Reflections: end of year catch-ups

ReflectionsImage: Josh Johnson

Dear Greenroom readers,

It’s been a while … at least it feels that way … a while since a post here on Greenroom, and I’ve been feeling the guilt at not reviewing at least three, new, local shows which, due to the generosity of the producers, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in the past few months. Greenroom is a labour of love for me; I have no editor whacking the timeline stick, and sometimes the labour can get on top of one. The end of year pace and the pressure that creates have been a bit overwhelming to tell the truth. Sound familiar?

I’ve been involved in a few productions, performances and general end-of-year activities that have left little time for anything other than collapsing in a heap in what’s seemed like all too brief snatches of downtime. One fallout from the energy drain has been something new to me: a complete disinterest in writing. I’m going to call it ‘burnout’ for want of a better term, and I know it’s only temporary. At least I trust it will return in the New Year. So, my apologies at the outset to the individuals, companies and groups to whom I am indebted.

Whilst reviews after the fact are less useful to marketing units in production companies, I do know that some appreciate a reflection. Indeed, these memory pieces can be interesting in their own right. What is it that stays with one a week, month, year after seeing a play? I know I have vivid snatches of memory of plays seen over 40 years ago. How these productions made me feel then continues to affect me now.

One of the reasons I started Greenroom back in 2009 was to try to capture an individual slice of the experience of theatre-going. During doctoral research during the 1990s I was shocked to find so little had been captured of Australian theatre over the years. I made a promise that I would try to do my bit to redress the balance if I could. With the internet being a monster archive, it may well be that these posts are also letters to the future. Indeed, if you are reading this (if the technology holds up) many years from when I am writing at the end of 2013. I hope you find it interesting.  But, I digress.

It is with this in mind and having wrapped all the Christmas presents and finished my shopping, that I’ve had time to reflect on: MOTHERLAND by Katherine Lyall-Watson; PREHISTORIC by Marcel Dorney, and CONNECT FOUR – a new musical theatre piece with music and lyrics by Alanya Bridge

With thanks for your interest in reading Greenroom during 2013 and a special hug to Sita Borhani for helping to keep Greenroom engaged. All the best to you and yours for a joy-filled Christmas and a safe and relaxing summer.

Onwards!

Kate (Editor)

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Doctors in the House (Interview 38)

I became aware a few months ago of a new crop of doctoral graduates whose names were very familiar to many of us in Queensland as performing artists and creatives.

The reasons for taking on such an enormous, all-consuming project – one that can occupy years of research and writing – is something that each prospective doctoral student mulls over well  before signing on the application’s dotted line. In fact, most university graduate schools provide a period in which the candidate has to research the topic, pitch the idea to a panel and go through other academic hoops before the candidacy is approved. It’s a bit like the audition, call-back, second call-back etc., before you get the gig. And then it starts – for many, the longest production period you’ll ever know.

I wanted to chat with three of the most recent theatre doctors: David Morton, Katherine Lyall-Watson, and Andrea Moor all of whom are busy, practising artists. Katherine Lyall-Watson’s latest play MOTHERLAND, a Patrick White finalist opens its season tomorrow night at Metro Arts. Andrea Moor is appearing in QTC’s DESIGN FOR LIVING, and David Morton, the AD of the busy independent company Dead Puppet Society, has just finished a residency with the South African company Handspring (you may know them for their work in WARHORSE) and is also working in NYC. And this is rather typical of their arts practice. Apart from anything else, where did they get the time?

I wanted  to get a sense of why they decided to start out on the academic track and how, if it all, it had changed their own artistic practice. Was it a hunger for learning or a more pragmatic desire i.e., to create another career path?  One thing is certain; everyone attempting and successfully completing a PhD or a professional doctorate is never the same again!

Here in their own words are their responses.

Congratulations to them all and to all those others out there working away on their own doctoral productions – chookas!

Continue reading Doctors in the House (Interview 38)

Theatre conference? You want to be in Cats or something?

This post was contributed by Xanthe Coward, a COE09 conference delegate. Many thanks also to Xanthe for her live-tweeting during the sessions. You can catchup with all the hashtagged contributions to the Twitter stream by searching for #coe09

Why are doing a theatre  conference? Why are you doing theatre? Do you want to be in Cats or  something?!

Last weekend Brisbane’s !Metro Arts played host to 100 independent theatre practitioners, including professional and emerging  playwrights, performers, directors, producers and promoters from all over Australia.  In what turned out to be a particularly conversational 3 day program !Metro Arts, in cooperation with Jute and Playlab, set about challenging the definition of what it is to be an artist in the independent theatre sector in Australia, and asked, “How will it – and you – survive?”  The question in the block-quote above was put to one of the delegates by a friend, and it seems to sum up the attitude of many of the broader population who aren’t aware of theatre – apart from the blockbuster musical –  or who don’t really understand how and where else this thing called theatre gets made.  Last weekend, however, pedestrians on Brisbane city’s Edward Street, as well as visitors to New Farm’s Powerhouse might have noticed that theatre is something that attracts an extremely eclectic crowd. Continue reading Theatre conference? You want to be in Cats or something?