousetheatre.com.au

The HELIUM 2013 season launches on Friday 7 June

Further detail on each production is below. Interviews are available with a Malthouse Theatre spokesperson to discuss the Helium 2013 season, and are available with the cast and creatives of each production.

If you would like to arrange an interview or require any further information please contact
Maria O’Dwyer, Media Manager, Malthouse Theatre
m) 0433 905 581 or e) [email protected]

HELIUM SEASON 2013

US-A-UM and Malthouse Theatre present
LORD OF THE FLIES
By William Golding
Adapted for the stage by Nigel Williams

28 June – 14 July
Kill the pig. Spill its blood.
William Golding’s story of a stranded group of school children who spiral into murderous disarray has burrowed its way deep into popular consciousness.

Lord of the Flies challenges our understanding of power and base human nature, and yet, it is a story told solely through the bodies and voices of male characters. But physical dominance and political power will be in the hands of another sex in a radical examination of this most bloody and vicious story and its universal themes of morality, violence, civilisation and animal instinct.

With an all-female cast, US-A-UM’s production of Lord of the Flies cracks open this time-honoured tale and exposes the humanity within.

‘The expansive venue affords much creativity, which is met in spades by savant director Kip Williams.
It’s ingenious, elegant work (which, without fear or favour, I can confidently pronounce to be the best I’ve  seen all year, without a shadow of a doubt). It’s a virtually unparalleled feat of theatre, faultlessly realised.’

Crikey on The Lighthouse
Directed by Kip Williams
Performed by Alexandra Aldrich, Zoe Boesen, Catherine Davies, Michele Durman, Pip Edwards,
Emma Griffin, Fiona Pepper, Contessa Treffone, Eloise Winestock
Dramaturg Maree Freeman
Set and Costume Design Michael Hankin
Lighting Design Nicholas Rayment
Sound Design Nate Edmondson
Producers Samuel J Hagen and Kate McBride
Stage Manager Rebecca Poulter
Design Gill Thomas
Photography Marnya Rothe

WARNING: violent themes    DURATION: 90 mins (no interval)

HELIUM SEASON 2013

The Public Studio and Malthouse Theatre present
THIS IS BEAUTIFUL
By The Public Studio
19 July – 3 August

Part film, part feast, part inner beast. An interrogation-installation on the aesthetics of being human.

We are temporary. Of pigment, of hair, of sweat, folds and scar tissue. But we also inhabit a shadow body of opinions, of judgements and dark yearnings for an ideal physical beauty.

Three actors consume a sumptuous meal on stage. They openly cross-examine one another about their bodies, faces and identities. What they love, what they hate, what they wish were different. They objectify and are objectified. While they feast, on screen a stunning-cinematic meditation represents the actors’ bodies made newly relevant and strangely beautiful again.

Mythically abstracted and sensual beasts they become removed entirely from the quotidian context of their conversation.

This is Beautiful is an intimate-operatic performance and installation event from formalistic firebrands, The Public Studio. It doesn’t comfort or placate. It doesn’t seek to resolve or excuse. It lays bare our prejudices, our desires, our fears and our innermost ugliness.

‘It’s not merely anti-theatre. It’s closer to an installation … one which actively invokes theatrical traditions  in order to do away with them. The overall effect is a radical act of silence …’

RealTime on Until Then, Then
Directed and Created by Ming-Zhu Hii
Assistant Direction Nicholas Coghlan
Performed by Pier Carthew, Jing-Xuan Chan, Terry Yeboah
Installation & Spatial Design Ming-Zhu Hii and Melanie Liertz
Sound Design Russell Goldsmith
Lighting Design Damien McLean
Costume Design Melanie Liertz
Dramaturgy Glyn Roberts
Cinematography Nicholas Coghlan and Ming-Zhu Hii
Post Production Nicholas Coghlan and Ming-Zhu Hii
Producers Nicholas Coghlan and Ming-Zhu Hii as The Public Studio
Graphic Design & Concept Matthew Angel
Publicity & Media Management Frances Haysey of Smart Talk PR

DURATION: 45 minutes (no interval)

HELIUM SEASON 2013

Melita Rowston and Malthouse Theatre present
HEY! YEAH! IT’S MOLLY’S
TRAVELLING WORM SHOW!
By Melita Rowston
13 August – 24 August

Follow your dreams … no matter how shit they are.
Once upon a time, a tiny Victorian town called Korumburra faced perilous economic decline, until a group of locals decided  to capitalise on what they had bigger and better than anyone else in the world – a giant worm.

One hundred metres of pink material, two golf buggy wheels and a roll of poly pipe later, Karmai, the giant pink worm puppet was born. Manipulated by hundreds of worm boys and girls, this blind, deaf and boneless folk hero took the world by storm!

Enchanted and disturbed by childhood memories of road trips to ‘Big Things’, your intrepid host Melita “Molly” Rowston goes on a fantastical journey into Worm Country. Trapped in a cheap motel room with a talking tree and a mangy ostrich, Molly hopes to unearth a local legend that will teach her to live the life she once imagined.

Reminiscent of an 80’s variety TV show (Shirl’s Neighbourhood meets Twin Peaks), HEY! YEAH! IT’S MOLLY’S TRAVELLING WORM SHOW! is a colourful, kooky and dream-like celebration guaranteed to cure-all through the miraculous powers of self-belief and her own brand of Shit Tourism.

‘Melita Rowston’s production has the measure of the play’s kookiness. It’s messy and manic, but … there’s just enough space for some emotion and poignancy to shine through.’

Sydney Morning Herald on MilkMilkLemonade
Worm Charmer Melita Rowston
Directologist Augusta Supple
Henchman Narda Shanley
SFX Magician Richard Whitehouse
Groupie Fern George
Animal Wrangler Benito Di Fonzo

DURATION: 70 minutes (no interval)

HELIUM SEASON 2013

Little Ones Theatre and Malthouse Theatre present
SALOMÉ
By Oscar Wilde
30 August – 14 September

Matadors and Madonnas star in this gender-bent re-imagining of Oscar Wilde’s cult Biblical tale about religion, sexuality and the desire to be different. Hold onto your head.

Two young men are alone in a palace; one is in love with the Princess Salomé, the other in love with his friend. But when Salomé arrives, she only has eyes for John the Baptist, a prophet who warns all deviants that the saviour Jesus Christ is on  His way. Compelled by his abstinence and pious will, Salomé stops at nothing to have him (in the biblical sense). As the moon grows brighter, erotic energy takes over the royal court and the lines between civility and desire are blurred through violent dances for power, melodrama, and the gruesome severing of one very famous saint’s head.

With an 80s new wave soundtrack and gender-bending cast inspired by the drag balls of Paris is Burning, Little Ones Theatre’s Salomé promises a bold and risqué theatrical event with the potential for cultish fascination and more than enough eroticism to get you hot under the collar.

‘An absolute cack. Hi-lar-ious. What fun … Through strong ensemble theatre, the actors bring an almost  erotic frisson, holding serious method and silly manner in true equipoise … It’s the funniest show around!’
The Age on Psycho Beach Party

Directed by Stephen Nicolazzo
Performed by Paul Blenheim, Genevieve Giuffre, Alexandra Aldrich, Nick Pelomis, Peter Paltos, Zoe Boesen, Tom Dent
Set Design Eugyeene Teh
Costume Design Tessa Leigh Wolffenbuttel Pitt and Eugyeene Teh
Lighting Design  Katie Sfetkidis
Sound Design Nate Edmondson
Dramaturgy/Adaptation Natalia Savvides
Concept Advisor Declan Greene
Choreography Kurt Phelan
Stage Manager Rebecca Poulter
Photography Sarah Walker
WARNING: Contains adult themes, nudity, coarse language, loud music

HELIUM SEASON 2013

Smack! Bang and Malthouse Theatre in association with Melbourne Fringe present
CITY OF SHADOWS
A SONG CYCLE OF MURDER, MISFORTUNE AND FORENSICS
By Rachael Dease
21 September – 5 October

Violence and mayhem transfigures into a fascinating, poignant and beautiful concerto of crime. Cue the strings …

Inspired by the Police and Justice Museum’s photography exhibition of forensic and police photography in early 20th Century Sydney, City of Shadows – A Song Cycle of Murder, Misfortune and Forensics is a unique experience that brings to light the vulnerabilities of the forgotten, the danger of our weaknesses and the need for love of our fellow man.

A musical ode to archives of perpetrators, victims and vicinities of violent crimes, each photograph is a quiet intrusion on personal pain, justified only because it may lead to the truth. Haunted by faces and taken by the brutal beauty, honesty and the humanity behind the images, Rachael Dease has created songs that may begin to do the dead justice, and give the living pause for thought.

City of Shadows – A Song Cycle of Murder, Misfortune and Forensics pairs an exquisite new voice with a gritty, violent soundscape and a string quartet comprising some of Australia’s best young contemporary players.

‘Dease is an accomplished artist whose compositions transcend a label. She is a poet with exceptional  depth. Bold, perceptive and endearing, her hymns deliver the knowledge of awareness and sense of peace.’
Theatre New York

Conceived, Written, Directed and Performed by Rachael Dease (Vocals)
Performed by Brian Kruger (Violin), Hayley-Jane Ayres (Violin), Aaron Wyatt (Viola), Tristen Parr (Cello)

WARNING: Graphic imagery, onstage smoke effects    DURATION: 50mins (no interval)

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