Acknowledging defeat ~ theatre notes

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Acknowledging defeat

Dear everybody: as we all know, good intentions are the road to hell. And Ms TN is full of good intentions. I wrote them all out this morning, having cleared some space to catch up on the shows I've seen and not written about. And I realised I have to face the fact that I simply can't do everything I would like to: it's not really a question of time, but of mental energy. The truth is, as I have said in serial posts, that this has been a crazy year, and I have been writing like a maniac, and the sort of tiredness this induces is cumulative. The past month has been especially bonkers. Which isn't helped by sudden obsessions, like writing this review on Poetry, truthfulness and political speech.

For the past few months I've been trying to keep all the balls in the air, but a big part of the problem for me is that I just can't see the point of half-doing anything. I hate half-doing this blog, which is what has been happening because of everything else.

So here are the shows I've seen and not reviewed: Doku Rai at North Melbourne Arts House, Pale Blue Dot at Helium at the Malthouse, Angela's Kitchen at Malthouse Theatre, Happy Ending at the Melbourne Theatre Company, and the Eifman Ballet's Anna Karenin and Tchaikovsky. All of them were interesting, and deserve proper responses. I recommend all the shows that are still on: Angela's Kitchen begins as a conventional immigrant story about Paul Capsis's Maltese background and ends in a wholly unexpected place, both theatrically and emotionally, as a meditation on transience and grief; Pale Blue Dot is a fascinating movement piece which cuts together meditations on photography, film, space exploration to create a theatrical picture of consciousness and memory; Happy Ending is a slyly hilarious play about sexuality, women and cultural misunderstanding. I'm also booked to see Pinnochio at the Malthouse and Caryl Churchill's Top Girls this week, and the Melbourne Fringe is about to launch like a juggernaut.

Also, not unimportantly, I have this novel to write, and that has been suffering most of all. So I've made a stern and, in truth, rather difficult decision: TN will close down for the next month, and I won't be posting until the Melbourne Festival opens on October 11. I'll do my usual blanket coverage of festival shows, and then perhaps I might be able to strike some kind of (ha!) balance. I still have to finish this novel, and I have to make it a first priority. I'm happy to be asked to shows, for future reference: but for the meantime I won't be writing about them. Don't take this as a statement of intention about Theatre Notes: it's not. But I'm going fishing.

PS: Yes, I'll still be on twitter at @alisoncroggon. And will tweet any shows I see.  No substitute for considered comment, I know, but less exhausting!


Helen Lowe said...


I think everyone trying to write novels, blog, tweet and also be part of real-time life, well understands "For the past few months I've been trying to keep all the balls in the air" and not quite getting there. And the novel suffering the most is possibly 'not the go.'

Enjoy your month and, I hope, the novel writing.

Alison Croggon said...

Thanks Helen - indeed! That's supposed to be my day job. But I also had a little halt while I rearranged my ideas, so it isn't just over-commitment. The rest is, unfortunately.

Gustavo von Bischoffshausen said...

Keeping together mental health, life and work above all. Have a good month. From Lima. Gustavo

Alison Croggon said...

Thank you, Gustavo!