So, that was a blast ~ theatre notes

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

So, that was a blast

Despite Melbourne's uncertain spring, Ms TN had a most excellent adventure at the 2012 Melbourne Festival, Brett Sheehy's last before he takes up the reins as AD of the Melbourne Theatre Company. Sheehy opted to go out with a bang: general agreement dubbed this his best festival so far. An important part of this success was the Festival Hub by Princes Bridge, which provided the social heart an event like this needs: a multicoloured purpose-built three-storey structure with a cheap bar, food and entertainment, it was packed out every time I went.

If you check out the archives for October, you'll see why I enjoyed myself. Part of the festival experience is missing the show that everyone else declares The Thing, and there was a bit of that. But even so, I saw work that, that like The Rabble's Orlando, inspired passionate response, or addressed profound contemporary anxiety, like Schaub├╝hne Berlin's An Enemy of the People, or prompted intense debate, such as with Chunky Move's An Act of Now. The program was various and exciting, reaching into Melbourne's independent performance scene: Dancehouse's fascinating minimalist season, Dance Territories and Arena Theatre's gorgeous fantasy house for children jostled against international works like Williams Forsythe's far from minimalist I Don't Believe in Outer Space, to create a sense of depth as well as breadth.

I wasn't so enamoured of the contemporary opera, The Minotaur Trilogy and After Life; but, as always, not everyone agreed with me. It's been a while since I've had such interesting and demanding discussions about performance, which is a tribute to the program: it generated an energy and engagement that I associate with the most successful festivals. Thanks to all of those who came along for the ride on TN, or who buttonholed me offline for arguments over a bevvie or three. It's been a blast.

For me, October was a holiday, albeit a rather exhausting one: I let everything else drop and was just a Crrritic for three weeks. I'm still a bit beat, truth be told (but in a good way). Now I'm back at my desk, in novel mode: the current novel is perhaps half written, and I would dearly love to finish it by the end of the year. That means at least another 40,000 words. So it's back to my (so far spectacularly unsuccessful) balancing act. Even so, I'll be aiming to post a review a week here, if the mind/body/spirit complex co-operates. Onward!

No comments: