Mea Culpa. In 2006, I really should have reviewed...
Away, written and directed by Michael Gow for the Queensland Theatre Company. Pros: good play, well done, timely revival. It toured the nation for half the year and I was at the first performance. Cons: beyond saying: wow, the play really is about death, there was nothing to add but: good play, well done, timely revival.
Mother Courage and her Children, directed by Sydney Theatre Company AD Robyn Nevin. Pros: it was the much-anticipated first production by the new Actors Company. The acting was terrific. Cons: The production wasn’t terrific. All Mo-Co seemed to prove was that an ensemble is only as good as its director. I confess, I spent weeks mulling over the role of the director in response to this production. Nevin, curiously, had her actors drop out of character to perform their songs. I don’t know why. (And, I’ve since heard, the actors didn’t know why.) The best acting was in the mute role too!
I Am My Own Wife. MTC and STC presented this terrific one man show. Pros: great mainstage theatre. Great monodrama. Cons: none. Well, few... It was a piece of theatre designed for Michael Billington. Good meaty social studies, history, feel-good, yada yada yada. The photos were too f-ing big to upload.
Ditto The History Boys. Great theatre that just happened to be commercial. The National Theatre production visited Sydney, for the STC, before an extended Broadway season. I guess I’ll get the chance to bang on about it when the Melbourne Theatre Company mounts its own production of Alan Bennett’s play in 007.
Black Milk by Douglas Wright, performed by New Zealand’s Douglas Wright Dance Company at the Sydney Opera House. Pros/Cons: this was the show that Three Atmospheric Studies, Honour Bound, Blind Date and the countless other so-called political shows of 2006 failed to match for intensity, clarity, purity and rough-house anger. When it ended, I shouted a bravo and -- instead of the usual bump on the applause/noise meter -- the audience continued with polite (even chilly) applause. (You know, the “hated the text, but you guys did your damnedest”-style applause.) A couple of people whose opinions I really respect and admire disliked this show intensely. The dancers I know who saw the show were sharply polarised.
In general, I wish I had tackled more indie dance productions this year. Especially the shows that Arts House staged at the North Melbourne Town Hall.
More opera too. See here.
Ys, the new CD by Joanna Newsom.
Mea culpa... I didn’t have the time or the energy. (I typed e-nerd-y... twice!) I am a slow writer. A slow thinker, too. I process while I write. I’m not the kind of writer who can pump out quick thoughts. Well, I can, but polish/finish is important to me.
I was a little surprised to read that Alison Croggon saw 62 productions this year. That, for me, would be retirement. (Kidding, Alison!) Perhaps it is a case of diminishing returns. I got to 150 this year, counting return visits and different casts, a slightly lower than average number for me.
While I find that I enjoy television more and more -- I have been glomming four-to-six old eps of West Wing a day over the break -- theatre still does it for me, big time. Tonight, it was Entertaining Mr Sloane, an uncharacteristically disciplined production from Melbourne Theatre Company AD Simon Phillips... a touch of magic from a company I was beginning to think had forgotten the difference between stage and screen.
Trainspotters note: I have now seen every single MTC production the company has staged in the last 21 years. Gold watch time?