Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Express Myself

This will surely be a test of how many people actually read this blog (i have this horrible feeling it's just me).

I found myself quite frustrated in the last couple of days as I was struggling to find 'inspiration' whilst playing my guitar. I think this is partly due to the fact that I have been very creative and productive this last month, and I'm simply not happy that I'm having a slow week(!).
When I was very, very young (this will give you an idea of just how sad I am) a bored young but musically gifted Rhys would take old letters written by grandparents and compose melodies to the words - whatever they were ('my corns are getting woooorse'.)
In my teens I actually helped a couple of friends by turning their lines of poetry or lyrics into a song. I always found working with another persons words or ideas very helpful in leading me in new directions. Here, finally, is the point of this entry -
If you are interested in having your poetry or lyrics turned into a song by Rhys - please feel free to email them to rhysauteri [at] hotmail [dot] com. It doesn't have to be a poem, it could be a short story or true life experience you would like me to try and adapt. I'll pick the best two or three (or none if no one is interested) and make a song, and try and record it for this page (or alternatively perform it at an upcoming gig.

I hope this doesn't sound too much like me trying to get others to write lyrics for me! I actually think it's pretty cool that two people can collaborate on a song without meeting or possibly not even knowing each other. Anyway, let me know...

Thoughts on Don's Party

I attended this revisiting of one of David Williamson's earlier (and considered by many to be one of his best) about a week ago - primarily to understand the seemingly immense popularity of this playwright. The play has aged fairly well, considering, and much of the coarse language surprisingly retains its startling quality ('cunt features' was my personal favourite). It follows the events of the night of the 1969 election, where everything is looking up for Don and his fellow Labor Party would-be revolutionaries - until the inevitable happens and their spirits tumble. It is a revealing examination of the male psyche, the political mindset of those on both the left and right, as well as the subtle ways the 'big picture' can effect everyday people (and vice versa). In many ways it is still a relevant play, and a piece that deserves new examination.

That said, I am unsure as to what the MTC was hoping to achieve with this production. Peter Evans thwarted almost every opportunity to breathe life into this piece. The set was bright and colourful - almost stereotypically '70s. In any case, the layout was wasted as it sprawled out across the vacuous Playhouse stage - sucking the energy out of every exchange. Indeed, the pacing was laboriously slow and most of the comedy seemed to be focused on the paraphenalia, customs and fashions popular in the era - a move which unnecessarily devalued the human stories (and made the more cathartic moments in the second act seem awkward).

The performances were solid, particularly Mandy McElhinney - but were still often the presented as the broad characters Williamson has done to death in the past (it was as if each actor/character felt they needed their own particular 'quirk'). In this and many other ways it almost had the feeling of farce - but it should have been more than that (and it made for a pretty poorly paced farce at that).

From the knowing laughs, 'oohs' and 'aahs' of the audience (I shit you not) i got the feeling this was a production for everyone who fondly remembered the original to revisit it in a fairly accomodating form. This is a philosophy which does not serve the MTC well. In short: I was pretty bored.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The 2006 List

Hi everybody and happy new year!

I've been exceptionally lazy with this blog lately, but I've been busy rehearsing for a couple of gigs and getting excited about playing music again.

Anyway, I've been meaning to post a list of my favourite shows for '06 - so here goes. I was pretty busy this year finishing my honours in Performing Arts, as well as putting on my own show Towards Omelas, so there were many shows I missed that many others highly recommended. In particular, I didn't see anything from the VCA this year (a shame as I have really enjoyed their work over the last couple of years), and missed The Skriker which both Alison Croggin and Vlad Mijic adored. This is not a 'wrap' or commentary on the year - though I may do one next year, depending how much I am able to see.

Over all I had some great theatre experiences last year (although I must say I thought 2005 was an exceptionally rich year for Melbourne theatre.

Anyway - my top six plays for Oh Six:
1: Pichet Klunchun and Myself - Jerome Bel & Pichet Klunchun
(this was one of the best theatre experiences I've ever had - a beautifully engaging piece filled with humour and a quest for understanding)

2: Tragedia Endogonidia: BR.#04 Brussels - Societas Raffaello Sanzio

3: The Importance of Being Earnest / How To Be Funny - Ridiculusmus

4: Peepshow - Marie Brassard

5: Delicacy - Dir. Wesley Enoch

6: Mantalk - Neil Thomas & David Wells

Other shows I loved: Structure and Sadness (Lucy Guerin), Objects For Meditation (William Yang), Timepieces (Circa), La Douleur (Laurence Strangio), A Mile In Her Shadow (Store Room), Translations (Malthouse), The Telling (Masters students from Monash Uni), Headlock (Malthouse), Honour Bound (Malthouse).

Well, there you go. Feel free to agree/disagree/add your own thoughts. For a more complete wrap of the year's work, visit Theatre Notes or Chris Boyd's site (or Vlad's site - he is promising such a post!).

Here's to another great year of theatre.