Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Announcements & Apologies

Hello again. Of late I have been inexcusably distracted from conributing to this troublesome but well meaning blog. To the half dozen or so of you out there who do check in every now and then, I apologise and hope to be a little more regular in 2008.

To start with, I am aiming to post a few thoughts on the theatre I saw in '07 in the next week or so.

What have I been up to? Much musical rehearsing with Baby Driver #2 - expect some performance dates in mid February.

Villanus took up much of my time last year, with some encouraging success. More to add later.

This minute, I am rehearsing Welcome Stranger's brand new production This Is Good Advice, opening January 30. I am acting (for the first time in quite a while) as well as tackling set design with Mr Mijic of Villanus. The show is a double bill of short plays by two of my favourite playwrights, Caryl Churchill and Martin Crimp. I am including the press release below for your viewing pleasure. You can also find more information as well as booking details on our fancy new website at www.welcomestranger.org . If you're interested in keeping up to date with Welcome Stranger's theatrical goings-on, please join our mailing list through the site.

The show has a lot of exciting elements - Lauren Barnes (fresh from the UK) directing, original music by Reuben Stanton from Because of Ghosts, two exciting playwrights, and a whole bunch of very talented performers including Michael Finney, Kristy Barnes-Cullen, Kim Swalwell, John Latham and Tania Lentini to name just a few.

We're kicking things off with a WS fundraiser on Wednesday 23rd - Melbourne bands Hot Little Hands and Sly Hats will be playing at Gertrude's in Fitzroy from 8pm, entry $8.

Hopefully this will be WS's biggest year yet. I hope to see you at the show...
More blogs to come - just bare with me.
Welcome Stranger presents
This is a Chair by Caryl Churchill
Advice to Iraqi Women by Martin Crimp (Aus. Premiere)
Directed by Lauren Barnes
Music by Reuben Stanton (Because of Ghosts)
Featuring Michael Finney (History Boys, MTC), Kristy Barnes-Cullen (Summer Heights High, ABC TV), Rhys Auteri, Raphael Hammond, John Latham, Tania Lentini, Vlad Mijic, Ben Mitchell, Harriet O'Donnell and Kim Swalwell
Dates: 30/1 – 10/2 Wed – Sun 8pm
Venue: New Ballroom, Trades Hall
(cnr Lygon & Victoria St)
Times: Wed – Sun 8pm
Tickets: $17 full, $12 concession
Bookings: 9782 2625 or http://www.welcomestranger.org/

MEDIA ENQUIRIES to Avi Lipski at avi.lipski [at] gmail [dot] com


The protection of children is a priority.
Your house is a potential war zone for a child: the corners of tables, chip pans, and the stairs – particularly the stairs – are all potential sources of harm.
A car, just like a home, just like an orchard, just like a zip, is a minefield for a child.
Don’t let your child burn. Even on a hazy day it might still burn.
- Advice to Iraqi Women, Martin Crimp

After the success of their 2007 season of Villanus (‘…a profoundly intriguing work’ RealTime), daring new theatre company Welcome Stranger returns to Trades Hall with a compelling double bill of short works. Along for the ride is Because of Ghosts’ Reuben Stanton (‘This is beautiful, rewarding stuff’ The Age) to create an unmissable night of theatre.

One of Caryl Churchill’s most stylistically challenging texts, This is a Chair defies the traditional boundaries of theatre. Churchill looks at the political through the eyes of the personal, awakening the audience to the deeply intimate nature of political tension. This is a Chair is a series of surreal scenarios, named after the political headline they seek to excavate; for example, the UK and China’s diplomatic position on Hong Kong is unpicked through an argument about fidelity between Tom and Leo. Churchill’s scenarios theatricalise French surrealist RenĂ© Magritte’s artistic conceit Ceci n'est pas une pipe (This is not a pipe), at once contradicting and demanding comparison to the reality they label.

The work is paired with Martin Crimp’s powerful and engaging Advice to Iraqi Women. A scathing satirical attack on modern society, Advice to Iraqi Women asks an important question: how can we begin to extol advice upon a society in which we have created terror and danger?

Who would worry about the UV rays in their backyard over the potential threat of their child dying in an ambushed bus? Advice to Iraqi Women is a short play of massive impact. More than an agit-prop comment on the Iraqi war, Crimp’s play is sharp satire of our own society.

Praise for This is A Chair
‘Churchill, who constantly reinvents dramatic form, has come up with something compelling and strange, an intimate revue about the increasing surreality of modern life.’ - The Guardian

Praise for Advice to Iraqi Women
‘… A perfect example of how resonance is achieved by indirection and metaphor.’ - Aleks Sierz, Performing Arts Journal

Welcome Stranger
Welcome Stranger have been quietly beavering away at theatre since their debut work The End of Civil Twilight drew acclaim in 2002. The work won the Development Award at the inaugural Malthouse Theatre 3D Fest, leading to a successful stand alone season. They followed this with two seasons of Martin Crimp’s Attempts on Her Life (2004) and an adaptation of an Ursula LeGuin story in Towards Omelas (2006). More recently, in 2007, they raised eyebrows and critics' pens with the self-devised work Villanus.
Praise for Welcome Stranger :
‘…well worth a look for anyone interested in the livelier edges of Melbourne theatre.’ - Alison Croggon, Theatre Notes

‘… this one-man show doesn’t so much explore evil as creep up on it from behind, dagger in hand.’ - Cameron Woodhead, The Age

‘…a profoundly intriguing work.’ - John Bailey, RealTime

‘[A] refreshing approach to staging and direction … excellent performances... An innovative production.’ - Stage Left