Posts Tagged ‘dave sleswick


Or Forever Hold Your Peace (The Story of Iphigenia)


Or Forever Hold Your Peace (The Story of Iphigenia)

La Boite Indie & Motherboard Productions

With the support of QPAC

November 12 – 29 2014


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward




Well, I don’t know WHAT that is…the hero shot appears to be a mash up of Athens Fashion Week, Jane Eyre, Lauren Jackson’s Medea for Zen Zen Zo, Face Off and The Lion King. Sure, I get it – a leopard doesn’t change its spots, we wear many masks, we are aligned with many tribes, we run with the pack, we are wild at heart and of our own making, etc. – but I don’t know if it’s the best match for this production, which is in fact the best we’ve seen this year, in the line up for La Boite Indie. YOU CAN VOTE FOR IT HERE.


Or Forever Hold Your Peace (The Story of Iphigenia) is a show that has just about everything. It’s a contemporary Greek tragedy, complete with a stripper, a wedding and The Last Supper. Well, no, alright, not really. But nearly!


Do you know the story? Sure you do. Agamemnon, pressured to prove his commitment to the Trojan War before sending thousands of men to their deaths, agrees to sacrifice his daughter’s life. But that’s not the worst part! He uses the gorgeous Achilles and a last-minute sham wedding to lure the lovely girl to her untimely death, changes his mind and sees her give herself up after all! It’s not just the ancient war we’re dealing with here. This is a timely statement on the “necessity” of war v the desire for peace, the responsibilities of leadership, and the repercussions of an individual’s actions.


Guy and I should have propped up an iPhone and filmed our post-show discussion – it would have served as a fine review – but we didn’t think of it at the time and besides, I know how tired I look this term. I was never going to be ready for my close up, Mr DeMille.




When we walk into The Roundhouse with our plastic cups of cab merlot (keep it classy, Brisvegas), it feels like we’ve entered life’s locker room, as the chorus of casually dressed soldiers warms up, apparently preparing for battle, for life. I can only assume they’ve been doing their drills for some time, since we’ve strolled in at the last second to take our seats. It’s a highly stylised (let’s call it choreographed) opening sequence, which immediately sets a brutal, intense, and slightly unnerving, very intimate tone. At the same time, we get a sense of something bigger than all of us; a force beyond our control. The physical discipline, rigour and collective energy inspires me to sit up straighter, though not to join Bootcamp. It’s only Wednesday but it’s already been a long week. Also, these performers are not afraid of a little eye contact. But you might be. If so, probs don’t sit in the first three rows. This is live theatre remember, at close range. INTENSE. I LOVE IT.


An epic soundtrack & soundscape (is there an album? I’d buy the album) by Dane Alexander, and dramatic, cinematic lighting (Daniel Anderson) fill the space and then make it sparse… I love the alternate light and shade on Peter Cossar’s face as he speaks on leadership, and the inspired use of the bank of seats opposite us. Sleswick notes in the program that he wanted to express himself as a director through this piece and this he has done in abundance. Or Forever Hold Your Peace perhaps says more about Sleswick than anyone or anything else. His is a bold world, populated by courageous, dedicated and loyal soldiers, through whom we discover an intelligent and intriguing perspective on our country’s journey and the uses of power…and theatre. Remember, I told you in 2012:


Dave Sleswick is a director with guts and vision. Motherboard’s La Voix Humaine will have you thinking and feeling deeply. This is not just new world theatre; it’s a new world order. Motherboard is here to stay.


If you caught the previous “version” of this production (also in 2012: QUT’s student company, Vena Cava, directed by Dave Sleswick, does Charles Mee’s Iphigenia 2.0), I hope you haven’t missed this one thinking it’s simply a remount. Because Sleswick has taken Mee’s polarising play and introduced Dramaturg, Morgan Rose to it, then invited all those words to a summer rooftop party with all of his friends and Djuki Mala, and thrown them into the pool with all of the furniture, the pot plants and the sound system, before wringing them out, ripping them up, and stuffing them into the pockets of a pair of cargo pants as he goes on his way through the mud run of life.




He’s cast some excellent performers, including Chris Farrell, who moves like dirty mercury across the stage, and Erica Field, gorgeous in the wise vulnerable role of bridesmaid and bestie. Guy says she looks like Bryce Dallas Howard in The Help and shows me the image to prove it.




Achilles (Rowan Davie) also looks like he’s already famous, though I can’t think of whom he reminds me, and I make a mental note to start watching movies again. Menalaus (Ben Warren), the voice of Mee’s hard-wired, intelligent take on current warfare, holds us still with his compelling storytelling, the retelling of the atrocities, informing every subsequent moment. Tormented, Warren’s eyes are windows to a broken-and-glued-together-again soul. He’s beautifully supported by the chorus (easily the ensemble of the year).




The thrown-together wedding of, er; convenience, gives us a clash of different coloured cloth, plastic picnic wares, bright bouquets on a couple of long trestle tables, and garb that’s almost clownish, garish. We could be between the pages of a Harpers Bazaar Summer Brights edit. Or trapped in a Costumes by the Performers university production of Barnum. (There are times when I do actually like Barnum).



It’s unfortunate that Iphigenia’s final monologue (“I like…”) – feels overwritten and overplayed but others continue to giggle long after I want to holler, in that unbearable audition panel manner, “OK. GOOD. THANK YOU”. If I were not a mother I might feel similarly about Clytemnestra’s wailing, which goes on and on, as indeed it would, as her daughter is slaughtered (in the wings, in a perfect example of the less graphic the violence viewed, the more violent the act), but this performer succeeds in sending chills down my spine, and making me hate, even more than before, her husband, Iphigenia’s father, Agememnon. The parallels are clear throughout and I can’t imagine a current political leader even considering going to such lengths to prove his loyalty to the people.


“…there’s another chorus at work in Iphigenia in Aulis, and that’s the one in our educated heads, reminding us how the story will end. Iphigenia will be sacrificed. Agamemnon and his army will go off to a ten-year war in which Achilles will die. Troy will burn. Odysseus will find it almost impossible to get home. And though Agamemnon will survive and return, he’ll be ambushed by his wife and revenged by his children. Greece will eat its young only slightly less literally than Thyestes ate his. Knowing all this makes us witnesses to both the necessity and the uselessness of every action. That’s the bitter absurdity of Euripides’s play.”


Tony Adler for




대홍수 Deluge




대홍수 Deluge

Brisbane Festival, Motherboard Productions & Brisbane Powerhouse

Brisbane Powerhouse

September 18 – 20 2014


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward 


Deluge. Anything that overwhelms.


We are all naked in the face of grief…

Director, Jeremy Neideck



Deluge Preview from Motherboard Productions on Vimeo.


During Brisbane Writers Festival, I was delighted to speak with Morris Gleitzman, mostly about tea. Not only a renowned author, he’s what you might call a tea connoisseur, quietly, humbly possessing vast knowledge on many varieties of tea, and the many ways in which humans have enjoyed tea for centuries. I’ve come to realise that tea expertise impresses me immensely and if you can talk about it, and make it well, you are a prince (or princess) amongst men (or women).


In our household tea is very special, even sacred (I quit coffee a couple of years ago); the drinking of tea is not to be rushed or denied. Our tea “ceremonies” enable a level of conversation and connection that we just don’t discover over any other shared beverage. Tea is the first and final thing we share each day, and it links events, friends and colleagues in between.
Considering my appreciation for a good cuppa, I delighted in the notion of a tea ceremony to open the show. During this time the house lights stay up and we watch as members of the company take tea orders from the audience. Black? Green? Milk? Sugar? They are relaxed, in no rush at all, waiting patiently to take turns to pour the water to make the tea from a towering urn centre stage, which sits in pride of place on a kitchen hutch. It’s not what Raymond Mao would do but it sets the scene and serves to focus our attention on the performers’ focus, kindness and control of the elements. A deceptively simple soundscape (Sound Designer Dane Alexander) and the alternating pace of the performers’ movements remind me of the imagery and viewing experience of Baraka. Although the slow-mo sets the pace of the show and establishes its ritual, which continues in the following moving water vessels sequence, what starts out as a quirky, gentle, delightful opening sequence feels, after 20 minutes, too long, even for me.


Other segments of the show feel indulgent for little gain or effect. Without a narrative – everything is symbolic – at times we’re left floundering (though no less fascinated or impressed by the movement itself), like the flotsam and jetsam along the shoreline. I try to go with the flow, to take in as much as possible on an experiential level. Despite its strengths Deluge is presented in an extended form that some may be reluctant to sit through again. This is unfortunate (or is it?) for the development of the piece, which might just need a new pair of eyes on it. Ultimately, despite some moments that are forever etched in my memory, this version of the show is one that is less mesmerising than it should be.




The production’s strength lies in its design and ritualistic choreographic elements. The action happens in and around a semi-circle of pylons, rising up out of swirling mist like some structure’s ruined foundations at the edge of Brisbane River. Having waded through waist-deep, stinking black mud to get to Drift in the aftermath of the 2011 floods, and knowing there was a similar clean up required at Brisbane Powerhouse (and everywhere else), this picture alone elicits strong feelings. It’s the bold work of Sarah Winter, the head and heart behind A Dinner With Gravity, a rare production of pure magic, which has never left me. Here too, Winter creates a dramatic, quite magical scene out of very little. A fantastic final segment, the climax of the piece, utilises the majesty of the simple set, immense lengths of white fabric (and, are they plastic bags?), and the power of Neideck’s physical and vocal performance especially, to striking effect. Before that though, an extended trance sequence builds and builds, the performers shivering, trembling, and eventually leaping up and down on the spot, Maasai Warrior style, possessed by some dark spirit or inherent longing. They suddenly stop, and one by one disappear, drowned, beneath a shimmering green light, a body of laser brilliance that engulfs each figure. The audience gasps, collectively; the movement and music and flood of emotion has quietened all at once. This moment is why we gather together to experience live theatre. (It represents the way we come together after a natural disaster, in one breath, the same realisation, all at once). The award-winning lighting, surely, by David Walters, the stuff of illegal substance enhanced dreams, is easily his best work to date.


Another moment brings us Whirling Dervish sema bliss. Or is it grief even still? It’s mostly grief explored in this production – sorrow, despair and some hope. The sort of hope we hope a hot cuppa will bring.


Both female and male performers wear simple yet sumptuous layered, gathered skirts, which swirl and billow around the dancers just like Seven Angels Jasmin Lychee blossoms dance around our big glass teapot. Below a leather waistband cum waspie and above bare feet, the fabric swishes and swings around each performer beautifully, conjuring images of western women working new, harsh land and doing their washing in shallow creeks and rivers, in their entirely unsuitable, beautiful European garb (Costume Designers Kiara Bulley & Bianca Bulley. Originating Costume Design Noni Harrison). Most of the movement achieved draws on Korean traditional dance, most of the vocal work taken from Korean opera, leading us from the beauty and wonder of daydreams by a gentle stream, to the devastation of a stormy, horror story nightmare that is any deluge, or deluge of emotion.


Han is a word that is widely held to be untranslatable…it is sometimes described as a dark shadow, or a deep-set knot of sorrow that passes between generations and oscillates in that place between despair and hope. Han is presented as the voice of the pansori singer, and in the body of the traditional dancer. It is precipitated and released in endless cycles that require time for meditation and contemplation as well as cathartic outpourings of emotion.


Some would say this brand of art is self-indulgent, but I would say maybe the artists are still in denial about what the audience wants. Or needs. There’s a fine line between sharing ritual and respect for cultural traditions, and selling us a style and a story so that we desire more of it. Neideck has little intention, as far as I can tell, of making anything more commercial, but perhaps it’s time to consider entertainment value. It might not take much – it’s already a beautiful work of art. But for whom is the art being made? Why? Why in this country? Neideck is not only a master of the art form, but also, of knowledge and skill sharing, and nurturing the relationships between artists in Australia and Korea. There must be ways to gently bring this work, and work like it to a wider audience; to help bring all of the challenging cross-cultural collaborative work to an even bigger, newer audience, and not just continue to attract the connoisseurs.


Deluge has come a long way since its original work-in-progress showing in 2011 (Red Moon Rising & FreeRange Metro Arts), and it probably has something of an eternal life, or more accurately, multiple lives, should Neideck feel the need to stay so close to its themes. It should be cherished, like the oldest Puerh, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t change and benefit from new infusions to be enjoyed by all. I think the beauty and strange power of Deluge in any of its forms is enough to stay with even the most impatient theatregoers, so let’s hope it finds its way across the sea, continues to evolve, and comes back to us on the tide someday.


In 2014 Deluge features Hoyoung Tak, Younghee Park, Youngho Kwon, Katrina Cornwell, Sammie Williams, Amy Wollstein & Jeremy Neideck.


In 2011 Deluge featured Tak Hoyoung, Mark Hill, Younghee Park, Mary Eggleston, Kat Henry, Ellen Rijs, Jung Minji & Amy Wollstein.


Forest – Deluge (2011) from Red Moon Rising on Vimeo.


지하 Underground WTF14


WTF 2014 Brisbane Powerhouse


February 13 – 23 2014


지하 Underground (Australia/South Korea)

Motherboard Productions

Brisbane Powerhouse

Turbine Studio

February 12 – 16 2014


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


Follow your curiosity to 지하 Underground, a pop-up Korean speakeasy bursting with live music and magical storytelling.


Drink the night away with the bar’s eccentric proprietor as his ragtag crew of musicians unfold a timeless tale of love that transcends culture, language, and gender. Created by Jeremy Neideck and Nathan Stoneham alongside an international team, this strange and beautiful travelling tavern returns to Brisbane after sell-out seasons in 2011 and 2012.


Post-show, 지하 Underground‘s bar stays open, bursting with performances by special friends and lovers.


괴짜 사장님과 밤새도록 술잔을 기울이는 동안 , 바 종업원들로 구성된 오합지졸 밴드가 만들어내는 멋진 선율 속에 문화와 언어와 성性을 초월한 사랑 이야기가 펼쳐 집니다.


제레미 나이덱, 네이슨 스톤햄,그들과 한 팀을 이룬 국제적 공연자들에 의해 창작된 이 신비하고 아름다운 이동식 선술집은 2011년 2012년 전회 매진을 기록하고, 드디어 여러분들 곁으로 다시 찾아 옵니다!


공연 후, 지하 Underground 바(Bar)에서는 특별한 친구들과 연인들의 특별한 공연들이 계속 이어 지며 바도 오픈되어 있습니다!




지하 Underground is so nearly a Brisbane institution that I’m surprised a) it’s taken me so long to see it and b) it doesn’t yet have a permanent home somewhere. This is a show that has been evolving since 2011 and to be honest, I guess if it had a permanent home it might just lose a little of its magic, because the whole notion of “pop-up”, whether it’s in retail or the theatre, is a magical idea in itself.


It’s a theatrical experience completely unlike any other – part play, part musical, part karaoke – and a completely convincing unique brand of storytelling, which entices, embraces, and invites us after each show to stay and dance with the company and their special guests as part of an up-late program of awesome performers, including Michelle Zen and the Neon and Polytoxic.




It’s the kind of place where everyone greets you, you grab a drink from the bar, settle comfortably, have a great time and find it reeeally difficult to leave, and even more difficult to resist coming back for a second visit. We feel right at home in the unfamiliar surrounds (well, for me, having never been to Korea) of a cute and cluttered speakeasy, crossing paths with the most interesting people, and sharing the quirky space and the queer love story created by Jeremy Neideck and Nathan Stoneham.


Told in English and Korean, it’s not your typically commercially touted tale, and embedded within an original musical soundtrack there are just as many lighter, lovelier moments as there are dark, devastating and confronting segments, both musically and theatrically. A fine balance is created by multi-skilled storytellers/performers who have a special gift for finding the rhythm of the piece, individually and as a tight-knit ensemble, without appearing to look for it at all. The writing and direction allow the story to unfold as naturally as if we were all friends up for a big night out together…and we actually feel as if we are. The voices are raw, real and fantastic, and everybody picks up a musical instrument or two. A special surprise performance from vocalist and guitarist random audience member, Henry, sets the relaxed tone of the evening before the pace picks up with a game of fish tank BINGO to decide which of the 지하 Underground bar staff will play which characters in the story they retell each night. Highly energised and hilarious sequences, such as the Coconut Princess (Neideck) racing from one end of the space to the other, through the audience several times to climb up onto an exercise bike on top of a cabinet while singing, smiling, and remembering each time to pick up his suitcase of stuff, are juxtaposed against strange and beautifully mellow moments of memory and quiet contemplation.




지하 Underground is such a strong piece, and it stands out at this festival for being truly original, challenging AND entertaining.


As such 지하 Underground has developed a cult following since its inception. I genuinely expect it to run forever, in some capacity, all over the world! It’s a new kind of crazy-genius cross-cultural collaborative creative gem that has real heart and soul (and watermelon and sparkle and disco!). It works on the heart and the head, and on the soul, and I’m going to find it really hard to let it go; its characters and their stories will stay with me, like a dream that I can’t get back to, long after the music and the sparkles have gone.





지하 Underground

 Brisbane Festival



Motherboard Productions

Storage Container, Absoe Business Equipment car park, West End 

Tuesday 11th – Saturday 29th September 2012


Reviewed by Matty Gharakhanian


호기심이 이끄는 데로 따라오다 보면, 당신은 어느새 브리즈번의 잊혀진 구석에 자리잡은 한국의 바(Bar)지하 언더그라운드를 만나게 될 것입니다.

사장님과 주거니 받거니 술잔을 기울이다 보면, 바 종업원들로 구성된 오합지졸 밴드가 만들어내는 멋진 선율 속에 국경과 문화, 언어와 성性을 초월한 사랑 이야기가 펼쳐 집니다.

라이브 음악과 마법 같은 스토리 텔링이 뒤섞인 이 찰나의 세계는 연출가 제레미 나이덱의 상상으로 출발하여 마더보드 프로덕션이 선 보입니다.

잠시 여러분 자신을 이 세계에로 초대하신다면, 매 시간이 행복한 시간이 될 것입니다. 공연 후에는 여러 특별 게스트들과 함께 모든 이에게 열린 ‘바 Bar’로 완벽하게 탈바꿈하게 됩니다.

Let your curiosity guide you to 지하 Underground, a pop-up Korean speakeasy that has taken root in a forgotten corner of Brisbane.

Prepare to drink the night away with the venue’s eccentric proprietor, as a tale of love transcending culture, language and gender unfolds to rhythms created by his staff, a ragtag crew of musicians.

Every hour is happy hour as you allow yourself to indulge in a mix of live music and magical storytelling amidst a transitory world written by Jeremy Neideck and Nathan Stoneham and presented by Motherboard Productions.

Post-performance, the space transforms into a fully functioning bar for the public with a variety of special guests.


Underground Motherboard Productions

Underground. Motherboard Productions. Image by Matty Gharakhanian.


Upon entering through black curtains, you feel like you’ve entered into another world.  A world you’ve never been before.  You’re given a hearty greeting as you enter the room.  Various pictures, ornaments, mismatching chairs and even more mismatching colours fill your field of vision.  The stage is a modestly low-set wooden crate with a quaint, vintage feel to the place.  Blow-up palm trees are strewn about by the speakers and small, wooden fish trinkets and other crafted sea critters dangle from the fishnet-laden ceiling.  The style is eclectic and colourful and you start to get a feel for what the show will be like.  The vibe is set for the night.

Underground is a tale of love, regardless of culture, language or gender.  This Korean and English show – directed and written by Jeremy Neideck and co-written by Nathan Stoneham – incorporates live music, dance and storytelling to take you on a glorious adventure with the Coconut Princess through love and discovery.

Before the show even begins, there is pre-show entertainment with songs and drinks to keep the spirits of the room high. To get everyone interested, the performers ask for audience participation and before you know it, the energy in the room is electric.  Your heart is racing and everyone’s clapping along and cheering.  The show itself starts off much like a cheesy games show.  I was half expecting to see Larry Emdur from The Price Is Right to pop out at any moment.



But don’t let this fool you.  There is more to this show than first meets the eye.

Underground is an absolute riot.  From the get go, there isn’t a single moment of rest from the enthusiastic and honest performances.  It’s the kind of show that will have you laughing almost non-stop while still managing to maintain story.  There were highly inventive uses of props to create each scene and setting and with just the tiniest touch or addition to the stage, we are taken to the next part of the production.

The songs are, for lack of a better word, outstanding.  These live-performed songs add to the storyline as the lyrics and music weave in and out of the show.

After briefly chatting to the producer, Dave Sleswick of Motherboard Productions, I found out the music was original and the finale musical number – possibly the best of the show – was something they had been particularly working on for quite some time.  And it shows.  The whole production is quite evidently a labour of love and the music worthy of its own album, which will be made available soon, thanks to the support for the project, raised via

Because of the energy and enthusiasm of the performers (Tak Hoyoung, Park Younghee, Lee Chunnam, Thom Browning, Jeremy Neideck, Nathan Stoneham and Abe Mitchell) you can’t help but smile the whole time.  You also soon discover that the entire room is their stage as they sing, dance and act their way through the audience.  Various parts of the performance are set up throughout the room so you can’t help but feel immersed and in the thick of the action for much of the show.

Underground is running throughout Brisbane Festival and is not a production to be missed.  If you enjoy a good laugh and a good time, go see it immediately.


Underground Motherboard Productions

Nathan Stoneham & Younghee Park. Image by Gerwyn Davies.


Iphigenia 2.0

Iphigenia 2.0

Vena Cava Productions

Woodward Theatre Kelvin Grove

Reviewed by Meredith McLean

(And posted late, with my sincere apologies to Meredith and my congrats to Vena Cava on their sell-out season! – Ed).

IphigeniaI knew I was dealing with a play rooted in the old texts of ancient playwrights. Vena Cava, as part of their second Mainhouse performance in which a classic text is adapted, chose a piece wonderfully vivid with emotional carnage. Euripides meets Charles Mee’s creation, Iphigenia 2.0. It reminds me of the famous section in the Sistine Chapel titled “The Creation of Adam”; God’s hand touching man’s fingertip. That’s what I feel like when even simply reading Mee’s work. It is as if Euripides had spoken to Mee himself.

But tonight was not an evening with Charles Mee. Tonight I was interested to see how Vena Cava at QUT would go about bringing this crowded text to life. Heavy themes can easily drag a production down if the cast cannot hold the weight on their shoulders. However I didn’t doubt the QUT students under Dave Sleswick’s guidance would falter. In fact they rose to the challenge eagerly and brought the house down instead.

Light is never truly appreciated until you have to find it in the dark. Leaving the audience uneasy in the shadows with eerie music leering from the house speakers I was already excited. Then we’re lit up to find a neo industrial chic about the stage. Tires, wire fences, lockers and military clothes hang about. But the first words do not come so quickly. Before Agamemnon brought hauntingly to life and misery by Pavle Banovic even begins addressing the audience the rigid choreography of the troops set a context for us. A peculiar, militant procession underpins the theme of sacrifice.

But the cast only chains themselves to a universal melancholy for so long before the tension snaps. The fluid motions of the script let a disturbing message creep up on the audience then withdraws fire quickly before feeling overly preachy. We watch our soldiers lurch into a new atmosphere of rage or even romance. At times the comedy distilled in certain scenes is even more striking than the painful ones. A Douglas Coupland-like mannerism of reference to consumerism and popular culture completes the antics of the cast. Even so much as tweaking certain lines to more Australian colloquialisms that everyone can chuckle at.

The violent nature of the power play between Agamemnon and Menelaus is a cold static that ripples in the room. When Menelaus played by Benjamin Warren shares macabre tales of war that make the stomach squirm Agamemnon’s reaction make the heart quicken. Both  Pavle Banovic and Benjamin Warren equally frighten and endear the audience. It is an excellent display by both of the young actors.

The collective as soldiers is another level of performance entirely. They bring to light the questions no one wants to ask. What is right and wrong in war? What is supposed to be fair and what is classified as unjust? Are we doing the wrong things for the right reasons? The troupe commit emotionally and physically for the role at hand. I’m told morning jogs, rigid exercise and a militant mentality is instilled before and during every show. Their dedication to the chaos in certain scenes is an electrifying force

Dave Sleswick in his first collaboration with Vena Cava has set a high standard for himself if he plans to work with them again. How he tops this production I would be eager to find out. Iphigenia 2.0 is a petrifying array of love and violence that will keep you chained to your seat much like the soldiers are chained to the war machine.

The war ended on 4th of August.



Dave Sleswick

Assistant Director

Kathleen O’Sullivan

Production Manager

Mitchell Chamberlain

Assistant Production Manager

Catherine Lilly-Howe

Stage Manager

Rebekah MacCarthy

Assistant Stage Manager

Tara Kingi

Production Designer

Kristy Kuhnert

Assistant Production Designer

Nikiesha Stevenson

Lighting Designer/AAD Head of Productions

Christine Hartley

Assistant Lighting Designer/Operator

Emma Wildman

Sound Designer/Operator

Samuel Boyd


Steph Allsopp

Pavle Banovic

Thomas Bartsch

Jackson Blair-West

Zoe Cobon

Rafaela Diaz-Byers

Kitty Gatling

Rachel Gobel

José Gonda

Joey Lai

Ray Ann Roborg-Sondergaard

Lia Stark

Steph Tandy

Tom van Kalken

Anzjuli Venter

Ben Warren

Amy Wollstein

Tim Winter

NEXT at The Woodward Theatre


Voice + This That Nothing is a double bill of original performance works by Nathan Sibthorpe and Blancanvas Productions.

All Tickets $12
Door Sales Only
Cash Only
Wed 8th + Thurs 9th Aug 7.30pm
Woodward Theatre
QUT Kelvin Grove
As a result of their participation in FAST Festival, both shows will be presented in Melbourne later this month, with support from La Trobe University Student Theatre and Film.

Before they take the leap down south, Voice + This That Nothing will be presented in The Woodward Theatre this week for two fundraising preview performances, supported by Vena Cava Productions. 2 nights only. Door sales only.

this that nothing

La Voix Humaine

La Voix Humaine

Erica Field. Image by FenLan Chuang

La Voix Humaine

La Boite Indie & Motherboard Productions

The Roundhouse

27th June – 14th July

The human voice. The woman’s voice. The voice of the weaker sex?

Jean Cocteau’s classic one-woman show has been vividly re-imagined by Dave Sleswick and the multi-disciplinary performers of Motherboard Productions for La Boite’s Indie season. It’s the third of six daring productions in the series and it is sure to divide Brisbane audiences.

This is an intense and completely captivating interpretation of Cocteau’s hour-long monologue, using three performers to encapsulate and recreate the one role, of a woman scorned…though really, as we are asked to accept from the outset; she is simply a woman in love and holds no malice for the man on the other end of the telephone, who is about to marry another. To us, the audience as voyeur, she seems obsessive and slightly mad. That is, she becomes so, once she is interrupted several times by crossed lines and the telephone operator and she tires of hearing unsatisfactory responses to her lies (and confessions), from her lover on the other end of the line. Over the course of the conversation (remember, we hear only her side), she becomes distraught, self-pitying, depressed and suicidal.

But wait! Surely, this is not the picture of Woman that we expect to see on stage these days! This woman, in this enlightened age, must be in fact, our worst, most pathetic version of Woman. It may have been an accurate depiction in 1939 (and within a 1950’s context it may be more clearly depicted again in Francis Poulenc’s operatic version of the play) but the strong, independent, unwavering, contemporary woman we like to see? This is she? Really? Well, of course it is! She is quite possibly each and every one of us, regardless of our education, connections and enlightenment, sitting and waiting and agonising by the phone, only half-expecting her lover to call her back after they are cut off, perpetuating the Happily Ever After myth, making (the collective) us seem as pathetic as we always imagined ourselves to be. We try not to let this dependence on a partner’s attention make us who we are but we are also, at various times in our lives, slaves to it.


I took the six year old and her BFF to see Brave the other day. Would the rebellious Scottish princess Merida wait by the phone for her lover to call? If you listen closely, Disney Pixar tells us that indeed she will! She will, at some stage of her life, wait by the phone for the lover of her choice to call (as opposed to a suitor chosen for her by her parents, as tradition dictates). So nothing changes (though there is some hope for the sanity of the next generation), and there will no doubt be further technological advances so that a break up might one day be not over the phone, not via a text message but by a singular thought, in the first instance, transmitted by some telepathic state and thus saving agony over weeks or months or years of wondering, “Does he love me?” “Is he seeing somebody else?” and “Is this the end?”

At first, the woman – played at first by Noa Rotem – demonstrates tenderness and unwavering love and devotion that infuriates me  – clearly, she is unwanted, this guy is already out on the town (in the opera we actually hear a momentary lively jazz segment leaving little doubt about it) and already, completely over her; he’s moved on – but gradually, as her efforts to cajole her lover and win him back become more urgent, more desperate, I begin to recognise her self-doubt, her self-loathing and her self-destructive behaviour. Yes! I too have been that woman, sliding down the wall and wailing, “PLEASE GOD! MAKE HIM CALL ME BACK!” Yes! I know! Pathetic! But that was me. At one stage in my life, that pathetic woman was me.  And in Brave the sequel, it might also, one day, be Merida.

Sadly – and happily (and intriguingly) – the scale of human emotion hasn’t changed over time. The tumultuous experience of a woman (of a human), despised and discarded by another is common to all humans, across centuries and continents, the difference being, in how we choose to think about and respond to the awful situation we find ourselves in. The secret must surely be in our capacity to forgive and move on, our ability (our willingness) to draw from our reserve of resilience.

Erica Field presents the second aspect of Woman and Liesel Zink the third, though there may be audience members who struggle to accept the three women as one and who consider the possibility that they play three different women, almost in different eras. While I know and accept that the premise is three distinct voices within this woman, the voices are never conflicting enough to be truly representative of the multiple voices we each have inside us. Or are they? They become blurred, each unsure of her argument; this is also something we recognise and wish we had more control over.

It’s interesting to note that there is no place for social media in this production. We have Skype but not Facebook or Twitter (or Pinterest or Instagram). It just doesn’t go there. I wonder why not?

Liesel Zink. Image by FenLan Chuang.

Together, Field, Zink and Rotem transcend any notion of traditional “acting” and give us instead, raw emotions through incredibly physical performances, enhanced by multi-media and visuals by Brad Jennings and Stephen Maxwell, a challenging sound design by Lawrence English and simply beautiful, intimate lighting by Verity Hampson in an elegantly bare, simple set, incorporating a Japanese style sliding screen (upon which we see some of the surtitles and images) and beyond which we see the unused seats of The Roundhouse: a reminder that we’re in a theatre, experiencing a theatrical work.

The three girls deliver exceptional performances; bold, brave and highly polished in terms of their physical performances. The edgy contemporary choreography, devised in consultation with Brian Lucas, is executed inside and outside the confines of the set with vulnerability, strength and severity, the bodies moving jarringly and the limbs at odds with the organs, in perfect self-contradiction. The dance element is at once an arresting image of the woman at odds with herself and the ideal interpretation of this piece in a physical sense. In these bold hands, the play could easily be presented in its entirety as a dance piece. The vocal work is also impressive, supported by the amplification and distortion of multiple microphones placed throughout the set, with Rotem speaking the bulk of her lines in Hebrew.

Liesel Zink. Image by FenLan Chuang.

As voyeurs to this pitiful woman’s self-destruction, we are alienated on so many levels. We are continuously reminded that we are seeing a play, a theatrical version of events (and what Steven Mitchell Wright, of The Danger Ensemble, refers to as “theatrical theatre”), which may or may not have happened the way in which we have witnessed events played out. Stage directions are expressed explicitly and not followed, opening the show and setting the scene – but not – and in closing the show, when the figure of the woman mismatches the description of her, we are left wondering why we have been exposed to the stage directions at all. It’s a slightly unnerving, unsatisfactory end but then, so is the end of a relationship. And so is the end of a life. We leave it in an unfinished state, as if we are cut off mid-conversation. So many words are left unsaid. So many thoughts, feelings, issues…left unresolved.

Dave Sleswick is a director with guts and vision. Motherboard’s La Voix Humaine will have you thinking and feeling deeply. This is not just new world theatre; it’s a new world order. Motherboard is here to stay.

La Voix Humaine

Here’s a wonderful reminder about why we do what we do here, in this place, from The Escapist’s Helpmann Award nominated, Lucas Stibbard, currently touring his hit show, boy girl wall.


I have been asked, more than a couple of times, in recent months “What is great about the Brisbane scene?”. I usually babble for a bit about quality of life and the relatively strong network and the fact that you can make a go of it here without having to wait tables at Bondi 8 hours a day to pay rent. 

Tonight, however, I got a really good answer handed to me. (And forgive me Dave Sleswick if I get this wrong – please correct me.) Anyway, during his speech Dave spoke of the immense amount of support that the community had put behind the work – from it’s inception at Metro Arts, on through their Free Range Program, to further development with Brisbane Festival’s Under The Radar and the Judith Wright Center, on to being picked up by La Boite Independents Program and then rehearsed with the assistance of AusDance, Brisbane Powerhouse and Queensland Theatre Company, with visuals from Markwell Presents, as well as the 53 individuals who contributed $4,000 to their set-build. This combined with the knowledge that Motherboard Productions whilst producing independent art on a shoestring with a group of such talented creatives, cast and crew who have, no doubt, worked for little or deferred payment, have made something magical. By the end of Dave’s words I was a bit teary.

So why is Brisbane a good place to make work (despite the still lifting banana curtain that leads to our work so rarely making it south of the border and current incumbent political bungle)?

The answer is the community.

Lucas Stibbard