A Singer’s Warmup? There’s an app for that.

Ed: Thanks to Queensland Conservatorium final year Musical Theatre major Connor Sweeney who has road-tested a couple of popular vocal warmup apps for Greenroom. Connor has indicated the pros and cons of each in the article below. By the way, there are lots and lots out there. Check the link at the end of the article. Thanks, Connor.

A performer’s warm up should leave him or her in a focused, optimistic emotional state, with awareness of the body’s strengths and weaknesses to work on for the day. A good warmup needs to be more than a hasty throat clearing after the first cappuccino of the day. Continue reading A Singer’s Warmup? There’s an app for that.

When a dream becomes a reality – Zachary Denman (Interview 43)

Ed: Zach Denman is a young man just beginning his career in one of the most challenging of all for a performing artist – the musical theatre.  Like many of those ‘triple threats’ – singer, actor, dancers – he has his eye firmly set on Broadway. Recently, he had the opportunity to get a brief taste of what that life could be like. I asked Zach if he would write a piece for Greenroom. He graciously agreed. Here he is, in his own words.

“Many say that life is all about going after what you want most in this world.  However, the problem most have is that, when they finally discover what it is they really want, they think it’s far too extraordinary thus unachievable and so it remains an illusion, a dream. Well my dream was to sing, act and dance on Broadway and over the last month that dream has become a reality. Continue reading When a dream becomes a reality – Zachary Denman (Interview 43)

Review: Goodbye Miss Monroe – danceAtlas at Metro Arts

Image: Liam de Burca – Matt Young and Anna Burgess

In art and in life there are truths and there are ‘truths’. The former is a universal concept of pure objective fact – acceptable or otherwise -to all who cross its path. The latter is a more personal, subtle idea influenced by our individual subjective life experiences. Through Good-bye Miss Monroe, playwright Liam de Burca thoroughly examines both of these definitions of truth through the lens of American dance director, Jack Cole. Continue reading Review: Goodbye Miss Monroe – danceAtlas at Metro Arts

Review: Miss Garland at Twilight: USQ Arts Theatre (Toowoomba)

Image: Cindy Laine, USQ Photography.

I’ve had a lot of chats with a lot of different grandmas over the course of my journalistic career.

Grandmas who sent husbands off to war, never to see them again. Grandmas who survived the Depression, grandmas forgotten by their children, grandmas befuddled by a rapidly changing world.

Some grandmas are funny, some are sad. But spend some time with grandmas – really give them your ear – and they all have a few things in common. They will talk of days gone by, they will reminisce about their childhood, they will tell stories of people you don’t know, they will show you the treasures accumulated over their lives, they will ponder the choices they made and the roads they travelled, they may even break into song.

Now just imagine “grandma” is the icon of long-ago Hollywood, the infamous Judy Garland. We’d all love to have a chat with her, right? Well, Bernadette Meenach gave audiences that chance in her self-devised show Ms Garland at Twilight at the University of Southern Queensland on Wednesday, September 4. Continue reading Review: Miss Garland at Twilight: USQ Arts Theatre (Toowoomba)

Witness Relocation and Me

David Burton

I asked David Burton if he would write a piece for Greenroom on the recent experience he had with the Witness Relocation workshop held as part of QTC’s Greenhouse Program. Dave very generously agreed to do this and to share his thoughts on the writing process involved with the NY dance drama company.

On day four of a two week workshop experience I was getting itchy. I’d been brought in to write – but write what? Dan Safer, the artistic director of New York dance theatre company Witness Relocation, was anything but itchy. He was relaxed, at home and full of humour. But by the end of next week, we had to make something out of this group of fifteen strangers. I was the ‘writer’, Dan was the ‘director’, Kaz (also from the company) was in charge of tech design, and everyone else were ‘performers’. These labels were immensely slippery. It was really more like a messy pile of creativity, with Dan at the top, poking his head out and looking around. Continue reading Witness Relocation and Me

Review: At Sea, Staring Up – JUTE at JUTE Theatre (Cairns)

Brett Walsh and Christiaan Westerveld

Main Image: Natalie Taylor

JUTE Theatre Company‘s twentieth year has been marked by the production of a beautiful piece filled with young, talented, regional actors, a meticulous design, and spectacular technical elements. At Sea, Staring Up, which opened late last week in Cairns, really has set a benchmark for the regional theatre company.

Commissioned at the beginning of 2011, At Sea, Staring Up is written by prolific (Irish) Australian playwright Finegan Krukemeyer. Krukemeyer’s script is stunningly poetic; the actors clearly embrace the language, as do the audience. The play tells the story of five distinct and diverse characters. Set over three continents and one vast ocean, the play weaves their stories together resulting in an innovative and thought-provoking production.

Noah (Brett Walsh) is in search of his wife who flew off a bridge and was never seen again. Elise (Ella Watson-Russell) drives each night through the German darkness to lull her baby to sleep but, with dragons snapping at her heels, what secrets does she keep? Caleb (Christiaan Westerveld) is a curious misfit who will swim vast oceans for Sylvia Wist (Laura Pegrum) a young lady who can climb waterfalls and jump through time and space – always a useful skill, in my opinion! The opening night’s performance, however, was stolen by Emma the Greek (Natalie Taylor) who sails the seas forever in fear of her curse.

Ms Taylor has crafted a beautiful character that the audience fell in love with from first laugh to final tear

These five young, very talented actors work beautifully together as an ensemble.

At Sea, Staring Up is directed by Suellen Maunder (JUTE’s Artistic Director/CEO) whose wealth of experience has crafted and woven together the story of five characters scattered across five locations. My initial concerns about the potential clarity of such a diverse piece were overcome, and the specificity of each actor shone through the performance.

The production is remarkable for the work of its creative team. Designer Luke Ede, Lighting Designer Jason Glenwright and Sound Designer Quincy Grant have worked as a dream-team to create the world of At Sea, Staring Up. The set, whilst simple, is stunningly beautiful, and Ms Maunder’s direction enables its multi-levels to become five different worlds. The set is lit beautifully by Mr Glenwright; these two aspects work hand-in-glove. However, it is the work of Quincy Grant which is remarkable. His composition and score for At Sea, Staring Up told its own sweet tale. It’s so subtle that the listener hardly notices it, though the sounds work on the subconscious – like all good soundtracks – reflecting the characters’ pain and love for one another, and engaging the audience on a deep level.

At Sea, Staring Up is remarkable for the work of its creative team.

Opening Night ran so smoothly that we all felt like Sylvia Wist – being whisked around the worlds as easily as she and feeling, as one audience member put it, “transported on a magical journey yet feeling so at home”. With only a couple of moments of confusion, the play comes together beautifully. However, the resolution is sold short by the lack of a solid ending. It feels abrupt, almost an anti-climax. However, this is handled well by the actors who take you into their world and keep you tight in their grip right until the final second.

JUTE has certainly started off its twentieth season with a beautiful piece, and it is one that is not to be missed.

At Sea, Staring Up by Finegan Krukemeyer plays at the JUTE Theatre for its March season (9-24 March). More details – including dates, times and behind the scenes videos, can be found on the JUTE website.

With thanks to JUTE Gallery for the images.

Matthew Church is the artistic director of Half Life Theatre based in Cairns, in FNQ. Greenroom is delighted to welcome Matthew as a contributor.