Chat amongst yourselves... ~ theatre notes

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Chat amongst yourselves...

Ms TN is in another world at present, at Stage 2 of the endless project of Completing The Novel. Stages 3 and 4 involve copy-editing and proofing. Stage 5 is when the book is held firmly in my hot little hand, around June next year, I think. Remind me next time I speak blithely of things novelish that the last time I had this bright idea, I sentenced myself to seven years' hard labour. (OK, I admit, it's really not that bad - I'm actually quite excited at the moment; I just feel obliged to follow the ancient authorial tradition of complaint.)

Fortunately, my fellow bloggers are filling in any airtime I leave free with some fascinating discussions. The Guardian theatre blog page is becoming a must read: it is being colonised by some of my favourite bloggers. George Hunka makes his debut today with a piece on playwrights whose work is more often performed outside their home country, including our own Daniel Keene; and Andrew Haydon continues a series of debates on the relationship between theatre and politics with a post on "a state of near civil war" he perceives in British theatre at present between "proper theatre" and what is, I suppose, improper theatre.

I can't resist adding here that in Europe, Australia has always been linked with impropriety: as the critic Louis Armand says, "Australia, it should be remembered, was first and foremost the destination of those who were considered to have insulted the law of property, it was dispossessed of those who failed to recognise the law of property, while [the environment] itself was consistently hostile to the idea of property - just as it has always been hostile to an aesthetics of the 'proper'." Of course, this is only partly true: colonial anxiety has also made some aspects of Australia proper to the point of vulgarity. But the strangely fraught question of what is "proper theatre" strikes me as being as of much interest in these here parts as it is in the northern hemisphere.

4 comments:

Jana said...

As always, I would be very careful about saying 'Europe' if I might, in fact, mean 'Britain'. In ex-Yugoslavia, for example, socialism has done away with the proper, and formal innovation has been a sign of good citizenship since the 1960s. I believe the same is the case for a great deal of Germany, and perhaps France. The conflict there now may be between this formal elitism and the new pop instead.

I am more than slightly out of touch, though. I'd love to be corrected, informed, instructed.

Alison Croggon said...

Fair point, Jana. How about "Europe" there being code for "Western Europe from around 1800" instead?

Matthew said...

Very specific code, Ms. C...

I can't wait to get back to Melbourne. Art is a much more interesting endeavour.

Jana said...

You hit the nail on the head, Ms Croggon.

Wouldn't it be time we establish some real contact with our antipodean brethren? Your Guardian blog gig is certainly a step in the right direction ;) (Not that I'm particularly Australian at the moment, mind you. We'll see in a couple of weeks.)