Bits and bobs ~ theatre notes

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bits and bobs

It's often hard to run down the arts angle on Federal Budgets. But in today's Australian, Corrie Perkin chases up arts reaction to Treasurer Wayne Swann's first Budget, handed down on Tuesday night. It's pretty much as expected: business as usual, with some small winners - Indigenous arts, young artists - and few big losers aside from regional Australia, where funding was - shortsightedly, in my opinion - cut. I think it's pretty much wait and see: I'd agree with those who think that next year's Budget will be the one to watch as far as the arts are concerned. (Update: The Pickard Pen has been scratching out more commentary, and more detail, at Arts Journalist).

I haven't spotted any coverage in the Age, though there might have been a par or two in the print edition. But I did stumble across Robin Usher's shameless regurgitation of a press release I received this week from the MTC, which I note for the record. (Update a day later: a budget report by Jo Roberts is in today's edition).

Meanwhile, long-time readers of this blog might recall the controversy when the New York Theatre Workshop permanently postponed a Royal Court production of My Name is Rachel Corrie, a play by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner drawn from the diaries of a young American activist who was killed in Palestine by an Israeli bulldozer. While I personally wished the controversy was around a better artistic object, it did highlight some bitter running sores in public debate around the Middle East. And some interesting issues in relation to theatre itself.

Two years later, it's premiering in Sydney, courtesy of young director Shannon Murphy, and as Nick Pickard reports, is causing some pre-emptively emotive reactions, which were republished in the Australian on the day the show was to open. The audience is, says Cynthia Ozick of the Zionist ezine Israel News, "at a show trial. And there are Jews in the dock". Picket lines in Sydney? I wonder. To be honest, I would be surprised: but one never knows.

And don't forget the Next Wave Festival, which opens today to showcase the talents of Melbourne's young artists. The program boasts some fascinating-looking performance, and I'm kind of wincing, because I'm going to miss all of it. But that doesn't mean that you should: I'd be checking out North Melbourne Arts House 180 Seconds in Heaven or Hell, for instance, or Eddie Sharp's The Tent or, actually, any of those intriguing-looking shows. Tell me how it went.

Which leads me to the personal. After two weeks battling mediaeval levels of pain - nothing serious, just problems with teeth - Ms TN is taking it easy theatre-wise for a couple of weeks. I've had it, guys. I'll be here and there, but mostly at home threatening the kids. My apologies to those I've mucked around recently, but a woman's got to know her limitations, and at the moment my face is shoved into mine. I'll surge back when I get a new head.

1 comment:

sydney arts journo said...

No real budget coverage in the Sydney Morning Herald either apart from a small article today from the ever trusty Clare Morgan.

(I imagine she must have had to fight tooth and nail to get that space.)

The Australian Financial Review did a small article, but The Australian came out on top ... that's if you don't count blogs and online news sources ...

My predictions are already happening ... but then again I'm biased.