Last night, before a capacity crowd at Malthouse Theatre, Marion Potts unveiled her first season as Artistic Director.
"This is a beginning. Like all beginnings, it’s borne of the past and reaches towards the future. What that will look like depends on so many things – not the least of which are the points of connection that are created along the way. The way an audience intersects with a work of art is what gives it oxygen; this meeting is what shapes its ongoing form…
I’m looking forward to living through that encounter over the next few years. In 2011 it will stretch across time, culture and experience: a sublimely scored four hundred year old text will counterpoint the utterly contemporary aesthetic of the Dance Massive programme. Big themes about faith and ritual hit up against some of the most confronting moral questions of day-to day life. Australian writers Vanessa Bates and Lally Katz sit alongside two of the most influential figures of theatre dramaturgy, Bertolt Brecht and Samuel Beckett….
Directors as distinct as Simon Stone and Pamela Rabe, virtuosos like Robert Menzies and Alison Whyte and many more… As the following pages will reveal – it’s a company that will continue to honour that essential promise of theatre – the simmering potential of an artist in a space.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Michael Kantor and the entire Malthouse Theatre team for the generosity, patience, humour and commitment that has made this transition so exciting. It’s a great privilege." Marion Potts
Season 1 2011 opens with Marion Potts’s own adaptation of ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore by JohnFord, the great Revenger’s Tragedy of forbidden love which makes Romeo and Juliet feel like Sunday School! At the beating heart of this sizzling satire of moral treachery lies a pair of forbidden young lovers: Annabella and Giovanni. And while Ford conceives for them some of the most audacious scenes of passionate love ever written for the stage, once unbound, their confessions unleash a tumult of vengeance, calumny and slaughter.
The season continues with The End by Samuel Beckett – a lonely soul is ejected from the comfort of an asylum, so he spends his days wandering and waiting for some kind of conclusion to his existence. His life has failed, he’s beyond loneliness and destitution, he ekes out the final small pleasures of living until there is nothing left but to drift away.
Next is Connected Created by Chunky Move who team up with Californian Artist Reuben Margolin whose startlingly live sculptural works – constructed from wood, re-cycled plastic, paper and steel – transcend their concrete forms once set into motion, appearing as natural waveforms in a weightless kinetic flow. Suspended by hundreds of fine strings receiving information from multiple camshafts and wheels, his sculptures reveal in articulate detail the impulses of what they are coupled to. In this world premiere of Connected, it is people – athletic and agile dancers’ bodies twisting and hurtling through space, as well as real people in recognisable situations.
Next is In Glass where two of Australia’s finest contemporary dancers, Paul White and Kristina Chan, have united with acclaimed choreographer Narelle Benjamin, to discover what it is when reason is confounded, when one person ends and another begins – what it is to be In Glass.
BalletLab follow with Amplification – a shocking skid, the frozen moment, the aftermath, the emergency ward amplified through image, sound and the raw body on stage. Amplification is a seduction and an assault for all the senses.
Next is Faker, created & performed by Gideon Obarzanek. Success, experience and earned respect count for little when pitted against the doubts that haunt an empty studio. In Faker we find Obarzanek at his computer reading an email he received from a young dancer letting him know, in the most brutally honest language, her thoughts on the time spent working with him.
Baal by Bertolt Brecht and directed by Simon Stone hold the April 2 – April 23 slot. Disdainfully dismissing the bourgeois world of high art Baal immerses himself in the world of strip joints and cabaret, where he entertains his friends and fans with coarse, bawdy songs. His charisma wins the hearts of devotees, both female and male, who he consumes with relish then discards when they are used up.
Porn.Cake directed by Pamela Rabe follows. Two Gen X couples sit down at a table for some cake, but from the outset distractions, misunderstandings and contradictory desires put a kitchen knife through any chance at pleasantries. Add fairies at the bottom of the garden, stir through some road rage and binge drinking, sprinkle with perverse nostalgia and serve hot…
A Golem Story directed by Michael Kantor follows. On the cobble-stone streets of medieval Prague: dead children, drained of blood, are piling up; an invisible emperor decrees a purging of the ghetto; and a Rabbi works through the dark night to fashion an avenging monster, a creature of absolute and terrifying power. A Golem Story promises to be one of the year’s most intriguing, enchanting and strange experiences of the stage… as the earth itself spews forth a superhuman figure with no soul, Yiddish melodies soar and combine with dangerous kabalistic spells and Hebrew prayers of atonement.
Moth by Declan Greene is next. Sebastian is a terminally unpopular fifteen-year-old suburban kid, with an overactive imagination and an obsession with anime and death. His only friend, Claryssa, is an emo Wiccan art-freak barely one rung higher than Sebastian on the social ladder. What starts as just another night drinking down at the cricket nets soon gives way to an ecstatic vision that leaves Sebastian unconscious, their friendship left in ruin. The next morning, he wakes up with a mysterious moth in a jar by his bed, and a calling to save the souls of all humankind.
Things On Sunday also continue with 3 events scheduled:
Sex: Australia’s favourite House Keeper, Gretel Killeen, hosts a conversation around the hoary issue of sex in art with theatre director Simon Stone (Thyestes, Baal), film, TV and theatre actress Catherine McClements (Crashburn, Better Than Sex, Cruel & Tender) and others in an afternoon of kiss and tell.
Death: Federico Garcia Lorca (1898 – 1936) is one of Spain’s most famous sons. Poet and playwright, and homosexual in a highly patrician society, Lorca lived flamboyantly and died miserably, murdered by Franco’s fascist forces in the Spanish Civil War. But Lorca’s work survives, compelling successive generations with its mix of death, violence and sex and its powerful critique of authoritarianism. Blood Wedding, one of the 20th century’s greatest plays, encapsulates all of this in a Romeo and Juliet romance drenched in blood. Come and hear some of our finest actors deliver this powerful story in a reading directed by Marion Potts. Viva la muerte!
Matzoh Balls: Groucho Marx once quipped "I don’t care to belong to any social organisation which would accept me as a member" but this wasn’t just another instance of the brilliance of the man. Along with the likes of Danny Kaye, Jimmy `Schnoozle’ Durant and Jerry Lewis, Groucho manifested the Yiddish humour running through the Golden Age of Hollywood. These days Adam Sandler and Seth Rogan have taken up the cause on the big screen, but in many more ways life here in Australia, as well as elsewhere in the Western World, is infused with Jewish culture. In an afternoon of song, wine and women (Lally Katz, Elisa Gray and more) – and a boy in men’s pants (John Safran) – we discover what defines the Yiddish sensibility… there’ll be tears, there’ll be laughter, there’ll be singing, and lots of chicken soup.