Ketchup ~ theatre notes

Monday, May 04, 2009


Or was that catch-up? Or just sauce? Ms TN is getting very behind, wandering off on the Primrose Path of Good Intentions while up-to-the-minute press releases sob forlornly in her inbox. I bame all you keen commentators, who are making the blog so interesting at present that I forget about other things. All the same, I feel obliged, for example, to say something about the 2020 Summit, now that Mr Rudd has sent a nice email to all us summiteers and some hardworking bureaucrats have slogged through all the proposals, marking them with ticks or crosses or maybes. The government responses are here.

I read the Creative Australia document and I think a Children's Channel is an excellent idea, as is the artists-in-residence scheme for state schools, and I'm glad they're being done; and some of the marginalia about what wonderful things the Rudd Government is doing for Creative Australia - given several simultaneous government proposals, like abolishing Territorial Copyright for Australian writers, or the unworkable plan to censor the internet, or the general outcry about saving the children of Australia from paedophile artists - make me see red spots; but what happens when I start thinking, oh, I should write some kind of judicious analysis, is that my brain goes crackle ftz zzzzzz... So I think you should read it all and form your own opinions and write them below, to save me the trouble.

Meanwhile, the Malthouse/Belvoir St production of Exit The King continues its triumphal progress on Broadway, with four nominations for the 54th Drama Desk Awards. They are for outstanding revival, outstanding actor, outstanding featured actress and outstanding set design. Which is pretty cool, and figures as a very big feather in Neil Armfield's hat. And which reminds me that the Malthouse's second 2009 season is being launched tonight, and Ms TN will bring you all the guff tomorrow.

I'm sure there's more, but I have to go and wash my hair. Mainly to get over the Logies, which I watched for the first time in my life last night, and which made me realise how much I miss by not watching Australian commercial television. It was notable for some amazingly awful frocks: at one point Gretel Killeen looked as if she were being eaten alive by an alien sea cucumber. I thought Kat Stewart (a theatre actor, so we can all take credit) showed up everyone except the inimitable Annie Lennox in the drop-dead glam stakes, but she didn't make the Age's best dressed list, while the salmon-pink satin upholstery that encased Jennifer Hawkins did. But then, what would I know? Over and out...


Anonymous said...

Oh. Oh dear.


Jake said...

I only caught about forty-five minutes, but surely nothing could top the speech by Bill Collins, a splendid defense of the value of art from a genuine eccentric who would never have been signed up by today's timid TV producers. A highlight: the declaration that he and his wife bonded over their love for Hitchcock's The Lodger ("It's about Jack the Ripper!"). But those who missed it can find the whole thing on YouTube. The rest was car-crash television: I could swear that the Umbilical Brothers, among others, were faced with last-minute instructions to pad out their lame comedy bits just to keep Gretel off the stage. In between that and Borat on Channel Ten, a great night of telly for connoisseurs of the comedy of embarrassment.

Alison Croggon said...

Yes, dear Bill Collins. I was fascinated that he hosted the only tv showing of Wake In Fright, because I saw it, blithely unaware that it was such a rare experience (and on the brink of being lost altogether - all too common a story in Australian culture) - until now, of course, when we can all get it on dvd soon. Which I will.

Jake said...

Hopefully it'll be at MIFF -- I've never seen it, so I'm excited either way.

Oh, and when you say this is the first time you watched the Logies, did you mean that you missed Joan Rivers in 2006? If so:

Best international guest ever.

Ethel Malley said...

We can hope Wake in Fright will be on at the Melbourne Film Festival, but don't hang by your thumbs, as my old mum used to say. MIFF has for years banned retrospectives of feature films people would actually go to see, so they instead have worthy things like "the first feature produced in Laos", or "Kuomintang Instructional Films of the Interregnum". When nobody goes, they say there's no demand for "old films". (This apparently doesn't apply to blurry performance films - oh sorry, JAZZ performance films, preferably in grey 16mm damaged prints. Recently restored films of theatrical performances are not even on the radar, of course.) And any sumptuously restored 35mm prints with incandescent performance power by Bergman or Kurosawa - well, you can watch those at home on SBS, littered with erectile dysfunction ads. Film Festival HA! [Bette Davis intonation].

Hey, anyone going to the UK National Theatre hard-drive screening of Ted Hughes' adaptation of Phedre with H Mirren, M Tyzack dir. N Hytner, screening even in Melbourne for 2 showings in early July? This is my idea of a good time. Well one of them, anyway. Ideas, I mean.

Alison Croggon said...

Or buy the dvds, which is what I do... And really? I'll have to follow that up. That's my idea of a good time too. Recently we had a mini Lindsay Anderson festival (If... and O Lucky Man) and frankly it's hard to get too much of Helen Mirren.

richardwatts said...

"MIFF has for years banned retrospectives of feature films people would actually go to see, so they instead have worthy things like "the first feature produced in Laos", or "Kuomintang Instructional Films of the Interregnum"."

What rot, Ethel. Last year's MIFF screened an excellent retrospective collection of Ozploitation films; and in previous years the festival has shown restored prints of Australian classics such as Pure Shit and They're a Wierd Mob, and much more.

Jake said...

As far as retrospectives go, MIFF 2008 was a big improvement on previous years, but broadly I'm with Ethel. I thought the Ozploitation selection was uninspired -- MUFF did much better in its inaugural year. The Yang and Romero seasons were on target, but when was the last time MIFF highlighted a director from the pre-1960s era?

Apologies for hashing this out on a theatre blog, but the subject doesn't come up anywhere as often as it should.

Anonymous said...

CINEMA NOVA exclusive Q&A for WAKE IN FRIGHT Tuesday June 16, 6.30pm

More details

An exclusive ‘in discussion’ event with director Ted Kotcheff & editor Anthony Buckley of the 1971 cult film WAKE IN FRIGHT in fully restored 35mm print. Moderated by director Mark Hartley (NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF OZPLOITATION). In association with the Sydney Film Festival.

WAKE IN FRIGHT is screening at Cannes 2009 after director Ted Kotcheff was nominated for a Golden Palm at the 1971 festival. Kotcheff went on to direct Fun with Dick and Jane (1977), Rambo First Blood (1982), and Weekend at Bernie's (1988).