Playing with monsters: Benjamin Shostakowski (Interview 17)

PHOTO: Benjamin Shostakowski

Hoorah, hoorah, I’ve found a kindred spirit – someone else who loves the ‘Master of the Vaguely Ominous’ – Edward Gorey (1925-2000), American illustrator and author of some of the oddest and funniest books around. His surname, once you get to know his work, seems wonderfully apt.

My Gorey antennae twitched when I saw that a company called ‘Monsters Appear’ was producing a new play called The Glorious Nosebleed. This is the title of one of Gorey’s more famous books, and the one that brilliantly illustrates what is meant by adverbs (!) … such as, ‘He ran down the hall maniacally,‘ with the accompanying picture of an Edwardian gentleman in night attire brandishing a large axe  – or this one

‘He looked out of the room hopelessly.’

Known for his darkly comic tales and brilliant draughtsmanship Edward St John Gorey was also a true eccentric. He loved cats and wearing fur coats, which made the lanky Yankee look like a huge and rather patrician cat himself. Gorey lived in New England and was also a ballet and theatre devotee. He illustrated posters and programmes for the NY City Ballet as well as for local community theatres. He was nominated for a Tony in 1977 for his costume and set designs for Dracula, and won for Best Costume Design. By the way, you can also buy a Gorey-designed Dracula Toy Theatre on Amazon and yes, I have a small collection of Gorey-ana and anyone who likes Gorey gets my vote.

So it was that I found myself interviewing Benjamin Shostakowski (a Gorey aficionadao) and one of the team of Monsters Appear who, with a name like that, clearly also get a kick out of scary things and the finely-drawn macabre-in-the-ordinary. This is how they see themselves

Monsters Appear is an emerging Brisbane independent theatre collective comprised of Benjamin Schostakowski, Athalia Foo and Nikki Taurau. The collective present new contemporary performance works that aim to provide a unique experience for their audiences. Their work melds together traditional theatrical devices and modern technologies. Monsters Appear employ visual stage images, illusion, projected images and minimal dialogue to play with space and time. With a zealous theatrical sensibility, they aim for the unexpected. (Media Release) Continue reading Playing with monsters: Benjamin Shostakowski (Interview 17)

The Glorious Nosebleed: Monsters Appear at !Metro Arts (Allies)

MEDIA RELEASE:

Absurdity, time travel and mystery are set to drench the Sue Benner Theatre this April, when Monsters Appear present THE GLORIOUS NOSEBLEED.

‘THE GLORIOUS NOSEBLEED is an original theatre work which tells the tale of two adult? children and the extraordinary things that happen to them when they face grim circumstances’, says Benjamin Schostakowski, performer and co-deviser of the work.

Schostakowski and fellow co-devisor/performer Athalia Foo play strangers, a young boy and girl who find themselves trapped in a mysterious underground room. Their subterranean night is relayed through a fractured series of interconnected images and scenes. The audience pieces the production together to build their own understanding of the night’s occurrences ? one of course being the glorious nosebleed. This seemingly sinister duologue reveals the magical inside world of children’s creative minds, exploring time, entrapment, intrigue and escapism.

Monsters Appear is an emerging Brisbane independent theatre collective comprised of Benjamin Schostakowski, Athalia Foo and Nikki Taurau. The collective present new contemporary performance works that aim to provide a unique experience for their audiences. Their work melds together traditional theatrical devices and modern technologies. Monsters Appear employ visual stage images, illusion, projected images and minimal dialogue to play with space and time. With a zealous theatrical sensibility, they aim for the unexpected.

‘This production marks our opportunity as a collective to present our theatre work in a professional context. It’s devastatingly exciting for us as emerging Brisbane artists’ says Athalia Foo.

Tickets now on sale.

SEASON: 30 March ? 9 April 2011, Preview 29 March WHEN: Tuesdays – Saturdays, 7.30pm WHERE: Sue Benner Theatre, Metro Arts 109 Edward Street, Brisbane.

TICKETS: Adults $20/ Conc. $16/ Preview $12/ Group (10+) $12 Cheap Tuesdays: $12 (door sales only)

BOOKINGS: (07) 3002 7100 or http://www.metroarts.com.au