Friday, August 9, 2019

August 9. Day 220. Cock fight

Paddy Farrelly, Julian Curtis, Derek Draper and Ashlee lollback  in action
There's no-where to hide in the script. The stage directions are as follows "There is no scenery, no props, no furniture and no mine. Instead the focus is entirely on the drama of the scene." In fact, only one of the four characters, John, even gets a name. The others are M, F and W. Playwright Mike Bartlett puts all the work on the actors and director. Cock is very much a play about people and relationships and nothing will stand in the way of that. It's noon in the Gaelic Football Association Grounds at Willawong. Here the fields are home to intense football battles but today the action is in the clubhouse where rehearsals for Cock are well underway. Director Helen Howard says she is excited to bring "this amazing play" to life. The title, she admits is deliberately provocative saying Bartlett is an extraordinary wordsmith.  "It's in the punctuation and the pauses and the gaps and the silences,'" she says of the writing. The taunts and the rhythms of words - at time sparse and at times poetic - have intense power, Helen says. Cock is the story of a young man torn between his long-term male partner and a new female love interest. The father of one of the men completes the cast.  Cock is about the fight between the characters. "It's a bit like throwing a drop of acid into some lives to take away all the shit .. and reveal the bones of the relationships underneath," says Helen. Derek Draper, a co-producer of Cock who also plays M, agrees while the title of the play may be an euphemism. But he says he believes Bartlett was fascinated with the fight for futures and emotions are played out in an arena.  This is not about winners or losers because any victory will be pyrrhic. "He goes quite literally into the cock ring," says Derek. "People can assume anything whatever they like about that term but it basically means there is a ring of drama which Bartlett has drawn our attention to and I think he was thinking as much about cock fights as any part of the male anatomy." Helen adds that it is refined rather than in-your-face or vulgar. "It is refined. It is shocking in tis emotional story rather than any references to sex. Though, I must tell you it's got the best sex scene I've ever read." Both agree that it is the job of the independent sector - such as Bosco productions to present works like Cock. Audiences who give it a go will not be disappointed, says Helen. "When you get a play written by a writer like Bartlett, do you dare stay away?" Helen asks. "Because you will be changed by it."
Cock will be performed at Metro Arts August 21-31. The full interview with Helen and Derek can be heard here.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

August 6. Day 217. New directions

Joanna Murray-Smith
Joanna Murray-Smith is looking remarkably calm considering what she's got on this month. The screen writer's new Australian flick Palm Beach opened on cinema screens across the country the same day as she made her directorial debut at the Queensland Performing Arts with Queensland Theatre's L'Appartement. It's probably just as well she survives on very little sleep. "Because I'm an insomniac, I sort of have about four hours of unconsciousness and otherwise I'm thinking and immersed in the play."
Although L'Appartement is Murray-Smith's 23rd play, this is the first time she has donned the director's hat at the "slightly audacious" invitation of Queensland Theatre's Artistic Director Sam Strong.
"I've been kind of motivated since my mother died a few years ago to sort of seize the moment," she confesses.
Andrew and Liz Buchanan
And seize it she did. L'Appartement is smart, slick and captivating from start to finish.
It's set in a swanky, perfect Paris AirBnB , an aspirational house just like the beach-front mansion in Palm Beach.  With just a touch of irritation, Murray Smith observes she is often pilliaried for writing privileged, urban educated people while others such as Edward Albee is celebrated.
But while the houses and the people may appear picture perfect, Murray-Smith is interested in scratching to see what is under the surface - the fracturing relationships of people staying within. She found inspiration in a recent Paris holiday with her daughter.
Pacharo Mzembe and Melanie Zanetti Andrew and Liz Buchanan and 
"I began to think about the interaction between aesthetics and comfort and people who live their life according to the structure of beauty and those who are more inclined to the mess of human life."
In L'Appartement, this is explored in the interplay between the Australian parents of three-year-old twins (played by real life couple Andrew and Liz Buchanan) and their French hosts (played by Pacharo Mzembe and Melanie Zanetti).

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

July 24. Day 204. Feeding time

Two things happened whenever I visit Margaret. I get a report on what she's eating, generally in great detail. She likes things the way she likes things. She will give instructions on sandwich making, on the temperature of tea and how she never, ever wants brocolli or soup ("I only ever eat Campbell's)..
But there are also details on the eating pattens on the birds. The noisy miners (addressed as tweety, tweeties) like cake and biscuits. The butcher birds (butchey, butcheys) take their mince and break it up on the edge of the balcony. The magpies have families they take off to feed. The crows come early and so it goes. It is a routine that means so much to her. And the birds are clearly happy and confident. Some come into the room. They all come right up to the door and she talks to them. It really is a sight to be seen.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

July 23. Day 203. Forever blowing bubbles

West End, Brisbane. Always changing. Always surprising. In parts has some of the most aspirational properties in Brisbane. Swanky units on the river in walking distance to the city. But the hippy, alternative side of West End is still there. The Greek influence is still there and it has always been home to a large Indigenous population.  It's a melting pot of old and new; the same and evolving. West Village is new... and controversial. But the Common and the Light Garden ... it's hard to argue with that. It's a wee bit magical. I like the atmosphere and the water gardens. It's part of the changing beauty.

Monday, July 22, 2019

July 22. Day 202. Wheelie nice night

I pretty sure The Wheel of Brisbane was supposed to be temporary. 
It would seem to me it's about as temporary as my weight gain. That is, it doesn't seem to be going anywhere in a hurry. 
I'm much more fine with the wheel than I am with the thighs.
It's delightful, especially at night under lights. 
It's pretty as.
Monday nights I'm always at the ABC and I get the chance for an up close and personal. 
What strikes me is that although pretty much everyone agrees it looks great no-one seems to be in it.
Which only makes you wonder how the wheel continues to spin. I mean, it can't run on the energy stored on my thighs, more's the pity.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

July 21. Day 201. Laugh kookaburra, laugh

The kookaburra used to spend a lot of time in our street. 
Well why wouldn't they when Margaret operated a fly in restaurant service. 
But it is approaching a year since she moved into care and in that time the laugh has been subdued somewhat. 
We hear them but they are further away than they used to be.
Not today. 
On the polls outside our house there was at one, then two and then three. 
They sat there as they used to and they laughed and laughed. 
God I love those birds. 
They are such beautiful birds, strong and majestic but happy and friendly... and that's just one. 
When there's three that's a triple threat, actually that's a triple treat.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

July 20. Day 200. Study your options

Tertiary Studies Expo. An annual call of duty.
IT was much quieter than normal in my tent this afternoon. We reckon, a certain music festival might have proven a bigger draw card than anything the combined pull of a few university stands could muster.
So my camera and I went walking. I love to see all the exciting things students these says could study should they choose.
It's a bit of a shame there weren't more students of the future to check out the options. May be next year, as they sayin the classics.