Six ladies, one classic Shakespearean tragedy. Gut-busting comedy and heart-wrenching tragedy, Beth and Nat check out Zoey Dawson's all female rendition of The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet at fortyfivedownstairs. Listen to the interview on Arts…
A CLASSIC tale of doomed romance, Romeo and Juliet is usually performed with Romeo as the protagonist. But a new all-woman production of The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet at fortyfivedownstairs puts Juliet front and centre, focusing on her attempt to navigate through the perils and pitfalls of high-octane teenage dreams.
It’s the 3rd of February again and Miss Place, Betty and Lana sit quietly, sipping their shiraz. Slowly and methodically the floor begins to shift, revealing the moss and mud below. A tall crab apple tree pulls out from cupboard…
Time Out Melbourne
Time Out Melbourne interviews Zoey Dawson – see the article in its original context here.
Actor and director Zoey Dawson presents an all-female production of Romeo and Juliet at fortyfivedownstairs, sharing the space with an all male production of Henry IV.
How did you come to this play?
I’d never seen a production that was really concerned with Juliet herself. Romeo and Juliet usually come as a couple. I wanted to yank them apart and just look at what happens to her. The fact that she meets a boy at a party and four days later she kills herself. What is that?
This production emerged out of an honours year project, is that right?
That was in 2010. I’m calling it an extensive development period. Before then I wasn’t so keen on it, really. But after I was assigned to it at university, and read it through, I was like, shit, this is a 13-year-old girl, and yet it’s part of this great romantic mythology.
I thought, OK, so my cousin is 13, and she’s obsessed with Twilight. I look at her, and other 13-year-olds, and I think: she is a child. How did this romantic mythology build up around a child? That was where it started, when I realised Juliet was 13.
“The more I give, the more I have…” – Juliet, Act II Juliet Capulet is 13. And she is getting older every day… The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is an all-female, psychological examination of one…
Interview: Michael Griffiths salutes Madonna – see the article in its original context here.
Adelaide born, WAAPA trained, Sydney based performer Michael Griffiths made a sensational cabaret debut at the 2011 Adelaide Cabaret Festival with In Vogue: Songs by Madonna. He premiered the show to sold-out crowds and pulled off a compelling performance as the pop diva – without wigs, costumes or an accent. The show was such a success that he is about to take it to Melbourne, New York and Sydney. As Michael gets ready for the tour, he chats to Cabaret Confessional about his hit show he calls “Madge Unplugged”, his collaboration with a cabaret wunderkind Dean Bryant and his thoughts on cabaret.
Michael will be starting a tour diary just before he kicks off the 2012 Midsumma Festival season in Melbourne. Watch this space and follow his adventures as he gives us an insider look at the In Vogue: Songs by Madonna Tour!
Raw, raucous, and beautiful, Leggings Are Not Pants shows that there are no boundaries to gender identity, but there are to lycra. A pole show with a twist on the sexy, this is for anyone who has not come out…
Finucane & Smith, purveyors of the seductive, subversive, and electrifying are back...and this time they’re opening Pandora’s Box! Get ready for the unleashing of the wild ones led by a jaw-dropping Moira/Medusa in the anarchic, erotic and unforgettable THE GLORY…
Can a cabaret show have too much attitude? Too much pizzaz? Or a young star have too much showbiz in his veins? Not when the star is Tom Sharah, winner of the 2009 Sydney Cabaret Showcase. Too much is just…
"...the play is written as mantra and freefall poetry mixed with the remembrance of dream dialogues ..." Theatre People interviews Barry Dickins, writer of Whiteley's Incredible Blue. http://www.theatrepeople.com.au/features/whiteleys-incredible-blue-interview-barry-dickens
To Dad With Love reviews 'The Dollhouse' 'While it is adapted to a contemporary context, Schlusser’s production is faithful in form to Ibsen’s play. More importantly, his staging of this 19th century classic holds a mirror up to the society…
Café Scheherazade featured in The Age: Epicure on 22 February.
The term ‘emotional journey’ is liberally used (and misused) in many aspects of modern culture and in the performing arts it is a promise to the audience that is rarely fulfilled. On hearing, reading, or using this term, many of us cringe. This is a great shame because every so often there comes a work that really does take its audience through a range of emotions or to varying “places” of emotion, as they follow its story, characters, and mood. Skin Tight, a predominantly New Zealand production at fortyfivedownstairs, achieves just this, and it does so in a most intriguing fashion.
This review of Skin Tight was written by Helen Razer and first published in The Age on Monday 7 February 2011.
Midsumma hosts return of the Prodigal sons
By Michael Dwyer
January 18, 2011
The award-winning home-grown musical is back 11 years after its debut, writes Michael Dwyer. Please see full article here.
DEAN Bryant gets the coffee. Mathew Frank’s eyes roam over the heavily postered wall of the Balaclava cafe. ”Look at all the musicals,” he says. ”Where did they all come from?”
The answer is mostly from overseas, on a wave of commercial revivalism whipped up by Wicked, Chicago, Jersey Boys et al. But if there’s a note of home-grown satisfaction in the Melbourne stage composer’s tone, it’s deserved.
This review of Duets for Lovers and Dreamers was written by Cameron Woodhead and first published in The Age on Tuesday 23 November 2010. The full review is now published on Behind The Critical Curtain. Please see it in its original context here.
This shimmering suite of short scenes appears to take guidance Walter Pater’s well-known maxim: “All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.” A chamber piece composed in an elusive key, it bends every instrument of the theatre into ephemeral harmonies where love rises to meets death, and memory imagination.
Duets for Lovers and Dreamers
By Simonne Michelle-Wells
Sunday, 21 November 2010
fortyfivedownstairs is one of my favourite theatres in Melbourne. I am yet to be disappointed by any of the shows I’ve seen there. You have only to walk down the stairs to the delightfully grungy space below to know you’re about to have your senses courted.
A sentimental journey to the sound of music
November 23, 2010
This shimmering suite of short scenes appears to take guidance from Walter Pater’s maxim: ”All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.” A chamber piece composed in an elusive key, it bends every instrument of the theatre into ephemeral harmonies where love rises to meet death, and memory imagination.
Here is a youtube clip of Bare Witness by Mari Lourey, directed by Nadja Kostich. Bare Witness ran at fortyfivedownstairs from 10 - 26 September 2010.
Duets for Lovers and Dreamers n the Herald Sun: (Click on the image to view larger)
My Name is Rachel Corrie
November 4 – 14, 2010
For those who have followed the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict the name Rachel Corrie may well ring a bell, for others the name will be as meaningless as Joe Bloggs and Paula Brown. However, this one-woman production compiled by Alan Rickman (of Harry Potter fame) and Katharine Viner (deputy editor of The Guardian) is ensuring that Corrie’s legacy is not forgotten. On January 22nd 2003, the 23 year old American student flew to Israel to work as a volunteer for International Solidarity Movement, the pacifist Palestinian protest organisation. Less than two months later, Corrie was killed in the name of her cause when an Israeli bulldozer crushed her to death as she defended a Palestinian home.
I remember Rachel Corrie’s death in 2003. Well, I remember reading that an American student was killed by a bulldozer while protesting in Gaza. I felt for her family and suspected that youth and ignorance may have played a part. My Name is Rachel Corrie has ensured that I will never forget her name and I know her for much more than a headline about a conflict that – no matter how much I read about – I struggle to understand.
This review of My Name is Rachel Corrie was written by Cameron Woodhead and published in The Age on Tuesday 9 November 2010. See it in its original context here. By Rachel Corrie, edited by Katharine Viner & Alan Rickman,…
This article about My Name is Rachel Corrie was written by Liza Power and published in The Age on Saturday 30 October 2010. See it in its original context here. An idealistic life remembered Liza Power October 30, 2010 Image:…
This review of Carnival of Mysteries was written by Christine Hill and published on Oz Baby Boomers on Saturday 16 October 2010. See it in its original context here.
The Carnival of Mysteries, created and directed by Moira Finucane & Jackie Smith
fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne | Until 30 October
Step right up folks. Be amazed, be surprised, be thoroughly entertained by this extraordinary spectacle, created and directed by Moira Finucane and Jackie Smith, and brought to you by the Melbourne International Arts Festival and fortyfive downstairs.
Finucane and Smith’s trademark mix of provocation and entertainment starts in the theatre lobby where, on arrival, everyone is rubber stamped, issued a ‘passport’, and given 30,000 carnival dollars. A suitably sleazy spruiker (David Pidd) explains the rules to the bemused but eager audience-in-waiting before we troop down the stairs to enter the world of the Carnival.
This review of Carnival of Mysteries was written by Jordan Beth Vincent and published in The Age newspaper on Saturday 9 October 2010. See it in its original context here. IN THE 19th century, the carnival would tail the travelling…
One of my highlights so far is the wild and wicked Carnival of Mysteries at Fortyfive Downstairs. It’s the most extravagant so far of Moira Finucane and Jackie Smith’s explorations of burlesque, which are providing increasingly immersive experiences that they call “intimate spectacle”. I last saw them taking over La Mama with the sensory overload of their Triple Bill of Wild Delight: and what a blast that was. Those who saw that show will have an approximate idea of what to expect in Carnival of Mysteries: extravagantly staged passion, perverse and liberating sensual delight, sly comedy, nudity, and excess, excess and more excess. And dancing.
It’s crazy, camp, kitsch experimentalism. You can shut your eyes to Garçon Gigolo, but he will not stop staring at you no matter how hard you might wish him to stop. Welcome to the uncomfortable weirdness that is the Carnival of Mysteries.
I was always susceptible to liking Mari Lourey’s new play, Bare Witness. What with an interest in areas of conflict; that I’d just re-read Hare & Brent’s Pravda and an equally scathing depiction of journalism in a friend’s new play that is the glorious bastard child of Hare, Brent, Stoppard and Beckett; I was almost certain to be provoked. But where BW differs is that its focus is the corruption of the image, not words. Whereas the latter can be nimble and conjure the trick of “truth” in front of eyes — hearing how it’s done behind the by-line would deflate anyone insistent on objectivity — an image is supposed to be bare A camera is a witness, a machine that doesn’t need to decipher right from wrong. But this is not true either.
The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality, and eventually in one’s own. – Susan Sontag
A rare collaboration between two of Melbourne’s most important creative spaces, Mari Lourey’s Bare Witness is a joint presentation by La Mama Theatre and fortyfivedownstairs, in the latter organisation’s bunker-like venue beneath Flinders Lane. The space suits the work admirably, for Bare Witness is an expressionistic exploration of the experiences of a diverse group of photojournalists in three different war zones: Bosnia in the early 1990s, Timor Leste in the dark days before its independence from Indonesia, and contemporary Iraq.
The audience’s introduction to this blood, developing fluid and adrenaline-soaked world is Australian photographer Dani Hill (Daniela Farinacci), who in a short space of time goes from snapping hats and frocks at Flemington race course to photographing corpses and grieving widows in the Balkans. Years later, Dani looks back through her old photographs, recalling the stories behind the 11 most powerful shots; stories which are then played out for the audience, counting down slowly to the traumatic revelation behind the final, heartbreaking photograph.
When you see pictures of the casualties of war on the television news or in the newspapers, do you ever wonder about the person who took them? This special La Mama Theatre presentation in conjunction with fortyfive downstairs is about that person.
The video below is from a recent discussion hosted by the Wheeler Centre. Critical Failure: Theatre Is theatre criticism in Australia failing practitioners and audiences? In this energetic discussion, Alison Croggon, Julian Meyrick, Cameron Woodhead and Stephen Sewell assess the…
Bare Witness is an amazing dramatic collage describing the exhilaration, the horror, the outrage, the anguish and the dread hopelessness of combat-zone photography, fusing a compelling life story, expressive choreography, poetic visual effects, a complex moral dilemma and the best sound design of any production seen in Melbourne this year. It’s written by Mari Lourey and directed by Nadja Kostich, and it’s showing now at Melbourne’s Fortyfivedownstairs.
Without realising I pass into the zone of a dangerous place…
‘…to see truth, to capture it, to wing it home…landing on my doorstep wrapped in newsprint…tripping into the lounge room through the screen…No-one remembers how it works’
(Excerpt from The Aerodynamics of Death, Robyn Rowland)
Bare Witness by Mari Lourey explores this very idea by scrutinising and paying homage to the experiences of a group of photojournalists seen through the eyes of Australian correspondent Dani in the warzones of the Balkans, East Timor and Iraq. The story follows Dani from her beginnings in the field through to the aforementioned countries. She sets out to ‘capture the perfect image’ but it eventually all becomes too much for her and she realises she has to face the humanity staring at her through the lens. As Lourey states in the program notes she found herself asking why these people place themselves in such extraordinary and often dangerous situations for the sake of maybe one published image.
I’m loath to say this, for several reasons, but nevertheless: sometimes you have to point out the obvious. (In Ms TN’s case, pointing out the obvious is my raison d’etre). The City at Red Stitch and La Mama’s Bare Witness at Fortyfivedownstairs are productions which demonstrate that our indie women directors can be as ambitious, imaginative, intelligent, out-there theatrical and aesthetically tough as any man.