The Rabbits, composed by Kate Miller-Heidke, Lally Katz as librettist, is an uncomfortable piece of art, though unfortunately not in the way the creators probably intended. The opera is an adaptation of the John Marsden authored, Shaun Tan illustrated book of the same name. The book is a nuanced, thoughtful examination of contact between two cultures that did not understand one another with tragic results. There is almost no need to point out that it is an allegory for Aboriginal-European contact in Australia, although some international readers might not be aware of this, so perhaps it still bears saying.
With the Melbourne Writers Festival now mere hours behind us, I’d like to have a brief reflection on the various sessions I attended. Being the bleeding heart that I am, my interest lay more in the political sessions, rather than the industry-oriented ones. Unfortunately I missed our erstwhile ex-opposition leader Mark Latham’s display, but there was much else on over the ten day festival to entertain and inform. I attended six events across the course of the festival.
The 2015 Melbourne Writers Festival is underway and apart from my Veronica Mars squeeing sessions a few other sessions have been of some comparatively mild interest. Apologies to the rest of the festival—but hey, you’re the ones who brought Rob Thomas in.*
Novelists C S Pacat and Ilka Tampke will be interviewed by John Weldon at ACMI cinema 1 on Sunday 23rd at 2:30pm. What will they be talking about?
I’m glad you asked. They will be discussing Historical Fantasy.
Long, long ago at the dawn of history I remember nodding off during history classes. I probably did my best daydreaming then too. The school text books and the teachers made it all as dull as warm gravel. I never passed a history exam in my life because I could not remember when people died or when battles were fought, but I remember reading history books for fun when I got home from school and being riveted by historical documentaries and films. It was not until I arrived at adulthood that I realised that history I slept through in school and the history I read about at home were the same, just told in different ways. History is there, there’s no getting away from it so we might as well enjoy it. And a few fantasies won’t hurt…history won’t mind, it’s big enough to look after itself. Get you tickets online at the MWF website.
It seems like the most sensible thing in the world; if you want to know what audiences want, then give them a voice. That’s exactly what the Melbourne Writers Festival is doing with a series of tools for audience engagement, ranging from arms-length suggestions via a new digital submission box, to the highly interactive Audience Advocate Committee, meeting once a month to discuss possible programming opportunities. What’s so surprising about the whole thing is just how unusual it is for a festival to invite audiences in for such active engagement. Continue reading
Part of me feels that the Melbourne Writers Festival should take place around a giant fire where we can warm our hands and listen to stories, while shadows dance all around. The festival is a warm place in the middle of winter after all.
We’re one week away from the start of the festival so I thought I’d take this as an opportunity to review my must-see sessions. Predictably, this is a biased list of events that reflects my tastes and proclivities. Feel free to make your suggestions in the comments below.
Eat the Sky: Cross-Cultural Collaborations
Saturday 22 August, 4pm
The Wheeler Centre, Performance Space
We all live in our own self-contained filter bubbles. That’s the way of community most of the time; we connect with others like ourselves. I’m not sure I even know anybody who didn’t vote Greens! But how much of our world view is limited by these bubbles? How hard do we make it for ourselves to understand someone else’s point of view when it contradicts with our own?
Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean is an anthology released earlier in the year, pairing Indian and Australian writers and visual storytellers. Two of the collaborators, Annie Zaldi and Mandy Ord will talk about the process of working together, and time spent across cultures. Continue reading
Cara Josephine, Josie Long, MICF 2015 Supper Room, Town Hall until the 19th April.
How is it already the tail end of the 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival? That has all gone past rather fast this year. My approach to the comedy festival generally involves outsourcing my comedy ticket selection and procurement to fellow MRB reviewer Jamie.^ There is one exception to this outsourcing; I discovered Josie Long through some separate non-Jamie comedy adventure a few years ago and try to see her show when she is performing in Melbourne. Continue reading
NOTHING TO LOSE
Performance (11-21 Mar): Dance
The Malthouse. Kate Champion. Kelli Jean Drinkwater. Ghenoa Gela.
From the Malthouse:
In her final work as Force Majeure’s Artistic Director, Kate Champion collaborates with artist and fat activist Kelli Jean Drinkwater and choreographer Ghenoa Gela to celebrate the sculptural splendour of the fat dancing body. Unseen, unexpected and unapologetic, this new work abandons stereotypes and / reshapes expectations.
If you have a chance to drop in on the Malthouse before the 21st of Mar, Nothing To Lose is a show to be reckoned with, admired and wondered at – this is assuming this show hasn’t sold out by the time you get around to buying tickets. There was a standing ovation at the end of the performance I attended and it would not be surprising to find that Nothing To Lose becomes a Melbourne theatre-goers’ favourite of the year.