Newsy bits ~ theatre notes

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Newsy bits

TN has got a little behind lately on various Bits, but I'm not going to make any more mimsy excuses. You all know why, and if you don't, well, it's not because I haven't been complaining. Below the fold, as they say, is a quick catch-up for all you breathless thespian newshounds snuffling at the door of the nouvelle...

  • La Mama Theatre has been getting a fair bit of coverage lately, reminding us all why it ill deserves its current "on notice" status at the Australia Council (news broken, sort of, by TN last year). The latest mark of its value as theatrical gem is La Mama dominating the Best New Australian Play category in the 2006 Green Room awards, with three of the five plays nominated being La Mama productions: Debt by Gabrielle Macdonald, Haul Away by Glynis Angell and The Pitch by Peter Houghton (which coincidentally opens in a new season at the Malthouse next week, where I will catch up with it). The other nominations are Stephen Sewell's It Just Stopped (Malthouse) and Joanna Murray-Smith's The Female of the Species (MTC). Hmmm. Guess I'm barracking for La Mama. In all, La Mama received 12 nominations across all categories.
  • Over in New York, George Hunka has joined the rest of us hoi polloi, and has moved the premises of the excellent Superfluities to Blogger. So note the address change. And while you're noting, note also his thoughts on theatre blogging, prompted by a blogging panel (we're a bit behind here, we don't have blogging panels. Yet.) Mr Hunka makes a clarion call for the blogosphere to leave its adolescence and grow up by providing a serious space for serious discussion about theatre, as no longer practised in what we new media types call the Mainstream Media (MSM to the cognoscenti). "If the arts blogosphere is to provide that space for the criticism and reviews that have fallen into disfavor in the print media, it has to begin providing the quality of criticism and thinking about theatre that critics like Gilman, Eric Bentley and Robert Brustein demonstrated," says The Man. Too right, say I. SF Weekly theatre critic Chloe Veltman has her own view: "Arts coverage is disappearing from 'old' media and moving increasingly online," she says on her blog. "The most interesting cultural journalism is happening online these days, on blogs and in the pages of web 'zines." Not least in sunny Melbourne, where it's all happening. Which brings me to...
  • Spark Online, a blog established by the Victorian College of the Arts student arm, includes reviews, poetry, scripts and news of upcoming VCA events (put that rare performance of Hélène Cixous's The Perjured City in your diary). The theatre reviews are very impressive: probing, serious and well written. Another source of local reviews that are a cut above the usual is Matthew Clayfield's Esoteric Rabbit; Matthew is presently infiltrating Melbourne Stage Online with his dangerously thoughtful responses. Go Melbourne, city of glittering conversation!
  • It seems that some nudity in Sir Ian McKellan's performance of Lear is causing a little consternation in Stratford-Upon-Avon, with theatregoers reporting "dismay" at the fact that they were not warned that they would get to witness Sir Ian's jiggly bits. Will Melburnians blink when the RSC production comes here in July? Expect to see the Arts Centre plastered with warning signs for delicate arts consumers - there's eye gouging, adultery and excess poetry as well as nudity, you know...
  • And a PS: a whack on my forehead for being parochial - I shouldn't forget Sydney, where the blogscene is beginning to spark... After a bad time at The Nightwatchman at the Griffin, Nicholas Pickard has a passionate post in which he thinks through how his responses to theatre stem from his own preoccupations as a director. Here he discusses his belief that a "plague of realism" is infecting Australian directing. Meanwhile, David Williams, director of Sydney performance group Version 1.0, has begun his own blog, Compromise is Our Business, which is well worth a squiz or two: it includes discussions of shows (a review of Chunky Move's Glow) and some illuminating and even amusing reflections on politics and theatre. (Will update my blogroll soon, promise...)

4 comments:

Mr White said...

This Pickard fellow is bitter. What a personal and oh so vain'review'. Let's hope his directing is better.

Geoffrey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alison Croggon said...

Hmm. Let's not get personal, guys. Nicholas has every right to think and write what he likes; others have every right to disagree, as in fact I do, with what he says. Provocative viewpoints - and I think it's fair to say that Nicholas is provocative - are going to provoke. But preferably discussion, which is positive, rather than flame wars, which waste everybody's time.

Matthew said...

Thanks for the plug, Alison. For the record, I think you're the bee's knees.