Malthouse 2013 ~ theatre notes

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Malthouse 2013

'Tis the season for theatre launches, which gives Ms TN ample opportunity to exploit her genius for SNAFU. Recently my trigger finger gave the MTC's pr department conniptions by blithely tweeting their entire Neon season before its formal announcement. (Lucky you can delete tweets, huh?) The Malthouse wisely emailed the preview of its season with a big sign saying EMBARGO that even I couldn't miss. In this case I told everybody that I was going to the launch last Thursday, when it was in fact last night. This tells you everything you need to know about my present state of mental dishabille. Anyway, I have checked the date three times and am almost sure that I can now write about it.

Meredith Penman and Karen Sibbing in Adena Jacob's Persona

2013 features some eye-catching shows. It looks like Marion Potts's strongest, and certainly most diverse, season so far. To almost nobody's surprise, given the persistent rumours that Persona would return next year (and given it wasn't in the MTC's season), Adena Jacob's brilliant production is getting a run at the Beckett. If you missed its Theatre Works season (or even if you didn't), this is a must see: it's probably my show of the year so far, even with some stiff competition. Michael Kantor is back at his old stamping ground with an ambitious reworking of King Lear, The Shadow King. This will be performed in a mixture of Indigenous languages and modern English, and has been created in close collaboration with Elders. Again, a must-see. Likewise, mark your diaries for a new show on superheroes by Back to Back Theatre, Laser Beak Man, which promises "parallel realities": well, that's what you always get with Back to Back, surely our most significant independent theatre company.

There's a wide range of plays, which together reflect an overt political engagement. The season opens with the timely return of Stephen Sewell's 1990s play Hate, a work that critiques the dynasties of political and corporate power. Look out for Matt Lutton's production of Friedrich Dürrenmatt's Dance of Death. Darkly, wickedly, despairingly funny, Dürrenmatt is yet another playwright done all too seldom on our stages. Marion Potts is directing Evgeny Shvarz's The Dragon, a play and playwright with which I am completely unfamiliar. This was premiered in 1944, at the height of Soviet Stalinism, and is a fairytale satire on totalitarianism. Also reaching beyond the Anglosphere is a premiere of Iranian Nassim Soleimanpour's White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, which appears to be an exploration of scripted improvisation. On the feminist front, Van Badham has adapted Angela Carter's explorations of the legend of Bluebeard for The Bloody Chamber.

Intriguingly, Lally Katz is stepping forward as a performer, and presenting a one-woman show, Stories I Want to Tell You in Person. I have no idea at all what that will be like, but I can't imagine that anyone will want to miss it. Other performance includes a puppetry show for young people, Hard Rubbish, by Men of Steel, which pits Ikea against old, unloved furniture. And excitingly, Dance Massive is back, with works by Chunky Move's new director Anouk van Dijk, 247 Days, and Larissa McGowan, Skeleton.

In short, get to it. You can explore the Season 2013 online here.


Born Dancin' said...

I've read White Rabbit, Red Rabbit. I strongly and sincerely recommend NOT reading anything about it, anywhere, for fear of spoilers. It's an astonishing and ambitious and very, very intricate experiment. No idea whether it will work but that's partly the point.

Alison Croggon said...

Fascinating! Thanks John. I did wonder if it bore any relation to some of Tim Crouch's work, but will wait and see...