BOBBY DARIN AND THINGS (like a walk in the park)

Bobby Darin sacrificed himself to entertain us. Public adulation gave him life through one vein as much as it took from another. Once you’ve awakened that sleeping beast it can never be conquered – only lived with until that fateful day when your body becomes still from the exhaustion of hanging on too long.

Bobby now sits at a table with Hank Williams and they discuss loneliness and lost highways that bring you to nowhere. Oh Father where is art in thou heaven?  And why did you allow us to break our backs working in the fields only to have our crops contaminated by the ignorance of others?

Strike me down for uttering the truth.

Strike me down with the pain of living it.

Strike me down with the regret that I could’ve made a difference if only I’d wandered from your path.

Strike me down if you think it may help someone.

(c) Frank Howson 2016

Our Ladies Of Perpetual Succour

Our Ladies Of Perpetual Succour, presented by National Theatre of Scotland and Live Theatre is most certainly a show for those that love their humor dirty and their characters loud. It’s a dazzling affair that tells the story of six young girls coming of age . The work is based on The Sopranos, adapted by Lee Hall from the words on Alan Warner and as an adaption it is mostly successful.  However, in wanting to create a performance resonate of the times  it perhaps does not overcome all challenges. In fact, the characters here may of been fresh fodder for audience say ten years ago, but having being presented with the same stereotypes in so many works not just restricted to stage, but perhaps more prevalently in movies as example, there is little that breathes fresh life.

Let talk about the works merit, it is indeed humorous, with each of the characters endearing  themselves to the audience in their own particular way, it’s with sheer delight you watch as they turn from the most sickly of sweet schools girl to sex obsessed rampant loud mouthed teenagers in the blink of an eye. Director Vicky Featherstone, has made from this performance, a tightly wound coil, that pensively unravels. The sense of dual identity associated with each of these characters as they slip between scenes is also impressive. It takes the loose shape of some rollicking musical, with each of the performers taking to the score with more than enough youthful bravado; from choral numbers to those songs with a bit more kick the musicality is on point. The Band, led by Laura Bangay and joined by Becky Brass and Emily Linden, know this work inherently and it shows, the trio support the ensemble as a whole, though more could of been done to involve and in turn unify the cast, too often the band felt like an unnecessary addition instead of an element that should do more than just accompany.

Our Ladies Of Perpetual Succour works with lighting intelligently, subtle changes of color allow the underling emotion to be drawn out. On the other end of the spectrum, the  performance works with the most grotesque and colorful of disco lights to best ability, emanating the sad and faded interior of bars that are well past their hay days. Set design by Chloe Lamford, makes the most of the small space, and has kept within a limited colour palate that extends right the way through this production.

This is quality theatre, though perhaps made all the better if you are able to look past the somewhat tired narrative and characters that the work is built around. It’s indeed poignant, in your face and unapologetic and worthy of a look, it’s playing at The Arts Centre, Fair Fax Studio until October 22nd, for more info click here

 

 

From Shakespeare in Hindi to tackling human trafficking: the best of OzAsia festival

One of the best offerings from this year’s OzAsia festival was Vertigo 20

Sometimes the weather simply won’t cooperate. Between a state-wide blackout, monsoonal rain, and the worst winds ever, Adelaide’s OzAsia Festival, which finished on Sunday, faced a bumpy ride in its tenth anniversary year.

For some, this meant missing out on Japanese choreographer Hiroaki Umeda’s pixelated video storm in Split Flow and Holistic Strata, cancelled amid actual howling gales and pelting rain.

Yet despite the meteorological conditions, the festival was a convincing celebration of the vitality of an Asia of which Australia is increasingly a part.

For us, six performance works stood out for their bold placement of the body centre-stage: Softmachine Rianto, an Indonesian-Singaporean dance and video collaboration; Skin, a challenging work from Malaysia on human trafficking; Cambodia’s Phare Circus, in which performers perform the seemingly impossible; As If To Nothing, a Hong Kong dance piece on the mutability of memory; Twelfth Night, a Hindi version of Shakespeare’s beguiling gender comedy; and , an astounding blend of previous work by Israeli choreographer, Noa Werthheim.

Softmachine Rianto
Softmachine Rianto.

Softmachine Rianto, directed by Singaporean Choi Fa Kai, features the kinesthetically brilliant and versatile Indonesian dancer Rianto. Each of Rianto’s dance sequences was followed by a self-revelation, conveyed through direct address to the audience and snippets from Choi’s documentary on the dancer.

Rianto entered the stage wearing the refined female facemask used in Javanese topeng, enacting the dance of a princess pining for her lover. At first the point seemed to be just seeing a strongly gendered female role danced by a man with such precision. Yet successive segments asked us to question how gender is presented both onstage and in real life.

We saw Rianto, variously, as a sexy woman in a popular Javanese dance form, a brilliant contemporary dancer, and a male dancing sensually for an audience of men. Along the way, we learnt that he works in Japan, is married to a Japanese woman, and lives a life as complex and fluid as his dancing suggests.


Skin

Skin.

Skin, by the Malaysian collective Terryandthecruz, placed the audience in the stage work itself. Malaysia, currently home to more than 90,000 refugees, is a significant destination and transit point for human trafficking in the region. Rather than showing us “the plight of the refugees” and seeking a “sympathetic” response, the show put us in the skins of those being processed at the hands of strangers.

Patrons assembled at a pre-arranged point and filled out forms that ominously released the producers from any liability, and asked participants, now in the role of refugees, to assess their looks, intelligence, tax contributions, and willingness to learn the Malaysian language.

All personal effects were surrendered before we reassembled in another building to be interrogated individually, then arbitrarily placed into two groups and prohibited from speaking. One group was singled out for harsher punishment and provided with yellow blindfolds. A single individual was escorted from the building wearing a red blindfold.

Both the yellow and favoured “green” groups were led into a shipping container, and faced a large opening. The wall of an adjacent container then opened, revealing a stark, white tiled room. Three dancers presented abstract, yet emotionally resonant images of bodies experiencing privation, abuse, and pain. The container filled with bodies, sometimes swallowing up the solo dancers, pulling them back into the undertow, appearing to devour them.

Further details are best not revealed here, as Skin is likely to tour round Australia next year. Though it exposed us to the experience of human trafficking in ways some might find confronting, the audience debriefed in a safe space before returning to the “real world.”


Phare Circus

Phare Circus.

The exuberant and gravity-defying antics of Cambodia’s Phare Circus, presented in the Festival’s pop-up Ukiyo Tent, provided a welcome counterpoint to Skin’s provocations.

Drawn from graduates of Cambodia’s Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus School, the company are among the first generation of circus performers to emerge following the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime and the near-total extermination of the country’s artists. Phare is a success story, with a permanent home in Seam Reap and road companies touring internationally.

This tight, conceptually integrated, spare production featured eight performers, two musicians, and a visual artist who created three works on canvas while surrounded by a riot of rhythm and movement.

The performance is heavy on human pyramids, tumbling, and death-defying balancing acts held together by a percussive musical score, playful interaction with the audience, and clowning. It was a reminder that the trained human body is an amazing machine, capable of communicating across cultures by the simple act of moving.


As If To Nothing

As If To Nothing.

Similarly dynamic was City Contemporary Dance Company’s As If To Nothing, by choreographer Sang Jijia. Searching for the right phrase to describe this production – because what’s art without a label? – we settled on “neo-Modernist”.

It still isn’t right, but it conveys something of the moral seriousness and skill of this contemporary dance masterpiece, which banished superficial cleverness and self-reference to the rubbish bin. A large, white fabric cube in which a cross-section of interior white wall and a corner window were wheeled around from position to position, provided the only set design.

The company of a dozen dancers were relentlessly energetic and precise. Rarely has visual projection, which hogs the eye in live performance, been used so well. In part it was because the images repeated the dancers’ movements, working as visual amplification but always returning us to the true locus of attention – the bodies of the men and women wrapping and warping around the space.

The floor was a smooth white, and the actors wore socks. This choreography was a glissando, and the control required for a high-energy show was considerable.
Yet, as with Softmachine Rianto, bravura display was not the point. Instead, in true Modernist spirit, what came across is a sincere exploration of emotional depth: attraction, relation, sex, anxiety, need, the madness that lurks beneath the surface of everyday life. The show had the courage to end on a downbeat note, confirming the integrity of vision that ran throughout.


Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night.

Twelfth Night by the Theatre Company Mumbai, in the loosest but truest of Shakespearean adaptations, was an anarchic ride into inter-cultural mayhem. We saw it at a schools’ matinee, and the match between the Bollywood energy of the cast and the expressive bent of the audience (to be polite) was perfect.

In a blend of Hindi and English – there are subtitles but one barely needs to glance at them – the show rollicked through the classic oh-my-God-I-thought-you-were-a-bloke-yet-I-found-myself-strangely-attracted-to-you-anyway fable using a mixture of slapstick, song and dance, infectious audience interaction and lots and lots of colour.

Most of Twelfth Night’s plot was paraphrased, transposed, or satirised by actors who stayed on stage throughout, sitting at the back and regularly erupting like a rowdy family. Each one has unique skills: this one a dancer, that one a singer, that one a comedian. Yet all of them were all of these things too, which made the production even better.

The show had its moments of calm and emotional stillness, and they were beautifully effective. The last song of “eternal spiritual search” was one example, which off-set the high-fives energy to communicate the deep humanity of Shakespeare’s original.


Vertigo 20


Vertigo 20.

Vertigo 20 by Vertigo Dance Company is described in its program blurb as a “weav[ing] together [of] twenty years of Vertigo Dance Company’s creations”, which under-states the brilliance of a piece that not so much defied expectations as inhabited a liminal zone permanently outside them. This is only partly a metaphor.

A company of 11 dancers moved in a low-walled grey-shadowed rectangular space with ledges jutting out at waist and shoulder height. The choreography had the assured precision of a dream whose meaning lies just beyond conscious grasp. Patterns constantly asserted themselves yet, just as they appeared to solidify, transformed into other patterns. A group of men became, suddenly, a group of women (how?) A group became a pair; a pair became a line; a line became a cluster.

The basis of the work was the fractal, and the dance overall was a sort of human Mandelbrot set, waves of movements cresting and transforming in the blink of an eye into other movements. There were no beginnings or ends, just a single stream of physical adjustment – falling, leaping, swaying – in sequences that were an uncategorisable blend of the mechanical and the organic.

This show was definitely not a “best of” from past works. This was Noa Wertheim and her dancers actively engaging the act of memory. The piece had the cognitive immediacy of a firing synapse. At the end, we wanted to see it all over again.


The festival sported a wide variety of satellite activities. Anchoring them was the Good Fortune Market, a groovy mini-precinct created on the banks of the River Torrens. On offer were everything from the hipster fusion sounds of Hong Kong band SIU2 and the retro-psychedelic funk of the Cambodian Space Project, to Japanese okonomiyaki (pan fried batter and cabbage), possibly the world’s most comforting comfort food.

As the OzAsia Festival enters its second decade, both the Asian region and Australia’s relationship with it have changed. No longer can the festival be seen by anyone as a showcase for ethnic exotica and performance heritage.

In creativity, accessibility, skill and daring, the productions on offer embodied an energy and imagination comparable to, and at times exceeding, anything prestigious European-focused international festivals might present. This is to be welcomed. Far from losing itself in a sea of globalised mediocrity, the best of live performance from Asia retains an indefeasible identity while responding to cultural influences from all over the world.

This review was co-written by:
Julian Meyrick
[Professor of Creative Arts, Flinders University] and
William Peterson
[Senior Lecturer in Drama, Flinders University]

Rock Punk Tequila Mockingbyrd Band – Live MEMO St.Kilda

The Tequila Mockingbird Band ... Josie, Estelle and Jess

A very pleasant time spent upstairs at the Market Hotel in South Melbourne with the three members of Tequila Mockingbyrd – rock band.

The very inspiring and talented group – Josie, Estelle and Jess – the PR blurb says it all with words, here they are with their words.

The interview is here:

Sound created.
There is music through the trees,
On the wind
Cracking of a fire,
Paddock of grass in the wind,
Splashing and trickling and crashing of water

Sound can be interpreted by a ‘hearer’ or a ‘seer’

It’s accessible to us all …
Wind, water, fire, air and earth …
And with a loving heart – sound is created from inertia and air

Interview, Poem and pic Blain Crellin

 

Tequila Mockingbyrd – ‘Flocking off’ Farewell gig – Sat 10  SEP 6pm at MEMO Music  Hall – with six killer bands
THE MERCY KILLS,  THE DARK HORSES (FEAT. DELLACOMA RIO), SISTERS DOLL, BUSY KINGDOM, ABLAZE, THE DEAD AMIGOS

After three fabulous years including an EP launch, countless tours, an adventure to the Middle East, an album launch bonanza TEQUILA MOCKINGBYRD are departing Australian soil for a twenty five date “Aussie Wrecking Crew” tour across Europe and the UK with fellow Aussie rockers Massive and The Black Aces, before settling in the UK for an indefinite period, where they’ll be touring and playing a few winter festivals including Hard Rock Hell.

Of course they can’t leave Australia without throwing an almighty T-Byrds-style leaving bash to celebrate and thank all their friends, families and everyone who has supported them over the years. They have invited SIX of their very favourite Melbourne bands to join them for this knees up. Cor Blimey!!

Gig info: Sat 10 September

Doors Open 5.30pm, Showtime 6.00-11.30pm (with Intermission)
General Admin: $15.00 +bf  wwww.memomusichall.com.au
At the

Door: $18.00 (if still available)

MEMO Music Hall – 80 Acland Street St Kilda ( entry via Albert Street)

* Debut single “I Smell Rock n Roll” named Team Rock “Track of the Week” and added to Planet Rock A-list
* Debut album “Fight and Flight” reached no. 10 in Australian AIR charts, due for international release late 2016
* Relocating to UK in September 2016
* 40+ date tour of UK/Europe scheduled Sept-Dec, including Hard Rock Hell and Planet Rock Stock

No lemon. No salt. No chaser. Melbourne’s Tequila Mockingbyrd are a shot of straight up rock n roll packing a high energy punch that will hit you from the first explosion of sound until long into the after-party. Comprised of Estelle Artois (Lead Vocals, Guitar), Jess Reily (Bass, Backing Vocals) and Josie O’Toole (Drums, Backing Vocals) the band are rapidly becoming known for their explosive live shows and punk rock sound. With an arsenal of catchy riffs and memorable choruses, Tequila Mockingbyrd pump out party anthems like ‘Good Time’ and their disco-punk ode to Melbourne’s iconic Esplanade Hotel ‘Never Go Home’, then rip into bottom-heavy stomping tracks such as ‘I Smell Rock n Roll’ and ‘Everyone Down’.
Since their inception in 2012, the trio has toured Australia multiple times and earned killer support slots with international acts such as Cherie Currie of The Runaways and punk icon Richie Ramone whose management hand‐picked the girls for the slot having heard their cover of The Ramone’s classic “Somebody Put Something in my Drink”.
At the end of 2015 the T‐Byrds spread their wings internationally for the first time, having the honour of visiting The Middle East on a Government-sponsored “Tour of Duty” to entertain the troops – see video here.

Their debut album “Fight and Flight” was released on 20th May 2016 in Australia/NZ and debuted at No. 10 in the Australian AIR Charts. Debut single (and fragrance!) “I Smell Rock n Roll” was named Team Rock “Track of the Week” and earned the trio A-list airplay on the UK’s biggest rock station Planet Rock radio. It also scored the girls a coveted live studio performance on Australia’s leading commercial rock station Triple M. The album is scheduled for release internationally late 2016 to coincide with the trio’s relocation to the UK in September, kicking off with a 40+ date tour across the UK and Europe including appearances at Hard Rock Hell and Planet Rock Stock. Look out world; these Byrds cannot be caged!

“That is incredible; those girls are so talented… what a voice… I love it!” ‐ Lzzy Hale, Halestorm

“Feisty as fuck and hugely entertaining” – Classic Rock Magazine, UK

“This is just fantastic” ‐ Darren Redick, Planet Rock Radio

Thanks to TR PR
Tracy Routledge

Extinction

By Hannie Rayson

A Red Stitch Actors Theatre production

Extinction is a timely and intelligent new Australian play by Helpmann award winning playwright and screenwriter Hannie Rayson (Hotel Sorrento, Life After George), directed by acclaimed film director and producer Nadia Tass (Malcolm, Matching Jack, Digraced). It delves deep into the heart of our own morals, choices and tightly-held convictions. Extinction wraps an important conservation message around a unique and personal human story. What would you choose?

The tiger quoll once ruled the dense Otway forest but is now almost extinct. A wild, rainy night, a twist of fate and an injured tiger quoll bring together a passionate environmentalist and an unlikely Good Samaritan. Both are hell-bent on saving the species, but intentions are murky. What will be compromised in the quest to save the quoll? Nothing is black and white in this intriguing story about love, sex, money and power played out under the shadow of global warming.

WHEN

Thursday 11 August (Term 3)

Time: 12pm

Duration: 2 hours, including 20 minute interval + Q&A

PRICE RANGE

$16

SUITABILITY
Years 10 – 12
VENUE
Fairfax Studio

Credits

Director Nadia Tass
Set Designer Shaun Gurton
Cast includes: Colin Lane, Brett Cousins, Ngaire Dawn Fair

Geelong Performing Arts Centre logoRed Stitch Actors TheatreThe Robert Salzer FoundationCity of Greater GeelongCreative VictoriaAustralia Council for the Arts

In Conversation with Michele Williams

Penned by American playwright Edward Albee, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a universally beloved drama of broken dreams and marital breakdown whose message resounds as forcefully as it did upon its feted premiere in 1962, before it was immortalised in the 1966 film adaptation starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Said Albee, “People often get it wrong. They think it’s a play about people who hate each other. It’s not. It’s a play about people who love each other.” Directed by veteran Denis Moore, Melbourne’s acclaimed independent Winterfall Theatre present a loyal adaptation of the play, with a talented ensemble cast featuring Chris Connelly, Winterfall co-founder Michele Williams, Jordan Fraser-Trumble and Cassandra Magrath (Wolf Creek / SeaChange) starring as Albee’s two famous couples, George and Martha, and Nick and Honey. Writer Jessi Lewis caught up with Michele Williams, Winterfall Theatre co-founder and cast member, talk about this famed worked ahead of the company staging this ambitious production

Talk to us about the process of gaining the rights to this work.    

My understanding is that Edward Albee personally decides who can obtain the professional rights for this show. Therefore, it took longer than usual for the rights to be obtained. Obviously, he’s a very busy man and I am simply honoured that he elected to offer the rights to our theatre company. The process was fairly detailed, and an understanding of our approach and ideas was requested. I would presume that Winterfall Theatre Company’s past record was also viewed – if not by Mr. Albee himself; then at least by his primary agent in America. I think that having a good track record and a history of great reviews for previous productions might have helped us. 

Why present this work, what draws you to it,

This play is brilliantly written. It’s really as simple as that. It is a masterpiece. When you’re an actor you want to work on the best material. It’s harder in that the demands of the language are enormous. However, it is also very rewarding, because if you do what’s written on the page, it works. I guess it would be the same as a musician wanting to play the music of any great composer. I was also drawn to the themes and the way Edward Albee’s mind works. This material is also extremely funny, which is something I didn’t realise until we put it in front of our first preview audiences. It really is a mix of the sublime and the ridiculous. 

Are any themes or concepts found in this work, that you feel are universal or perhaps still “current” in terms of today’s society?

This play is as relevant to today’s society as it was when it was first performed (in 1962). It will  never be “dated” as all the themes that are explored are universal and ever present in humanity. There is what appears to be a criticism of the 1950’s “all American dream” (which was/is not unlike the “all Australian) dream. However, the play goes much deeper than that. Albee could just as easily be asking us to look at all the things we delude ourselves about today, as much as he was asking that of his audience in 1962 (When the play first came out). Then, there was an idea of what constituted a perfect family. That concept might have changed, but the play could just as easily be challenging us about how we present “dreams” today. I think the themes are incredibly relevant to the internet generation. The play is all about truth and illusion and the way in which people engage in denial. Denial is a very powerful tool, and just about everyone engages in it at some time in their lives. Most people have chosen to see what they want to see, promote only what they want others to see – at some point in their lives. Ironically, although George and Martha appear to have a savage marriage, this is also a play about love. In the end, it’s a play about a group of people who love each other enough to rip through all the smoke and mirrors of their various lives. That takes enormous courage – to actually care enough about another person that you’re willing to risk everything to show them what is really going on, as opposed to what they might like you to see. What begins as a superficial night with a middle aged couple and a couple in their late 20’s, turns into a powerful transformation for all four characters. Each of them comes away with a greater sense of the truth of what is really going on in their lives. 

What can we expect from the work, how have you imagined the performance?
 

One can expect to be challenged and also entertained from the work. I “imagined” the performance by getting a director! I think it’s the director who really “imagines” the performance in theatre. We have a great director, whose name is Denis Moore. He’s very experienced and has directed (and acted) for many years, and for many large, major theatre companies, as well as independent ones like Winterfall Theatre Company. This is not a play that I personally think an inexperienced director could handle, so I sought out someone who is a veteran. I did “imagine” the play in the sense that I (along with Denis) talked about how it ought to be cast, and gave ideas regarding the casting. 

Talk to us about the cast, what have they bought to the development period, and in turn what dynamic do these individuals bring to the performance?

I’d been told since my drama school days that I should play Martha when I became the right age. Of course, back then, (in my 20’s) I thought that I’d never be old enough to play Martha. Well, I knew I would be some day, but it seemed like a very long way off. It’s amazing how time flies; that’s probably another theme that is in the play. It looks at how different generations approach things in their lives. I also wanted to act this role with my fellow actor, Chris Connelly, who is playing husband George. I’ve acted with Chris before and he’s a brilliant actor. He totally transforms into George – a bogged down academic with a sardonic wit. Chris has a long career in theatre, film and TV and is very experienced and really is the glue that bonds us all. In rehearsals, he was the one who always knew how to keep the story going, even when we were all very off-track with our lines! He just knows how to keep going, regardless of what occurs!  

I also love the work of fellow actor, Cassandra Magrath; someone I’ve known since she was ten years old. She is well known through her work TV and film, which includes playing a major character in all the “Sea Change” series, and the lead in the acclaimed Australian film “Wolf Creek”. She brings great comic relief in the role of Honey, who deals with life by gargling brandy. That’s not to say she’s just a light weight character, because she is also quite tragic, and Cassandra has the necessary acting attributes to make this balance work.

Jordan Fraser-Trumble  plays the role of Nick, who is married to Honey. Jordan has done several plays with Red Stitch Theatre, amongst others.  Jordan is great in this role, which also has the demand of balancing a young man (in the character of Nick), who is egotistical and cut-throat on one level, yet incredibly sensitive and kind in other respects.

Not all actors can manage this mix of characteristics in complex, multi-layered characters such as these. However, all of the cast, in my opinion, have this ability. It’s also what makes Albee one of the greats. He understands that most of us are a multifaceted mix of selfishness and selflessness; that there are very few true psychopaths or true saints or sages in the world. These characters are real people with real mixes of loving and self-centred attributes. They are trying to survive as best they can, often comforting each other the way one wounded animal might comfort another wounded animal. That’s the way I see all four characters. They’re all trapped in something they don’t really understand, and somehow manage to assist one another with coming to terms with the truth. 

Do you feel its important to re-stage such classic works, and if so, why?

The answer is really in the question. “Classic” works are always important. What makes something a “classic” is that its themes are timeless. As long as human beings live on this earth, they will always be dealing with truth and illusion. They will always be dealing with how the rest of the world views them, and how they view themselves. They will always be dealing with the fact that they are getting older. They will always be wondering if they’ve met society’s expectations etc… I love new theatre works and believe that there should be a lot more funding for new, Australian plays. At the same time, all new playwrights and actors will never stop learning from the greats, of which Edward Albee is one. I can’t claim to understand what goes on in Edward Albee’s mind, but his capacity for seeing things as they are is extreme, and his ability to execute his perceptions on paper is truly masterful. He’s a wordsmith. What else can I really say?

This is truly a brilliant play, and I think it will be performed over time, as Shakespeare has been performed over time. When a writer is able to truly capture what it is to be human, then I think that every generation is going to be drawn to their work. We’ve done some previews to high school kids (who are studying this play as part of their VCE in literature). These kids are 15-18 years of age and they have completely “got” this play. They’ve been fantastic audiences; responding to all the nuances, and getting a lot of the humour that is inherent in the play. When you do a play that is three hours long, and manage to engage the minds of today’s teenagers, (who are accused of having short attention spans), then you know you’re doing something right. I think Edward Albee understands all ages and stages of life and this play is a real gem for anyone aged 15 and upwards. 

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? plays Blackbox Theatre, Preshil Senior Campus  26 Sackville St, Kew until July 10th, book you tickets here

THE HONEY BEES

RS_WebLogo_15yrs

Hello,

I’m sitting in the rehearsal room, quite early, waiting for the actors to arrive. It’s a chilly Melbourne morning outside but to me, the room is already humming with the atmosphere and landscape of a family apiary in Darradup, Western Australia.
Directing THE HONEY BEES by Caleb Lewis is a wonderful, joyful challenge. It also kind of breaks your heart on days like yesterday when we dug into some of the final scenes on the farm.
Caleb captivates us with both the personal and the universal, simultaneously. To bring a new play of such scope to the stage for the first time is a gift, and the terrific cast and I are relishing each day of the process. The Honey Bees asks big, urgent and difficult questions. It is full of heart and humour. We can’t wait to share it with you.
See you at the theatre,
Ella
Artistic Director
  
by Caleb Lewis
Directed by Ella Caldwell
14 June – 16 July
WORLD PREMIERE
Developed through INK
With Eva Seymour, Christopher Brown, Rebecca Bower, 
Marta Kaczmarek & Katerina Kotsonis
Rehearsal shots the honey bees
Director Ella Caldwell in rehearsals with Christopher Brown as Daryl
Photography by Playdate Media
 
As the world’s honey bees disappear, a family-owned apiary struggles to keep up with overseas demand. Driven by matriarch Joan’s iron will, the business continues to grow. And then Melissa arrives from out of the blue.
The Honey Bees is a tale of family and empire; action and consequences; and what happens when the bee finally stings.
THE HONEY BEES
By Caleb Lewis
Directed by Ella Caldwell
Production Dramaturg Tom Healey
Set & Costume Design Sophie Woodward
Lighting Design Daniel Anderson
Composition & Sound Design Daniel Nixon
Stage Manager Hannah Bullen
Assistant Stage Manager Maddie Lyman

RAY’S LAST STAND

Ray Macky sat at a table for one. He was used to it by now. It wasn’t like the old days. In those days it had been tables for two, or four or twenty-four. He’d been wildly popular in his younger days. In those times he thought it’d been due to his personal charm but now looking back from the cruel vantage point of having lived too long he saw it for what it was – he’d had success and that’d brought truck loads of money in its wake. He must’ve wined and dined every opportunist in town and even married some of them. He’d enjoyed the crème de la crème of the beautiful and sexy who were, at their hearts, the very worst of humanity. Had he learned anything from all this? No. Zip. He still melted inside when a pretty one smiled at him. These days they smiled at him out of pity – he seemed like a kindly old harmless fool instead of a wealthy one. It seems the last faculty to die is one’s stupidity. Each marriage had grown shorter and the settlements larger until there was nothing left. Ray, in his few honest discussions with himself, lamented the small deaths that led up to the big one. The death of his trust; the death of his respect; the death of his generousity; the death of his health; the death of his longing; the death of his libido; the death of his caring.

Sometimes on a summer’s night at an outside table for one, surrounded by young couples in love, he held on momentarily to the conceit that on one such night a beautiful, kind, understanding woman would notice him and walk into what was left of his life and everything leading up to this would suddenly make sense. But he was also smart enough by now to know that this was only the dream of an old man who needed something to clasp onto to bring sleep each night.

Ray liked to walk home from his favourite restaurants on such nights although friends had warned him it was no longer safe to do so at his age. It was a different time and now young boys roamed the streets filled with enough anger to pleasure themselves by bringing down the vulnerable. As if life hadn’t hurt them all enough.

On these late night walks home Ray would try and remember the sound of his parents’ voices and it’d comfort him. Step by step back into the past until he was a young lad again. Back to a time when he was loved…no…treasured, and the future was so filled with options and adventure that he couldn’t wait to be older. Where did it all go, he wondered. Was he so busy running to and from things that he forgot to savour the pleasure of each moment? Or did he enjoy them so much that time accelerated? Whichever scenario, the result was the same – he was now weary. Not just in body, but in spirit. And sad. Sad that he had had so much love to give and dissipated it on all the wrong people. The worst of them had damaged him for the best of them. In recent years he’d had the opportunity to have relationships with certain women but had always declined the offers or let them die on the vine from his lack of interest or follow through. All he knew was it felt good to finally have all the power. He could now no longer be seduced by a pretty face, a sexy body or a woman with a wicked mind. It gave him some satisfaction to see their surprised expressions when their games and charms no longer worked on him. Alas, they were too late. He had no more chips to bet.

His nightly walks also made him think of those that had gotten away. The ones he should’ve stayed with and the ones who broke his heart by leaving each time the money ran out. He’d had such rotten luck in love, although he wasn’t quite sure that some of the horrific scenes he’d endured should be classified under that sacred four letter word.

He wished he could go back in time and give his last wife the things that she’d needed that now seemed so clear but back then were unfathomable. What an idiot he was not to see. And now he was being punished for it. A life sentence. A dead man walking.

He wondered where his son was and what lies he must’ve been told to have distanced himself so much from a father that loved him more than life itself. But such things were too painful to think about if one was to keep going forward. He preferred to think of him as the young man who had worshipped his father. A dad who could do no wrong.

On his last nightly walk home, Ray Macky heard his son’s voice yell out to him from behind and he turned, smiling, his eyes suddenly filled with hope of a new beginning, or a miraculous renewal of what had once been the most loving of relationships. For a few moments Ray was taken aback at how much his son had changed. His face had grown hard and cruel in ways that he couldn’t quite grasp. And he was older than his years. Had he caused this damage to the one he had so loved?

Then he heard the suddenly unfamiliar voice demand money, “Give me your money, old man, or you’ll get this!”

Ray looked down to see a knife in the boy’s hand. Surely his son wouldn’t pull a knife on his own father? If he wanted money all his son had to do was ask and Ray would’ve given him anything. Ah, but then again, Ray no longer had anything. He was back in the here and now, and the cold realisation that he was of no longer any use to anyone.

“I only have twenty dollars in cash I’m afraid. But it’s yours, Tommy, take it, my boy. I can get you some more on Friday when my pension is in my account..”

“Tommy?…Who the fuck is Tommy you stupid old bastard?!”

“Tommy, don’t you recognise me? I’m your dad. I’ve never stopped loving you…”

Ray didn’t get to finish his sentence before the boy grabbed his wallet, thrust the knife into his stomach and ran from the stranger.

Ray fell to the footpath as a warm pool of blood formed around him. Lying there he wondered what he had done to make his son hate him so. Didn’t he know that life just got in the way sometimes and people had no control over where it led them?

Ray attempted a laugh that a monetary figure had finally been placed on his life and closed his eyes in peace that all debts were now paid.

Ray’s last thought was that he hoped the twenty dollars would be of some help to the boy.

(c) Frank Howson 2016

OWN

I’ve never understood you

But then again, I don’t understand me

I got caught up in a tide

That swept me out to sea

All I ever wanted

Was a place to call my own

To find my way home

But I always wake up here

On my own.

Words & Artwork (c) Frank Howson 2016

Theatre Works PLUS1 Fundraiser | 4 days and $3,000 to go!

Theatre Works PLUS1 Fundraiser | 4 days to go!

Dear Theatre Works Supporters

THANK YOU to all those who have donated to our PLUS1 fundraising campaign. We have been overwhelmed by the amount of support we have received by way of donations and new partnerships. But we still have $3,000 to go to hit our target by this Friday 13 May!

It’s not to late to join us as a Bridge Donor and receive a host of benefits, including access to our Directors Circle, invitations to exclusive events and your name in lights on our new honour board.

Donate before this Friday 13 May and every dollar you give will be matched by the federal government through Creative Partnerships Australia’s PLUS1 Program.

If you love what we do here at Theatre Works and the artists we present, be a part of our story >> CLICK HERE TO DONATE

BRIDGE DONOR BENEFITS

AMBASSADOR | $5,000 Double season pass, first look at our 2017 Artistic Program, early bird booking privileges and acknowledgement on our honour board and season program. Access to the Directors Circle ‘the rehearsal room experience’ hosted by Creative Director John Sheedy. Go behind the scenes and meet the artists over post-show supper and wine.

CHAMPION | $2,500 Four double passes to shows of your choice, exclusive events, first look at our 2017 Artistic Program, early bird booking privileges and acknowledgement on our honour board and season program.

GUARDIAN | $1,000 Invitations to exclusive events, first look at our 2017 Artistic Program, early bird booking privileges and acknowledgement on our honour board and season program.

ADVOCATE | $500 – $250 Invitations to exclusive events and acknowledgement on our honour board and season program.

SUPPORTER | $100 Your name in lights on our honour board and season program.

Theatre Works fundraising is supported by Creative Partnerships Australia through PLUS1.

Image: Dangerous Liaisons by Little Ones Theatre | 16-20 August at Theatre Works

Theatre Works
14 Acland Street St Kilda 3182

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