Michael Kantor won’t disappoint with an eclectic and vibrant playbill to see out his tenure.

 Artistic Director Michael Kantor’s swansong season promises to send him off not with a whimper, but one heck of a bang. Kantor’s successor, Marion Potts will certainly have some tough acts to follow.
 
The evening began with a memorable screen montage of Malthouse productions from 2005 to present, highlighting the best of the Kantor years. After welcomes by Chairman Simon Wescott and Arts Minister, Peter Batchelor, we were treated to a typical hilariously brilliant musical tribute / roast of the outgoing Director by none other than Eddie Perfect. Although, seemingly untitled, it’s theme was along the lines of “Without Michael, there won’t be any more people who won’t know what the fuck that was all about”.
 
Simon Wescott outlined the enormity of Kantors’ legacy which is as follows;
 
From Michael Kantor’s first season in 2005 until the end of 2010, Malthouse Theatrewill have presented, on stages in Melbourne:
 
91 Productions
43 World Premieres
1 654 Performances
Playing to over 300 000 audiences
Created more than 600 professional opportunities for actors, musicians, creative artists and technicians.
And while he had nothing to do, he managed to personally direct a mere 14 of those productions.
 
To that, as well as your passion and creativity, we salute you, Mr. Kantor.
 
I was briefly concerned that the “pre-match” entertainment would outperform the very launch we were there to imbibe.
 
It was not to be the case. Michael’s turn to shine was next, and he didn’t disappoint with an eclectic and vibrant playbill to see out his tenure.
 
Ironically, it lends weight to Eddie Perfect’s tongue in cheek suggestion that he intends not to focus on “bums on seats” but to challenge the audience’s ideas and perceptions.
 
 In this climate of major events, (do we have a minister for that?) it’s comforting to know that we have people who strive to create more, from less. I know I’ve debated what the f**k something was about over drinks in the bar at Malthouse and will continue to do so. It’s healthy for the cultural growth of a society and the art form itself, so Marion, the Malthouse bar is depending on you to perplex and astonish us.
 
Without wanting to favour one show over another, I will say that of the ten shows on offer this season, there are at least five that I will push old people over to get to, should the need arise. Unfortunately, Michael Kantor is not directing any of the final season, but he has offered us some exciting names.
 
As well as a tantalizing bill, the Malthouse theatre can boast the following feathers in its cap for this coming season.
 
 4 World Premieres of New Australian Works
1 Melbourne Premiere of a New Australian Work.
1 Australian Premiere of an International Work.
1 Melbourne Premiere of an International Work
4 New Malthouse Theatre Commissions, including 2 International Arts Festival Commissions.
 
In introducing his final season, Michael had said the following:
 
" On profound seas of the intimate and personal, on tumultuous oceans of the profane and sublime, our theatre unleashes its alchemical spell, a starlit world of imagination, hope and humanity.  Each of the productions that make upSeason 2 2010 are heaped full of such magic dust, portals through which new and re-discovered shores can be glimpsed.
 
 But while we exalt in spaces of fantasy, Malthouse Theatre is determined to look bravely into the real. Something that was unknown has become frighteningly known. There is now no doubt that the consequence of humanity’s drunken pillage of natural resources has placed our planet, our own homes, and the home of all living things, in deep peril. Through the TippingPoint conference and our commissioned work for studentsHappiness, we want to find out what artists can do…to respond to the climate disaster and its emotional fallout, and to do this with hope.
 
After six years as Artistic Director, I sincerely thank you for your support and for coming on the ride with me.  And of course the remarkable artists – our performers, our writers, our sound and visual designers, our directors.  And my extraordinary colleagues who are Malthouse Theatre. Theatre is the most collaborative of activities, and collaborating with such a talented and dedicated bunch in making and presenting theatre – theatre that I hope has dazzled, confounded, amazed and occasionally appalled – has been a rare treat!"
 
Season 2, 2010 follows:
 
MALTHOUSE THEATRE AND THE GOETHE INSTITUTE PRESENT
MAYBE FOREVER
CHOREOGRAPHED & PERFORMED BY MEG STUART & PHILIPP GEHMACHER
WITH LIVE MUSIC BY NIKO HAFKENSCHEID
MERLYN THEATRE
JUNE 23 – JUNE 26
 
MAYBE FOREVER is an ode to failed love. Since its 2007 world premiere in Brussels and subsequent tours throughout Europe and America, this refined, melancholic work has received lavish praise for its deep excavations into heartbreak. The delicate, emotive choreography of Meg Stuart and Philipp Gehmacher speak, gesture, and collapse through a minefield-strewn romantic history of ‘what-ifs?’ and ‘if-onlys…’, accompanied by the live music of Belgian singer-songwriter Niko Hafkenscheid.
An unlikely pairing, Meg Stuart and Philipp Gehehmacher conjured MAYBE FOREVER from five days improvising in a dance studio, the extremities of their choreographic styles becoming caught in cycles of aversion and touch. Meg Stuart moved from America to Belgium over 20 years ago and formed her company, Damaged Goods, inspired by the imperfection of the human body. Her style is blunt, exuberant and vulnerable. Contrasting this is the inward minimalism of Austrian Philipp Gehmacher, whose work retains emphasis on tension, silence and effort. Having trained in London for ten years, Gehmacher has since returned to Vienna, where his Mumbling Fish company is based. This is the first time that either of these artists has performed in Melbourne, and together in MAYBE FOREVER they reinvigorate contemporary dance, creating something far more than a sum of their distinctive parts.
 
MALTHOUSE THEATRE AND LUCY GUERIN INC
IN ASSOCIATION WITH PERTH INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL PRESENT
HUMAN INTEREST STORY
CHOREOGRAPHED BY LUCY GUERIN
MERLYN THEATRE
JULY 23 – AUGUST 1

Bushfires rage, banking systems collapse, the earth cracks open, a mysterious flu spreads unfettered… our televisions blare these news stories 24-7, matched by constant Twitter feeds, blogs and podcasts. History is ceaselessly in the making, but what do we make of it?
In the midst of humdrum domesticity and daily routine, the background whirr of broadsheets and instant bulletins create meaning and realities that get wedged inside us, sometimes fleetingly, sometimes forever. Perspectives of time and geographical distance then shift, and life marches on. In her most ambitious work to date, Lucy Guerin creates an innovative blend of dance and the spoken word to address the distorting merge of global and personal crises, bodies and events.
 
MALTHOUSE THEATRE PRESENTS
SAPPHO…IN 9 FRAGMENTS
WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY JANE MONTGOMERY GRIFFITHS
BECKETT THEATRE
JULY 30 – AUGUST 21
 
Sappho is the world’s first love poet, much fêted in her own time, and her poetry and biography has beguiled every generation since. But as over 2700 years pass, history rives elements of Sappho apart, creating only a void to be filled with the lusts and desires of one era after another.
Witty, moving and deeply sensual, Sappho… in 9 fragments reclaims the legacy of the tenth muse of the ancient Greeks from dusty books. The fragments of Sappho’s poems that have been scattered through time are now weaved together with contemporary heartbreak in a lyrical love story that stretches through millennia. Sappho… in 9 fragments teases us with her wit, her outrage and the bewitching magic of Sappho’s poetry.
 
MALTHOUSE THEATRE, SYDNEY THEATRE COMPANY AND THINICE PRESENT
THE TRIAL
ADAPTED BY LOUISE FOX, FROM THE NOVEL BY FRANZ KAFKA
DIRECTED BY MATTHEW LUTTON
MERLYN THEATRE
AUGUST 13 – SEPTEMBER 4
 
Josef K (Ewen Leslie) is not having a good day. On the morning of his thirtieth birthday he awakes to find himself under arrest. For what, he cannot tell. By whom, he’s unsure.
He’s allowed to go about his daily business but soon finds the entire world in which he travels has been infected with this bizarre implication of guilt, and the more he struggles the more he becomes wound up in ludicrous scenarios. An amorous neighbour, a porn-peddling washer-woman and a court-room with all the order of a barnyard seem to tempt him to madness, but throughout it all K maintains the stoic front of a man for whom it will all make sense in the end. The joke, of course, is on him.
An absurdist provocation on the bleakness of life in a modern world, this sartorial take of one of the classics of 20 century literature invites us into the heady maze of intrigue and desire. This major national production reunites Matthew Lutton and Louise Fox
 
MALTHOUSE THEATRE PRESENTS
THE HAYLOFT PROJECT
THYESTES
CO-WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY SIMON STONE
AFTER SENECA
CO-WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY THOMAS HENNING, CHRIS RYAN AND MARK WINTER
TOWER THEATRE
SEPTEMBER 16 – OCTOBER 3
 
Revenge is a dish best served cold…
Hot on the heels of the creative and popular success of The Black Lung’s Avast I & II and My Darling Patricia’s Africa, Malthouse Theatre is delighted to announce that in 2010 our Company in Residence will be The Hayloft Project. Led by director Simon Stone, this dynamic company are fast gaining notoriety as Australia’s most startling and prolific new theatre-makers.
On the Tower Theatre’s menu is the most barbarous and bloody of any Greek legend: the tale of Thyestes, the deposed king whose sons were slaughtered and served as a feast to their own unwitting father. Seneca’s play is tragedy at its most violent and melodramatic… no exploration of moral dilemma, no surprising plot twists, no salvation. Instead we are witness to a cursed and endless cycle of violence, with little faith that gods invoked by Thyestes will right this terrible wrong.
 
MALTHOUSE THEATRE AND MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL PRESENT
RANTERS THEATRE’S
INTIMACY
DEVISED & DIRECTED BY ADRIANO CORTESE
TEXT BY RAIMONDO CORTESE
BECKETT THEATRE
OCTOBER 1 – OCTOBER 23
 
Following their seduction of Malthouse Theatre audiences in 2008 with the mesmerising Holiday, Melbourne-based ensemble company Ranters Theatre return to our stage with the world premiere of Intimacy.
Late one night on a street in St Kilda a man steps out of his apartment with the sole aim of conversing with strangers. He wonders what of our innermost needs and desires might be revealed by his questions. Those willing to engage are invited to join him on a night of conversations, and from this premise, Ranters Theatre’s new production cunningly strip back both notions of theatricality and how we connect with others. Here we peek into supposedly simple conversations: a chat between unknowns, a meeting of elements that otherwise would not collide.
 
MALTHOUSE THEATRE PRESENTS
THE ANIMALS AND CHILDREN
TOOK TO THE STREETS
CREATED & PERFORMED BY 1927
BECKETT THEATRE
NOVEMBER 9 – NOVEMBER 28
 
Returning to the Malthouse Theatre after their sell-out season of the visually stunning Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea in 2008, one of UK’s most innovative theatre companies 1927 return with an even more twisted adventure, The Animals and Children Took to the Streets.
Crackling with the macabre, this ingenious collage of silent film, white painted faces, music hall song, fairy tales and cabaret takes us into a dystopian metropolis. Here is a brave new world populated by shady characters and objects that aren’t quite what they seem…and it’s all under threat from a Beast on the loose.
 
MALTHOUSE THEATRE PRESENTS
A WOMAN IN BERLIN
ADAPTED & DIRECTED BY JANICE MULLER
CO-ADAPTED & PERFORMED BY MEREDITH PENMAN
TOWER THEATRE
NOVEMBER 16 – NOVEMBER 28
 
Ten days before Hitler’s suicide, an unnamed woman holed up in a Berlin air raid shelter starts a diary. Her two exercise books and a clothbound notebook form one of the most shocking and powerful accounts of women in war-time. Unflinchingly, she recounts the fate she shares with the women around her not just in terms of the hunger, cold and desperation, but the ever-present threat of the victors: “being conquered means having salt rubbed in your wounds.”
 
MALTHOUSE THEATRE PRESENTS
THE TELL-TALE HEART
ADAPTED AND DIRECTED BY BARRIE KOSKY AFTER EDGAR ALLAN POE PERFORMED BY MARTIN NIEDERMAIR AND MICHAEL KIERAN HARVEY
MERLYN THEATRE
NOVEMBER 19 – DECEMBER 2
 
From the “Master of Horror”, via Australia’s own theatre terror Barrie Kosky, comes a tale of suspense, murder, and madness that has played to sell-out houses at the 2009 Sydney Festival, 2008 Edinburgh International Festival and its original presentation at Malthouse Theatre in 2007 for the Melbourne International Arts Festival. Having been besieged to bring this production back ever since, we’re delighted to present this return season as the final production for Michael Kantor’s artistic programming for Malthouse Theatre.
 
I’ll leave you to work out which are the five shows where you’ll need to be on the lookout for a madman kicking and screaming his way to the front of the queue….
 
Information on individual shows has been taken directly from Malthouse Theatre’s Media Department. Many thanks to the kind people there for their assistance.
 
If you would like more information on these productions it can be found at www.malthousetheatre.com.au
 
Enjoy the show!
 
 

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