Posts Tagged ‘Australian Actors Network

14
May
12

Wonderland, Gremlins & It Plays to Move

Anywhere Theatre Festival 2012

Saturday 12th May

Experienced by Kathryn Rose

Ever heard of a plane being piloted by a loaf of bread – with Gremlins as cabin crew?  Or a play being directed by someone who has never laid eyes on the script?  These are just a few of the bizarre circumstances you could find yourself in during the Anywhere Theatre Festival.

I first heard about this concept when my gorgeous boy, Matt, attended the TEDxBrisbane event in October last year.  He forwarded a recording of a presentation by Paul Osuch talking about the Anywhere Theatre Festival and its aims.

The main objective is to encourage, and provide opportunities for, more people to experience live performances in places other than the traditional theatre complex.  Artists pay to register their act and have it promoted on the Anywhere Theatre website, then get to pocket all the proceeds, thereby cutting out the middleman and hopefully channelling more remuneration to the actual performers.

Matt and I started our Anywhere Theatre experience on Saturday in Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall with Wonderland, a cirque-type act with a group of very talented young people. This free performance was very much appreciated by the large group of shoppers who stopped to have a look.

From there it was off to a very different venue in Auchenflower – the lounge room of Mark Theodossiou, an actor, producer and director from Australian Actors Network.  Due to circumstances beyond their control, Matt and I were the only audience members for that session.  But the show must go on (and we’d paid our $22!), so Mark and Michelle explained the concept of their performance.  We were offered the choice of four two-hander scripts and asked to choose the style and direction of delivery we wanted from our actors.  We had to nominate which actor would play each role and the emotion or motivational features we wanted from the characters.  We had a lot of fun watching Mark’s character, Linus, being besotted with the recorded voice on Linus’ mobile phone in Ma Belle. For the second selection I asked them to perform the play, Jammed, conventionally first then we mixed it up with some challenges for our capable actors. At the end, both actors said they really enjoyed my direction (I bet they say that to ALL the girls!).

After a leisurely dinner at Southbank, we continued our adventure and headed to a rather seedy part of Woolloongabba, where The Gremlins were performing.  The ‘venue’ was an enclosed area at the front of the Reverse Garbage warehouse, with a motley assortment of chairs arranged in rows.  We handed over our $12 each and collected our ‘boarding passes’ for the inaugural flight of the Gromlot family’s new budget airline. At 7pm we were all ushered into our barely-half-completed plane where our hosts proceeded to entertain us with pure escapist, joyful nonsense that had us rolling around laughing.  Because Matt had previously seen The Gremlins perform at Woodford, he had high expectations – and they definitely didn’t disappoint.

The Anywhere Theatre Festival is a wonderful mixture of random, artistic and highly-creative acts that is sure to catch on further around the world.  Let’s hope the Sunny Coast embraces this concept as well; the possibilities are endless!

Ed’s note: See the final performance of EPIPHANY by 2Muse Productions on Saturday 19th at 5pm at the Sunshine Coast School of Photography, Yandina.

Featuring Korean performance artists, well-known to Brisbane indie audiences, Younghee Park and Pak Hoyoung, with Mary Eggleston and seven young Sunshine Coast actors, this is a re-imagining of the production we saw last year. With funding to support the community development goals and the time to explore a few brand new plot points, it’s a very different show and well worth a (second) look. Incorporating effective AV elements (Sue Davis, Judy Barrass, Julia Dawson & James Muller), an evocative soundscape (Eggleston & Bruce Hamilton) and live musical accompaniment by popular Sunshine Coast entertainer, Simon Russell-Baker, EPIPHANY is a fine example of what an independent company can do with limited resources and limitless imagination, blurring the lines between training and entertaining and providing opportunities for young artists to develop their craft alongside professional performers without having to leave the beautiful Sunshine Coast!

EPIPHANY is a whimsical, magical, fantastical tale, which you’ll relate to if you’ve ever wished you could escape your current reality. Escape once more on Saturday 19th May. 

27
Mar
10

World Theatre Day

Happy World Theatre Day!

How are you celebrating?

What does theatre mean to you?

Of course, you might know that it is also Earth Hour tonight! We are deferring our candlelit conversation until after the show, which is – very artfully – dimly lit anyway, so we are doing our bit to conserve energy even as we perform.

We previewed La Ronde on Wednesday and opened on Thursday. Today, on World Theatre Day, the Sunshine Coast Daily has given us not one, not two but three stories! (That’s right! That is unheard of! And on Mooloolaba Triathlon Weekend!) It also seems that word of mouth continues to spread like wildfire. Thanks to the awesome power of social media marketing, this thing went viral a few weeks ago. Bookings have been strong and if you don’t want to miss out, you’ll make sure you see La Ronde in Noosa before April 3rd or in Mooloolaba on the 9th, 10th, 16th or 17th of April.

Interestingly, there is a lot of talk amongst the local artists at the moment about reciprocal networking and about supporting each other in this crazy industry. If networking is NOT reciprocal, how is it WORKING? Ah ha! I hear you! I know! It’s really hard to get to everything. There is so much good stuff happening and we are all busy doing our own thing. It’s incredibly frustrating. I hate missing anything. I am guilt-ridden. However, I am frequently impressed by the Facebook messages, status updates, comments, links, blogs and tweets, referring to ticket sales and the friends who are able to move heaven and Earth to make it to a show before closing night in order to show their support for their peers (and enjoy a great show)! So much for the poor, sleepy little country cousin Brisvegas and it’s even poorer, sleepier, half-cousin-twice-removed Sunshine Coast. It seems everybody I know is getting busy making theatre! KEEP MAKING IT, KEEP TALKING ABOUT IT, KEEP SUPPORTING IT AND PROMOTING IT. We will all get to as much as we possibly can. Promise.

Dame Judi Dench says, in her message for World Theatre Day 2010, that “theatre comes about through team work.” And so does the continuation of the growth and support of the industry, at any level. Well, we knew that. It’s just hard (because we may be time poor, energy poor and quite simply POOR) to commit to booking tix and just doing it. I know that “Break a leg” posted on your Facebook wall sometimes means disappointment because you realise THAT friend/fan/influential industry type is unable to attend your show…but it IS a show of support and it’s the least we can do in lieu of attendance sometimes.

The response from La Ronde attendees has, thus far, been overwhelmingly positive (*collective sigh of relief is heard across South-East Queensland*) Already, audiences have told us that they didn’t really know what to expect so in a way there were no surprises. And yet they were surprised and challenged to not only feel comfortable joining us for the journey, no matter what we threw at them but to consider the context and the truth in which each story was told. Actually, most audience members, at least for the film makers, have been unsure about how they really feel at the end of the show. It seems that some can’t just sum it up. Although we can safely assume that not everybody is ready for their close up upon leaving the theatre, we have seen many audience members stumble out of the theatre, completely lost for words and not even sure whether or not they are ready for a drink! Now, there’s no interval, remember; how can they NOT be ready for a drink?! The most common comment, along with those below, has been, “Oh. Um. I have to think about it. I have to see it again…”

Audience comments for camera and from the conversations with the cast have included:

That was fantastic!

I loved it but I hated that scene (everybody describes a different scene)…

I shuddered and I loved it.

The girls gave me shivers. So beautiful. So sad. Something made me remember…

This is the best show I’ve seen on this stage.

This is the best show I’ve seen on the Sunshine Coast.

That is how they do theatre in Europe.

Very European.

Delightful.

Original.

Intriguing.

Frightening, challenging, stunning theatre. I’ll be back to see it again.

I’ve booked again for next week. I want my friend to see this show.

Beautiful.

Sexy.

Brave.

So. I’m thrilled to be a part of this very clever production and I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing on World Theatre Day than performing and then live-tweeting the backstage antics and dressing room fun (last night it was stealing Easter eggs from under the stage manager’s nose).

What does theatre mean to me then? All of this and more! It may not be as eloquent as I intend it to be but you’re reading it in every post. That we can stage something that makes people uncertain about how they feel, especially about very specific controversial subjects, that we can explore the vastly different approaches to the way in which we present these taboo topics, that we can challenge our audiences to question and consider their own social mores and private habits and they enjoy it and that the process by which we have reached this point continues, allowing us to keep growing and nurturing each other as artists and showing other artists that anything is possible, is something to be realised every day. I’m proud to celebrate today (and tonight, in candlelight at a dear friend’s place, after the worker lights have come up, the white pancake has come off and the audience has left after the empties have been collected by our dedicated and beautifully presented Front of House staff) but I do believe we get more joy from a thing that is celebrated and shared every day. Luckily for me, just like these entertainment industry power couples who are leading the way, I get to share it all long after we leave the theatre…

Of course, there are different challenges associated with that but we’ll save it for another post, shall we?

Theatre means there are some challenges, some discoveries and some joy every day. How lucky are we?!

Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton

Lisa and David Campbell

Sam and Xanthe Coward