Posts Tagged ‘chris beckey

07
Jul
14

Caligula

 

Caligula

The Danger Ensemble

With support from Judith Wright Centre’s Fresh Ground program

Judith Wright Centre

July 3 – 12 2014

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

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Right after seeing The Danger Ensemble’s latest visual feast mindfuck, Caligula, Sam offered Director, Steven Mitchell Wright, the most apt description I’ve ever heard of his work:

 

“Someone shot you in the head, and the bits of your brain that slid down the wall to land on the floor is what you’ve made this show with.”

 

The design elements are beautiful (Designers Benjamin Hughes & Nathalie Ryner), the first ten minutes – otherworldly beautiful – and then, once we’ve heard from two tour guides (not your usual suspects and serving in this moment as Greek Chorus) about Caligula’s character and infamous short reign over the Roman Empire, all descends into chaos. We transcend time and place to find ourselves lost somewhere between “history” and the fetish clubs of the 21st century. It’s loose, it’s a little wicked, and it’s not anything at all like you might expect, even if you thought you were familiar with The Danger Ensemble’s work. And that’s the thing.

 

The Danger Ensemble is the only company in the place doing this work. It’s bold and cheeky, and it’s quite often crass and downright revolting (it’s no secret that I disliked Sons of Sin), but it’s being made and THAT is a beautiful thing.

 

The work itself usually contains, on some level, a whole lot of brutality, sensuality, classically derived text, and new interpretations of ancient beliefs or popular opinions or bits of history. This work, just as Loco Maricon Amour did, boasts moments of immense beauty, and subtlety too. The images conjured (and they are conjured, as if by magic; as I’ve noted before, Steven Mitchell Wright’s expertise in painting pictures on stage is impressive), are capable of affecting us in a way that only art can. Each piece or tiny moment is unique and we respond to it in such a personal way that sometimes the effect is difficult to describe. Sometimes, when I’m writing up a show like this, I just wish you’d been there. You need to get out more! Experience the work!

 

Had you been there, you might have breathed more quietly, or held your breath, or tried not to visibly squirm, or tried to stop yourself from digging your nails into the palm of your hand as the beating of your heart quickened…

 

Have you ever sat through a delivery boy’s litany on the pros and cons of fisting (Stephen Quinn), or listened to the deadpan delivery from a woman wearing the horns of Beelzebub (Lucinda Shaw) on how to skin an animal while the “animal” twitches and tenses and dances and stumbles and eventually dies in front of you, collapsing into a deep pool of plastic party cups? No? See? You just don’t know how you’ll respond to that! How good is live theatre!?

 

The cast has been literally cast to create white plaster torsos that hang from the gods and rise to reveal the actors behind them, only to stop and hang in mid air, to look over the strange, sordid action that follows. The effect is a haunting reminder that somebody, whether or not we believe it to be a pantheon of gods, is always watching. We are, each of us, responsible for the way we choose to feel but we realise too that our words and actions have an impact on those around us.

 

DRIVE CAREFULLY, PEOPLE.

 

Sometimes while Sam drives I write, and as I write I’m grateful the P Plater in front of us has wrenched himself back onto the highway instead of dying in the gutter tonight. How close we can come to death. How sad it is that we need these reminders to truly value our lives. And then there are those who ignore the reminders and continue to live ungratefully, recklessly, selfishly, and viciously. They make me sick. And then I remember I can try not to feel disgusted by their apathy for the feelings of others. Try to frame it differently. Try to feel compassion. Poor, stupid people who go through life hurting others… That’s right, isn’t it?

 

An entire section of Caligula (and, it seems, the Dharma), has been completely lost on me; it’s almost a stand-up comedy segment comprising Chris Beckey and Nerida Matthaei using hand held mics to hold a rather odd conversation about the ways she wishes to be hurt by him.

 

I want you to hit me with your car.

 

Really? YOU WANT HIM TO HIT YOU WITH HIS CAR. Who would want that? Is it a metaphor? Is it a kiss with a fist?

 

 

It made me think of a few things, including another song, you know, the Swedes singing about driving a car into a bridge? I’m appalled that Poppy knows the lyrics and we’ve talked about how crazy and ungrateful it is that she wouldn’t even care, about her life, about other peoples lives, about what happens in the lives of the people she leaves behind… I also think of an ex-boyfriend who was genuinely an emo (I know, what was I thinking? I’m actually a beach baby! And I love happy endings!), and that stupidly disturbing and unnecessarily revoltingly violent film, which I never finished watching and never will, Irreversible.

 

There’s the thought too that Nerida Matthaei’s choreography makes Caligula a convincing “dance theatre” piece (it’s a term that seems to be bandied about a bit at the moment), as much as it is a work of theatre or contemporary performance art. I can imagine this show performed in all its parts at various times of the day and night in a place like MONA.

 

I enjoyed Beckey’s voice – rich and salubrious – vocally and physically his is a consummate performance as always, right to the glittery end. And the twitching, dying movement sequence mentioned earlier, performed by Gabriel Comerford, will be sure to sear some sort of cruel image on your mind so you’ll certainly remember him the next time you see him (or hear about Anna Krien’s Us and Them). Even without Steven Mitchell Wright on stage – he cut his role the day before opening, as it seemed superfluous – this is another bold configuration of one of the country’s most confident, most consistently challenging creative companies. What we’re seeing here is the earliest version of this piece, thanks to The Judy’s Fresh Ground program; it’s a slightly messy birth but we know that whatever this baby looks like in the first instance, we’ll give it a chance.

 

Caligula comes to us at the perfect time, challenging our perceptions of what art is, what is acceptable to see and to talk about in public, and what parallels are to be drawn between historical and current leaders and followers. Power, wealth, sex, power. Power. Who else is asking the questions? Who else is presenting multiple possible answers for us to discuss and digest?
It’s true (and unfortunate) that The Danger Ensemble flirts with financial ruin when compared to the obvious commercial successes of our pretty, lovely, light and fluffy theatre companies but then, why compare? The work is unapologetic, pushing the proverbial boundaries and promising nothing at this stage but a unique night out, which you certainly won’t forget but you might not want to remember. Regardless, let’s see more of it!

 

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18
Nov
12

Steven Mitchell Wright: Children of War

Children of War

On Friday night at La Boite’s Roundhouse Theatre in Kelvin Grove, an epic theatrical event took place.

 

The Danger Ensemble’s production – La Boite’s final indie installment of the year – Children of War opened.

 

We asked Director, Steven Mitchell Wright, a few things about theatre, life and art…

The world is no longer safe from art

 

Can you tell us about your new production, the epic mythical mash-up, Children of War

The work is a part of a larger play cycle that Chris Beckey and I have been collaborating on since late 2009, We have been drawing on different sections of The Illiad and The Orestia across 3 different projects, In God We Trust, i war and Children of War. This particular section of the story investigates the lesser known characters on both sides of the Trojan War. To say that seems almost a blaspheme, that is to say that, that is certainly where we started, but the life of the work has developed it’s own voice, Chris Beckey has shaped the work in a way that sits in a timeless space, the innate history and passion embedded in the myth collides headlong with the brevity and energy of today.  
 
The work is huge, it’s completely unashamedly epic. It has to be. In a lot of ways it is a departure from the kind of work people expect of me as a director and expect of us as a company but we never promised anything, we allow works to find their own voice and that voice dictates the form and style of the work.

What inspires you to imagine such stories and variations on stories? 
 
As a company, we pursue relevance and excitement, I think the fundamental question of why? why this story? why now? why these actors? why this space? why bother? It’s those questions that drive the variation on the stories we explore, it’s about aggressively pursuing the now and the why.
 
Your dreams must be in vivid colour! What’s your process and approach as a director once you’ve seen the possibilities of an idea? Can you describe your directing style?
My directing style is probably best described as a combination of giving the actors and creatives a lot of freedom to discover their voice and reasons for doing the work and then a demanding exactitude for detail and clarity of choice after that exploration has completed. On the floor I am, quite extreme, I find myself going from very quiet and internal to extremely animated. When the energy in the room is working I often find myself pacing or swaying.
 
Children of War
Do you bring the actors or the creative team in first? 
 
Actors, I always begin with actors in the space. Whenever possible. It goes back to that pursuit of relevance. I think the voice of the work has to be found through the actors before it is shared with anyone else. I look for the heart of a work through the actors choices and instinct.

You are up to some more incredible things next year, which we are not allowed to talk about yet! What can you tell us about, in terms of upcoming projects/ambitions/ideas?
 
Ha! I can’t say a lot about next year, except to expect two new works from us. Both very different to each other and again different from what we have produced this year. In writing this, I realise just how different the works are, one is very much about reality and real-real life and the other explores more fantastical and escapist ideas.
Do you think it’s a responsibility of the artists to experiment in form, content and delivery? Do you think this is happening enough (in Brisbane, in Australia), and what is it that helps to grow audiences (in Brisbane, in Australia)?
 
I think it’s a responsibility of artists to continue to build our culture, to broaden our understanding of ourselves and the world we live in, I also think it’s our responsibility to respect audiences enough to challenge them somewhat. To assume that an audience is not ready for experimentation is simply patronising. I think all work is in a way an experiment, there is a hypothesis entering and sometimes a conclusion drawn at the end of it all. I don’t believe all artists need to be overtly experimental, they need to service their work and they need to speak to an audience.
 
How do you wind down after a show (each night and at close of season)?
 
Often very briefly, this year has been insane and by the end of the season we are usually already in rehearsals for something else. I’m actually fairly terrible at taking down time but I’ve been working on it, I’ve been spending more time with friends, music and vodka. I struggle to wind down because I find the energy of a work has a roll on effect for me, I am motivated by it and it drives me into the next thing. I am aware that this isn’t sustainable long term though, so I’m aiming to catch up on cinema, television, books, music and lovers over Christmas.
Children of War
 
What are you reading?
 
The Bible, actually…
 
What’s on your playlist a) in the rehearsal room b) in the car c) in the kitchen at home?
 
Godspeed! You Black Emperor is a staple to my life. Children of War has forced me to listen to a lot more Ke$ha and T-swizzle (Taylor Swift) than ever before.
 
For my enjoyment I’ve been listen to Fleetwood Mac (I got kind of obsessed with them during Loco Maricon Amor), Mirah (recently introduced to me), Amanda Palmer’s Theater is Evil album (which is a nice departure from her other stuff, has a depeche mode kinda vibe) and The XX’s new album (which I don’t love, it feels like a sequel to the previous album…)
Children of War
 
Who would you most like to work with one day and why?
I would love to collaborate with a lot of musicians, A Silver Mt Zion and The Faint spring to mind – I’d love to make a musical with them. I’d love to collaborate with The Blondes on a show. I would LOVE to work with Pamela Rabe and Paul Capsis. Jan Fabre. Michel Gondry. Lars Von Trier. The list could go on.

What strengths have this current group of performers brought to the production? 
 
The actors are amazing. They are actually just incredible. I am not going to say much more. Come see it.
Children of War
 
Do you seek out specific feedback from those whose opinion matters to you? Throughout the process? How does that help or hinder the process?
 
It depends on the process, sometimes, with this project I did. Sometimes, I don’t feel ready for people to see the work until we are in the theatre and with all the elements in place. Often when devising and presenting from a devised space without a scripting process, I don’t bring people in.. when working with a script I feel more comfortable bring people in to give feedback. It’s about energy, it’s also about where the actors are at. 
With what will Children of War leave us? Are there lessons for us?
 
I don’t believe in telling anyone what they SHOULD leave a work with, I know what I see and find in the work, and I know how I’ve shaped the work and I know what the heart of the work is at – I don’t really believe that my role within theatre is to teach the audience anything. There is a lot in the work and I suspect different people will find different things. If people are engaged, if people are moved then I have done my job.
 
An incredible opportunity exists for performers, writers, directors and teachers to take part in an upcoming workshop with The Danger Ensemble’s Artistic Associate and the writer of Children of War, Chris Beckey, who will lead participants in consideration and exploration of topics relating to his work as a writer with The Danger Ensemble and Vanguard Youth Theatre. Be quick and book or miss out!
COST: $50 (Full) $20 (Concession) or $10 for patrons who have already purchased a ticket for Children of War (14 Nov – 1 Dec)
LOCATION: Theatre Rehearsal Room, Judith Wright Centre Level 3 
DATE/TIME: Tuesday, 27th November from 4pm – 6pm
13
Aug
12

Chris Beckey: on behalf of Salvador Dali

 Steven Mitchell Wright and The Danger Ensemble’s Loco Maricon Amor opens on Friday night.

Chris Beckey took some time out to tell us about it and about life as an artist.

“The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.” – Salvador Dalí

 

Chris Beckey Loco Maricon Amor

 

Chris, you’re a multi-tasking, interdisciplinary master; what exactly are your roles in this show?! Which came first?

Thank you, Xanthe, although I’m not sure I am actually interdisciplinary. But I’ll take flattery where I can get it.

 

I was initially approached to act as dramaturg and literary advisor on the project, much in the same way as I had with The Hamlet Apocalypse. I’d spoken to Steven Mitchell Wright, Artistic Director of The Danger Ensemble and director of Loco Maricon Amor, about my interest in working with him as an actor. So, some time later, he asked me if I’d play Salvador Dali. Of course it’s not as simple as ‘playing’ Dali. So I guess the best way to answer your first question would be to say that I’m working on the project as dramaturg, literary advisor, a deviser and performer. As regards this final role, more specifically I’m the actor speaking on behalf of Salvador Dali.

 

What drew you to The Danger Ensemble? Can you tell us about the company and the way you work with them?

Steven and I have known each other for about 15 years and we first worked together in 2003. So my connection to The Danger Ensemble is through Steven; he’s the artistic heart and brain of the company. I love working with him. And I like to think we’ve developed, and continue to evolve, a really healthy working relationship. We balance, challenge and complement each other. Katherine Quigley is the company’s rather brilliant and generous General Manager and Executive Producer. The amount of work Kath puts into the company is staggering. Somehow, over the years, I’ve managed to develop an appreciation for both the artistic and production processes involved in getting a project off the ground. I guess I kind of act as a sounding board for both Steven and Katherine. And of course, I get to make my own contributions as an artist on various projects. My relationship with the company, with both Steven and Kath, is incredibly precious to me and was one of the big reasons I returned to Brisbane this year.

 

What impact do you think The Hamlet Apocalypse had on you and on Brisbane?

Well, I have to say it’s hard for me to discern the impact The Hamlet Apocalypse may have had upon Brisbane. At the time it was performed, as you know, I was living in Wollongong. Since returning to Brisbane in January, for various reasons I haven’t really had, or taken, the opportunity to re-engage with the theatre scene in Brisbane as much as I had hoped. Of course, I’d like to think it did have some impact but I can’t really articulate what that might have been. And maybe that impact, that influence, hasn’t fully emerged yet. That’s not for me to say.

 

As for me personally, it had a huge impact. I rarely cry in theatre. I know the tricks, the mechanics. But I found the collision of worlds and contexts set in motion within the show profoundly moving. I was a mess after each and every run I saw. A critical mess with lots of thoughts and questions, but a mess nonetheless.  I was always blown away by the honesty, the openness and the courage of the actors and Steven’s ability to create an environment where they felt safe to offer those qualities, yet to challenge them to offer more every time. It really was an affirmation for me that these were the people, the kind of artists, with whom I wanted to work. The work itself, the show, always made me value the experiences of my own life and value each moment. I always walked away from the show, whether in rehearsal or in performance, determined to live each moment of my life fully, to savour each and every moment. And I found that to be such a beautiful gift.

 

Describe the company in a word.

Obviously I’m incredibly close to the company and have an insight into the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes. I know it’s not very marketing savvy of me, but I’d feel to try and sum that up, and to sum up what it is that the company does, in a single word would end up belittling some aspect of its work and the work of those who make it happen. Sorry.

 

Describe Loco Maricon Amor in a word.

Similar to my answer with The Danger Ensemble, I don’t know if I can sum up Loco Maricon Amor in a word. To me, it’s a beautiful show. It’s complex. It’s challenging. It’s full of heart, full of love in a myriad of forms. It’s heartbreaking. But that’s my experience as someone involved in the creation and performance of the show, a view from the inside. I can’t think of a single word that captures all that without belittling one of its other aspects or biasing the way in which the show might be received. It’s better for our audiences to make their own choices.

(Fair enough, on both counts. – Ed.) 

 

How has surrealist style informed the overall style of the show?

Steven was determined that the show wouldn’t only be a show about surrealism or about artists associated with surrealism as a style and movement, but that surrealist techniques for creation should underpin the show. So throughout creative development and rehearsal we have been using various surrealist techniques and that spirit remains within the show, has had a marked impact on the form of the show.

 

What was your first false memory?

Unlike Dali, I’m not savvy enough to determine which of my memories are true and which are false. And I certainly don’t have any intra-uterine memories . . . as far as I can tell.

My earliest memory, or one of them, is of being about 3 or 4 years of age. It was Easter time. I’d been eating a hard candy Easter egg. I went outside for no particular reason. I have quite a vivid memory of the brown corduroy overalls I was wearing, a visceral memory of the feeling of the Autumn sun on my skin, the taste of candy in my mouth.

Whether that memory is true or false, I can’t tell.

 

What fascinates you about people? About actors? About audiences?

Oh my, how much time do you have? I don’t think you can work in the theatre without a deep fascination with human beings in all of their glory and despair, our light, our dark, our strengths, our weaknesses, our histories, our futures, our complexities, our contradictions, our differences and our similarities. We deal with the raw material of humanity and human experience. We need a passionate interest in all the shades and dimensions of that experience. For me, that fascination stands, regardless of how a particular person comes to the work, whether they are the material on which a work is based, a character, an actor, artist, director, writer, choreographer or as an audience member.

 

Can you tell us about your training? Who and what have influenced your approach to performing and theatre making?

I’ve actually never trained formally, never did an actor training course. Like a lot of actors and performers, I did a fair bit of youth drama activities, such as AMEB Speech and Drama and youth theatre, and I studied drama at the University of Queensland. That was an amazing course but it wasn’t geared to train actors. My first professional job was with Fractal Theatre and I got a lot of on-the-job training from them.  I was so lucky, I learnt so much working with Fractal. And over the years, I’ve attempted to address the gaps in my training through workshops and other experiences, but much of my training has been on-the-job.

 

And of course, I’ve done a lot of training in various forms of Japanese theatre, such as Butoh, and with the method of actor training developed by Mr Tadashi Suzuki. I’ve been working with these styles and method for 20 years now and I’m still blown away by the insight they offer on the craft of acting. And not just in a general sense, but each and every time you come to the methods, each time you train.

 

As for my influences in terms of the theatre I create, one of my biggest inspirations is Adrian Kiernander, who was a lecturer and tutor at UQ while I was studying there. His teaching was amazing, the balance he found between critical and theoretical thinking and practical creation and exploration is something to which I still aspire. His teaching is my benchmark, it still has a massive influence on my work as a teacher, actor and creator.

 

I have a huge list of performers and directors and film-makers who have influenced my own work. I guess the big ones are Lindsay Kemp, Steven Berkoff and Kazuo Ohno and film-makers like Peter Greenaway and the late Derek Jarman. I was also entranced in the mid- to late-1990s by the work of a number of performers based in Sydney, many of whom were associated with the Sydney Front; performers like Nigel Kellaway, Meme Thorne, Dean Walsh, Joel Markham and Deborah Pollard.

 

I guess I’d describe these as my core influences, the influences that keep me working, creating, questioning.

 

And even though they’re not theatre artists, my work has been hugely informed by French poststructuralist theory and philosophy. My understanding of the world and my approach to thinking and to inquiry is drawn from writers such as Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault and Roland Barthes. I also take inspiration from the contemporary American philosopher, Alphonso Lingis. Lingis shows us how philosophy and thinking must be lived and must be tested through the living, while our lives, the way we live, should also give rise to deep and critical thinking.

 

What sort of theatre do you strive to make and why?

I’ve always aspired to make theatre that asks questions of and challenges myself as an artist and the world in which I’m situated. Theatre that explores and extends our understanding of what it is to be human at this point in time. But I also hope to celebrate our humanity, in all its ugliness and beauty, its light and its dark. For me, this is where my heart is, this is where my passion lies. I don’t think that all theatre necessarily needs to do this. But this is the kind of work I seek to make. As artists, we have the ability to effect the way that people feel, perceive, think. About themselves. About the world. That’s a privilege and a huge responsibility. If I don’t use that to question and grow, it feels to me like I waste a precious opportunity. Oh, and of course, I always strive to make work that is just plain fabulous.

 

Lorca was a poet and director. Tell us about the sort of theatre he made.

I haven’t actually found much by way of documentation of the kind of theatre Lorca was making. I feel bad for saying this, but I suspect I wouldn’t have liked it. Which is fair enough, I guess. Lorca was working in the 1920s and 1930s, I’m a theatre artist living in 2012. There’s about 80 years of theatre history between us. A lot has changed in that time. But despite all that, his words – his plays, his poems, his essays and lectures – are still incredibly powerful and beautiful and seductive. I’d hazard a guess he was making theatre of his time, maybe even ahead of his time. But theatre is ephemeral, which is something Lorca loved about it as an art form, and so are its conventions and its styles. So for me, Lorca’s value lies in the artifacts he left behind, his words, his thoughts, his feelings, his blood and his passion in print. I think it’s a great tragedy he died so young. When he was murdered he’d been working as a director for about 5 years. He’d written three stunning plays, just amazing pieces of work. I really wonder where his thoughts on theatre and poetry and where his work would have led if Spanish history hadn’t played out the way it did.

 

What makes an artist an outsider?

It’s an interesting question. A complex one, too. You know, there’s a long history of artists being treated as outsiders. In Ancient Greece, Plato wanted poets banished from the city. In the Middle Ages, artists were regarded with a great deal of suspicion. And on and on. Artists never seem to have sat, or have been accommodated, comfortably in social frameworks. Then you look at someone like Jean Genet, who embraced the idea of being an outsider. I suspect Dali was also fond of the idea of being an outsider. Even though he was a member of the Surrealists, he didn’t seem particularly upset when they expelled him from their ranks.

In 2012, are we as artists, and I’m talking primarily theatre artists, outsiders? I’m not sure. I guess it all boils down to how you define what constitutes being inside and how being outside relates to that.

 

What makes an artist free?

Similarly, I think that depends a lot on how you define freedom. Are we free to create the work we want? Are we and our work bound by the financial relationships into which we enter, whether with governments, patrons and sponsors or co-producers? Are we bound, limited, by the socio-political climate in which we create? Can we say what we want to say, need to say, in the face of these factors? How far are we prepared to bend, to compromise, so that our work is made and seen? Sorry, I’ve answered your question with a plethora of my own. Whether they’re important questions to ask or not, I don’t know. But I guess these are the questions I’m asking of the current climate in regards to our freedom as artists.

 

What will we take from this show?

Obviously, that’s hard to predict from inside the work. Loco Maricon Amor will definitely offer a unique theatrical experience. Stepping out of actor mode for a second, I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything quite like it. I think at the heart of the work lies a question about what limits us, what holds us back, and a challenge to throw ourselves into life, into our work, our love, our art, with all we have, without fear or hesitation. If anything, I hope audiences take that challenge from the show.

 

What will you walk away with?

Oh, I walk away with the same challenge. I’d never ask something of an audience that I wouldn’t ask of myself. Apart from that, it’s been such a rich experience. As part of this process, we’ve been asking whether it was possible for me to work both as a dramaturg and as a performer on the same process. I’ve learnt heaps in that regard which will obviously have a carry-on effect for future projects. It’s been such a pleasure working with this ensemble of artists. It’s been difficult territory to enter and the courage of each and every person and the support given to each other has created a beautiful environment in which to work. It’s always great to reconnect with those who work regularly with The Danger Ensemble, Peta Ward and Polly Sara in this instance. They’re completely inspiring. I’ve loved having the chance to work with Caroline Dunphy again. We haven’t worked together on a show since 1996. Steven has been trying to get Caroline and I on a stage together for some time now so I’m glad it’s finally happened. More please. And it’s been great working with the younger artists on the show, Thomas Hutchins, Lucy-Ann Langkilde and Bianca Zouppas. I look at their work and wish I’d had their guts when I was their age. I know it’s the kind of thing that always gets said, but I really do hope we all stay in touch beyond the end of this stage of the project.

 

What’s next for you?

Once Loco Maricon Amor opens, we begin in earnest the process of developing a new work, i war, with a work-in-progress showing presented by Queensland Theatre Company and Brisbane Festival as a part of QTC’s Greenroom program and Brisbane Festival’s Under the Radar in September. I’ll also be working on a new draft of the text for Children of War, which is being presented with Vanguard Youth Theatre in November as part of the La Boite Indie season.

 

By all means, don’t go near this question if you prefer but if you’d like to go there, what do you think about the current state of the arts in Queensland and what can we do about it once we’ve broken free from our negative cycle of bitching, blame and reproach?!

I’m not sure I can really comment on this one with any authority. I’ve only been back in Brisbane for a little over six months and I’ve found everyone to be really lovely and supportive so far. And circumstances have restricted my engagement with the industry, so I’m not really sure of what’s been going on in the community. Recently, Brian Lucas quoted Andy Warhol on Facebook, Warhol said, “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” And I’ve accidentally found myself in that situation. Although, thinking about it, that’s probably a good place to be. Head down, tail up. There’s always going to be conflicts within the arts industry. The work we do as artists isn’t easy, we put a lot of heart into it, we put a lot of our selves on the line. And sometimes we can take criticism or circumstances that compromise our art on the chin, sometimes we can’t, sometimes we shouldn’t. I guess my hope would be that, regardless of that, we create an environment where young artists are able to grow and flourish. As I said before, one of the great things about working on Loco Maricon Amor has been working alongside Bianca, Thomas and Lucy-Ann. I’d hate to think we’re creating an environment where they feel inhibited, where they feel their only option is to move to another city to pursue their careers. I’d have to confess that I’m not one hundred per cent au fait with the cultural policies of the new state government but what I have heard and understood has left me feeling somewhat uncomfortable. We need artists here, we need diversity, we need old voices, we need new voices. And if the government isn’t going to encourage that, the onus falls on us to do so. How do we do that? I’m not sure. Hopefully, time will tell.

Loco Maricon Amor

 

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

Andy Warhol

 

Chris Beckey Loco Maricon Amor_2