STC saga #354 ~ theatre notes

Thursday, November 01, 2007

STC saga #354

Boy, they like a good feeding frenzy up in Sydney. Nicholas Pickard is doing a good job of logging the controversy. Meanwhile, the latest STC savaging comes courtesy of Diana Simmonds in Stage Noise, under the somewhat ambiguous heading "Give Colin the clap". Below is a tidied-up version of my response in TN comments:

I guess the real task is sorting out the valid criticisms from the bile.

Simmonds' comment here - "Moody will be painted as a malcontent in public and as a hero in corners where he will be surreptitiously patted on the back. Meanwhile, his former colleagues who are enjoying the rare experience of a steady job and decent salary will toe the line and work their arses off as they have been for the past couple of years." - is, I know, complete rubbish. The reaction to Moody's comments, especially from those "insiders" critical of the STC, has been dismay. Why? Because it makes it so much harder to address the real issues.

For what it's worth, I think the questions of artistic leadership, the critique of the importation of second-rung directors, the issue of the "treadmill" and the central issue of artistic vision are things that invite discussion. The 2008 program - especially the Actors Company part of it - promises some real vision. And I'm kind of wondering, looking at those hyping Gale Edwards and Rodney Fisher - let's face it, not the most exciting directors on earth - whether this vision might not well be part of the real problem. It seems to me that there are some outspoken voices who want their theatre nice, and want to get rid of adventurers like Kosky, and any excuse will do.

Frankly, I think if they succeed, it will be a tragedy. Do you really want a straight diet of Noel Coward, dead plays and musicals up there? Not that there's anything wrong with Coward, or musicals, in a balanced menu; but I rather think that's the subtext.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

The only comment in the Simmonds diatribe that rings true is that Moody has managed to drum up far more free publicity for his co-op production than would have ever happened in a million years without his denigration of his former employer. No prizes for guessing what sort of a review it will be receiving from DS!

Anonymous said...

Simmonds makes many valid point which are lost on some bloggers, comon Hallett makes informed and fair-minded comments and the things he raises deserve to be discussed but nevin doesn't venture in probably have a good times overseas at taxpayers expense

Alison Croggon said...

Uh - let's hear what those valid points are, then. I've named some of them above.

Andrew Haydon said...

Looks like Michael Billington has been reading your blog too, Alison.

lawrence said...

To anonymous at 2:11---
I doubt if the 7.9% of funding STC receives from the taxpayer would buy much of a good time in New York...7.9% of a hotel bill and plane ticket doesn't get you far...and I dare say the taxes Blanchett pays add up to far more the company receives from the public purse...

Alison Croggon said...

Hi, Andrew. (Excuse me while I preen.) Actually, even if Billington does read TN, there's not a lot of evidence there. I'm sure he has his own Sydney contacts, and we both think the program is interesting for completely different reasons.

Anonymous said...

I agree the Billington piece is great. His only error is in attributing Nevin's final season and personal program choices to the incoming team of artistic directors.

sydney arts journo said...

I actually found Billington's piece a bit off-putting...

A UK theatre critic not only passing judgement on our local industry... (Imagine Bryce Hallett or John McCallum writing an opinion piece about who the Old Vic appoints as AD)... but also making a major error as mentioned by anonymous #3.

It's a pretty good guage of how removed he is from the scene.

Alison Croggon said...

I don't agree, actually: don't you think it's interesting that Australian theatre should be discussed in the international arena? It has nothing to fear there, so far as I can see.

Why shouldn't Bryce Hallett or John McCallum have an opinion on the London theatre scene? I have a number of them...!! Which probably would be sternly corrected, should I care to air them, but hey, I can read texts and keep up to some extent, even at a distance. Besides which, Billington is eminently qualified to comment on the British directors he mentioned, since he's intimately familiar with his work - more than Bryce Hallett and John McCallum, dare I say. And if he makes a mistake, well, he will be corrected...

Ms Haversham said...

I agree with you Alison. Having lived in New York for a few years when (the excellent) Frank Rich was the critic for the NY Times, it was always fascinating when he did an annual appraisal of the West End plays, seen through the prism of a Broadway critic. Bring on the free and frank exchange of ideas in the English-speaking theatre!