Blogosphericals ~ theatre notes

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Almost a decade ago, when I first began exploring the net, theatre seemed like the last bastion: so deeply rooted in real time and physical space, perhaps, it's been slow to catch up with the prose and conniptions of cyberdiscussion. Poets, being unwanted anywhere else (I joke! I joke!), moved there wholesale; poetry zines, blogs, forums, listserves, author pages and so on are out there in (literally) their millions. But no more: it's standard for theatre companies now to run websites and theatre zines and forums are flowering like Paterson's Curse - recent new Melbourne additions, both responses to a lively independent scene, are Theatre Alive and Melbourne Stage Online, which I'm told will soon introduce a discussion forum. And, of course, blogs are spreading like an ever more insidious virus. As some of the mainstream press indulges an ever more flippant philistinism (check out this belief-beggaring piece, only the latest of a series, by Age arts editor Raymond Gill) real discussion - enlivened by the possibility of interaction across continents - moves ever more steadily onto the net.

So permit me to point out some recent items of interest, the mere tip of an iceberg. George Hunka of Superfluities is dragging us further into the 21st century with his first Podcast, a review of Odchodzi (Passing Away), a show by a Polish company based on the poetry of Tadeusz Rozewicz, now on at La Mama in New York. Check out as a matter of priority Chris Boyd's fascinating interview with Athol Fugard on Camus, truth, reconciliation and freedom at his blog The Morning After, and while you're at it read his review of Mummenschanz's 3x11, now on in Melbourne. As usual, debate has been running hot on Scott Walters' blog Theatre Ideas - Arcticactor has a good summary of a blogosphere discussion on theatre criticism at his BLOG!.

Slightly aside from theatre, playwright Jasmine Chan and her partner Miles are keeping fascinating (and awesomely well-written) travel journals at their respective blogs, Endpapers and A Confrontation with Falling. After a colourful time in South America, they're now in London. Ben Ellis, another Melbourne Playwright at Large, is currently hiding out at the Cites des Artes in Montparnasse and blogging on Parachute of a Playwright. And lastly, a note which has nothing to do with theatre at all, I was chuffed today to see my translation of Rilke's Eighth Duino Elegy quoted on a very classy blog, Wood s Lot. Must get those translations into a book one day...

So get clicking!


Ben Ellis said...

Thanks for the mention, Alison. I am blushing.

I have to say, following the debate on/with TheatreIdeas has made for some of the most exciting and thought-provoking reading I've encountered on the web for some time.

Things on Sunday sounds like a treat. Would be there if I was. Have you ever had the chance to read Greg Dening's preface to Mr Bligh's Bad Language on history as a theatrical performance? (I don't have my library with me, so all I can remember properly right now is the line: "the past is not us in funny dress".)

Alison Croggon said...

Thanks Ben - my pleasure! And it's good to know all those furious arguments are interesting - you should get in there too.

Perhaps you could fly in for Sunday? I'm a bit scared that the Merlyn will seem hauntingly empty - we'll just have to try to fill it with talk. Being there is just one of those things; it was originally planned for the Beckett. I haven't read Dening's book, I blush to admit, though it's been on my list for a long time. It now seems like even more essential reading. I'll try to find some time.

I hope Paris is proving fun. I hear there's a wonderful Bonnard exhibition on there at present...

Chris Boyd said...
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Chris Boyd said...

I love reading Ben's rants about anything and everything... ugly BBC cable viewers to ugly 'Prime Miniatures'. He's so bloody fearless. I also read Zay Amsbury (from time to time) agonising about writing his plays at -- a quite different playwright blog.

Given the general attitude to the performing arts in the media -- they're too parochial, nobody goes, who cares -- I must say I've been amazed at just how global the theatre community is. And how vital. (Monstrous hunger in the belly, no doubt!) And how easy it has been to engage in worthwhile debate across continents.

At the risk of turning this into a mutual admiration exercise, this blog, Alison, is the only one I couldn't live without.

Hey and I've got that quotation:

"I am not much for re-enactments. Re-enactments tend to hallucinate a past as merely the present in funny dress. They give modernity and fashion a filip by making the past look quaint. They patronise the human condition in hindsighted superiority. They remove the responsibility of remedying the present by distracted, unreflective search for details of a past whose remedying will make no difference."

Alison Croggon said...

Thanks for the buffing Chris, I feel very polished! -and much appreciated - well, theatre is local, for sure, and necessarily, but it needn't be parochial. I think one of the beauties of theatre blogs is that we're all talking about something that is, by its nature, about the necessity of physical presence - the specific embodied experience, located in time and space - here in disembodied virtual space. I find it kind of intriguing. And there's something very good and potentially fertile about that contradiction.

And thanks very much too for the quote - it's a good one, and I've written it down. I might even use it... I'm not proud!