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I have had a splendid weekend.

Utterly splendid.

We had a night at the Langham Hotel on Southbank (with a random upgrade from a Club Room to the Corner Spa Suite). Saw Thyestes (brilliant piece of theatre, not event appropriate, but still brilliant theatre (more on this in a later post... but have a quick look here for an idea: http://theatrenotes.blogspot.com/2010/09/review-thyestes.html).

So yes, fun, frivolity and opulence.

Very spoilt, and very lucky.

I'll see many of you Friday!
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In case LJ gets people facebook misses...

COME SEE THIS:

http://theatrepeople.com.au/whatson/colosseum.

I'm in it!
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I haven't done one of these in a while. So here's the story of 2010 so far:

At the beginning of 2010 I started to strategise a pathway into drama teaching, which I decided last year sometime was the way for me to go. So I flicked through university websites, last year I had gone to look at what's actually involved in doing a Dip Ed. and what you need to have done to qualify for various teaching methods etc.... I discovered that I was short some drama and theatre subjects, the VIT and universities weren't interested in practical experience, it had to be a formal qualification.

So, thought I, I need to do a Grad Certificates worth of study in the field - enough to qualify for a 'minor' in drama/theatre studies alongside my major in Classical studies. So, off I went. Scouring for somewhere I could do such a course. Melbourne was being all "Melbourne Modeled", so it was useless to me. Deakin and Monash both had drama/theatre schools - but they were all either undergrad or full Masters programs. So I settled on La Trobe. I got everything in the pipeline, and asked them about what was involved, when forms had to be in etc....

The answer I got was that I'd be fine to get in. They also gave me semester dates, from which I deduced Semester 1 would be impossible what with the wedding and all the followed. Turns out I DEFINITELY made the right decision given dad's passing 6 and a half weeks after I was married.

So I held off and applied for semester 2 at the absolute last minute. I started this week. I am doing:

Processed based performance
Shakespeare in Performance
3rd year Production

Which is grand. So basically I have no lectures, all my classes are workshops/rehearsals. I've got Shayne to carpool in with each morning I'm at uni, and I'll be in a show at the start of October.

So.... where's the downside? I'm going to have to quit the playground. Which is unfortunate, but it's going to be necessary for me to see this through. I couldn't work it next year anyway, as I'll be doing a Dip Ed. And I'm pretty sure study like that and a quasi-full-time job do not mix. So that's that then....

All things being equal, by the end of summer semester I'll have completed the grad cert, and I can start a Dip Ed. - possibly back at Melbourne - and I'll have started on my merry way. I'll do classical studies and drama, and be the coolest teacher in the universe.

Let's see what the future holds! It's good to be underway again. I feel like I've stood still for too long - career wise that is. Life has bounded ahead in most other departments. But jobs stuff has stagnated.
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Well, we've tried it out on an audience now.... And it's going swimmingly! Amazing bunch of people doing amazing things.

There are 6 shows left, shows on Thursday, Friday & Saturday this week and next.

So Come along peoples! www.omniprop.org for info and bookings.

Also, if you're one of the lucky ones who's seen the show and you want to let us know what you thought of it, we'd welcome the feedback.

Email to enquiries@omniprop.org - and give us a piece of your mind! Please note, we may quote you in future publicity material*.

*Unless you thought it was a dog's breakfast, and that we should all be shot. We might not quote that kind of feedback....
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Time to plug this on LJ I think.....

It opens Wednesday! Come and see it! I'm in it, and so are a bunch of other people who are much better than me!


'A pickle is served with aplomb in this new translation of Plautus' anarchic romp. When a wily slave is entrusted with his absent master's quixotic son they clock up an imposing tab. But who's paying for the final round?'

Come see Omniprop's first production for the year. Mostellaria! Directed by Tom Atkinson and Sam Browne.

Show runs Wednesday 20/5 to Saturday 23/5 with matinee performances are on Friday the 22nd and Saturday the 23rd at 3.30pm. All evening performances start at 7.30pm. Pricing: Full $15, Concession $12, Union Members $10.

Bookings Phone: 0432332346 or Email: enquiries@omniprop.org

Tickets available on the night, cash only!.

Review

Apr. 11th, 2009 06:44 pm
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And another one:

http://aussietheatre.com/comedy09reviews.htm#model

I'm stoked by getting mentions in these.... :).

Reviews!

Apr. 7th, 2009 01:46 pm
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Found 3 reviews of the show - all very favourable!

Artshub
The Age comedy festival blog
MUSU review

I'm posting this more so they're in 1 space for my future reference than anything else, but have a read if you'd like!
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I spent the afternoon wondering around campus at Melbourne Uni, singing excerpts from 'Where is my Brand' and 'Can you See' around North Court, South Lawn and the Concrete lawns....

That took me back.

And then I lost track of time and was responsible for Chris being late to work :(. D'oh!
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Theatre

I'm mildly obsessed... And I don't really know why. I like the idea of getting inside a story and enacting it, and of bringing it to life with my body and voice, either within strict conventions (like in musicals) or in a bizzare free-form way (like Helen's Seneca workshops).

I think I like people watching me - in essence it's just a form of exhibitionism. I also like the idea, taking someone's life/experiences/imagination and then layering yourself on top of it and turning it into something unique that can never, and will never, be recreated. Not even when you do the same scene the next night.

I also like theatre because it forces you to practice what you preach, to elaborate on your thoughts with your entire being. You have to deliver, you have to do, you have to act and you have to make choices. Often what the choices actually are is completely irrelevant, but you have to make them clearly, and you have to commit to them. And then you have to re-create that moment again and again. It challenges me more than anything else in life.

Balancing following your passion with earning a living

I'm fairly blaze about life.... I figure I'll always be able to make a living doing something. What it actually is doesn't really bother me, so long as I keep on performing.

So the balance is reached by asking myself the simple question: What is the minimum amount of paid work I can do to get by comfortably, and still give myself 3 nights a week to rehearse?

At the moment I've got that balance (or close to it, a bit more money would be nice, but I'm not starving). So all is well.

Intense relationships

I think it all goes back to my exposure as a youngin' to a relationship that was not working with mum and dad. I think that either I was going to be cynical, or over-compensate and put "love" up on a pedestal. You can guess what happened...

All this combined with my distinct lack of romance early on in life, and brought me to the conclusion that love is this bizzare, over-reaching, fatalistic thing. That relationships must be saved at all costs. And that you should do anything asked of you in a relationship. It meant that my commitment was absolute and my passion was unwavering. And that first moment when I realised someone showed some genuine romantic interest in me, well, I was besotted.

Living together after about 6 weeks, of course it will work! Marriage! Yeah sure! In the end I'm glad that it ended when it did. If it had gone on any longer we probably would have damaged each other.

But even that experience did not curb my enthusiasm. And we all know how that ended up...

And today. Have I learned my lesson? Hell no! And I never will! But for the first time in my life, I think I'm the one overwhelmed by the love someone else shows me...

Greek

I founded it you know.... I'm going to assume this is about the language.

I like the language because its mechanics are a billion times more interesting than that of our own. It's flexible, it's malleable, it gives you lots of ways to say the same thing (at least in English). Often by using the same words, but different inflections and grammar. So I'm pretty sure our language is inadequate when it comes to translating ancient Greek, but it's all we got!

I'm also an etymology geek. So it makes sense. And this is what I like about the modern language - it allows me get my etymology geek on in a whole knew way.

Oh, and inadvertently, my knowledge of modern Greek helped me to communicate to a Spanish speaker today who spoke very little English - because the Greek word for stairs is skala, and the Spanish word is scalides - so she understood!.

Post break up bonding

Interesting...
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Do you still have that brick?

Insane day

Feb. 16th, 2009 05:05 pm
shamo: (Kim Jong Ill)
Rehearsal has been good - we actually ran what we've done so far today, and we've covered most of the show! Which is nice. It took up less of my time this weekend than I thought it would, but we've got a kind hearted director that doesn't want people sitting around doing nothing, which is nice.

I haven't been talking too much about my experience of Melbourne Model the Musical, as it's been kind of low key so far. But I think things will ramp up nicely very soon! So yeah. Woooo!! More info will be forthcoming closer to the time.

Now I'm at work, and (due to panicy thoughts running through my head), I've done what I have to do to prepare for a committee meeting this evening, and I can chill for a few minutes to get my self back together.

So yeah.

I antincipite that tonight's will be a shitfight of a committee meeting. So hopefully it all goes okay. Or as okay as possible....

School

Dec. 2nd, 2008 07:44 am
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Well I've been accepted into RMIT to do an MA in Arts Management.

What does this mean precisely? Well I don't actually know. But I think it will be useful!

I'll see how I travel with it next year.

Update-age

Dec. 1st, 2008 08:41 am
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Well it's been a while since I used this blog as a, well, you know blog.... So I thought I'd try something novel!

Anyway life is good. I've kept busy, kept on stage and kept the juices flowing nicely, all of which is great. I now have a joint account with Chris. I've never had a joint account with anyone in my life ever, so it's a big deal. Well it is to me. Today I get to do our first rental payment out of it! It's a big moment. Of course the biggest moment was when I came home earlier in the week and said

"Chris Chris Chris!"
"Yes Seamus" she replied, with much less enthusiasm and vigour than I....
"I bought Cheese"
"That's nice dear"
"And I used the card for the joint account - It's our first joint account purchase!"
"Oh, wow" she replied with a comparable level of enthusiasm and vigour to mine.

Here endeth the parable of the cheese.

So yeah. Applied to go to uni. Applied for a car loan. And I'm singing again! I've had the good fortune to be cast in Melbourne Model:The Musical's return season in March. It should be nuts. I'm playing Geoff Blainey. Had a BBQ with the cast and crew last night. I also discovered that work after a Sunday night piss up is not as easy as it used to be - surprise surprise.

Oh and Robert Doyle is the new lord mayor. So I'm glad I got out of the City of Melbourne game when I did!! :).
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Saw it tonight and then walked a long way home in the rain....

In short it was hit and miss, but when it hit it hit hard and it hit well.

The play is set in the immediate aftermath of the Trojan War, and tells the story of how the Trojan women are divided up as spoils among the greek victors.

The set was built of lockers (I mean school lockers), and spattered with blood. It was all very industrial and very stark. Echoes of Abu Graib, Guantanamo or any such 'compound' (what a word - compound yeah..). I don't know what the stage area was. A yard? A place to execute the prisoners?

Enter Hecuba, queen of troy. Wheeled, with her crown and robes on. Sack over her head. The 'attendant' wearing a Hanibal Lector-esque mask, wheeling her out then set her up, and took a photo with his mobile phone. These attendants appeared time and time again. Brutalising the women, shipping them about, and putting them in boxes to be loaded onto the Greek ships. A theme that recurred through the show, and it worked really well. Hecuba was then stripped of her rainment, which was put in little plastic bags like in a prison, And left standing shivering in her underwear. This idea of the women being treated as cargo - as objects and as spoils of war and as subjects for mobile phone pictures came across strongly again and again. And it was very effective.

Hecuba was the star of the show - and she was the highlight. She was accompanied by a chorus of 3 women, who sung (their songs ranged from Louis Armstrong to Slovenian folk music) intermittently, often against the sound of gunshots ringing out off stage. 1 woman played Kassandra, Andromache and Helen. Menelaus was the only other speaking character aside from Talthybius - who was never on stage but whose voice came through a speaker suspended from the ceiling. He was dispassionate and unsympathetic - nothing like the Talthybius of Euripides' play...

And here's where we hit the issues. I think this production would have benefited from breaking from the text entirely and concentrating on the message it was trying to put across. A message about brutality, and what happens to captives and captors - the powerless and the powerful - with the Trojan War as the backdrop. The moments of actual text were the weakest. Actors were over-stylised, static and very 'serious' when these moments occurred, and it just didn't mesh with the production. Hecuba's most effective monologues were her arias.

The relationships between Hecuba and the other women were also awkward. Kassandra was too 'Look at me I'm so crazy sooooo crazy did I mention I'm crazy....! Ha ha! crazy!' (made me think if Lisa's Ophelia from the Simpsons), and as a result she was unclear. She was brutalised and she was broken, yes - but she was also (apparently) delivering text - which in this show became superfluous. The pattern was kind of maintained. Andromache was pregnant in this production. "Gothic Pregnant Andromache" as Helen dubbed her. I think this was done entirely to set up a punch to the stomach she received from the guards at one point. And then Helen seemed to be coked up (or something - she was high I'm sure of it) and kind of helpless - I think the whole scene would have been more interesting if she'd had higher status, especially with Menelaus.

So yes - issues around the text, and a couple of bits of brutality that I think were a bit gratuitous and non-essential to the play. But as mentioned when it did hit, it hit hard.

Oh and Menelaus looked like Grand Moff Tarkin from Star Wars Episode 4. And he was in a wheel chair. It was cool.
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Great.

Really really fantastically conceived project that had drive, pace, a smattering of irreverancy and a great deal of craft to it. Zombies. MacBeth. Together at last in a dark comic mash of the grotesque, death, gore, literacism and pentameter.

The play takes place immediately after the conclusion of Macbeth - with the dust still settling on Dunsinane castle, Macbeth's corpse strewn headless in the background. Until things start to happen. Stirrings, starts and jitters at first. And then... it begins. MacBeth brought back to life. Head re-fixed, ambition re-kindled and the truth of the witches prophecy come true...

The script rolled and cascaded along.. It was surprisingly convincing as Shakespeare, and replete with classicism, witticism, couplets and pentameter. Structurally the play also followed in the footsteps of the bard. There's even a 'play within a play' , a 'porter' figure and a random cripple thrown in for good measure. The play does murder Hamlet in places. You'll see what I mean if you see the show, it was one of my favourite moments. There's plenty of Shakespeare alluded to in this show. And plenty of classics too. Virgil even has a cameo...

Oh... And then there's the schlock. Oooooh the schlock. It was hilarious. Horror movie special effects, body organs and blood blood and more blood! The set was cryptesque, dark and bare. Very earthen tones across set and costumes. The other-worldliness and under-worldliness of the show came across very clearly. Reminded me of something from Tales of the Crypt keeper... But good. The characters were kitted up in suitable period garb - furs and linen. The odd characters that departed from this palette all did so for very clear reasons (Fleance was the prime example). The lighting was nice and eerie too. Special mention must also be made of the make up in this show. From the witches (one had 1 eye, one had a goatee) to Macbeth's gaping neck wound to Lady MacBeth's dirt covered visage. It was stunning, and highly detailed. And the blood. Did I mention the blood?

Very effective staging meant there were no dull moments here. Actors emerged from all corners, and scenes rolled into each other seamlessly, and the play didn't have any dead moments (pun intended), as we rolled from Shakespeare's Scotland into Night of the Living Dead - or something...

Oh, the ensemble were all great too. I won't mention stand outs because everyone was a stand out. Lots of effective doubling up from the bit parts, and very effective focus from the leads.

So yes. If you missed it the first couple of times around, see this play. It's in till November 23.
shamo: (Kim Jong Ill)
So....

I signed up to do this short play that was put on yesterday. Haven't done that in a long time. And you know what, it was alright. Not brilliant, but not the sea of cliched "Neighboursness" I always thought all naturalism is doomed to become. Probably helped by the slight surrealism of the play :). But yeah.

Doing it again in 2 weeks. So we'll see how it goes.
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Yesterday Helen, Sam and I travelled out to Broadmeadowns (in [livejournal.com profile] _audhumla_'s car - hereafter referred to as the 'Omnipropmobile'). We were organised. Did a lines run on the way up, and seemed to remember everything.

We were performing for some classics and some drama students at Penola Catholic College. After some issues finding the joint, we arrived in plenty of time, organised ourselves, had time for a chat with the teacher and went off to the performance space. It was great. The space was ideal.

We'd embarked upon the preparations for this gig about a week ago. No I'm not kidding. We rehearsed it twice. It was a killer scene the 'Court case' scene with Helen and Hecuba from "The Trojan Women" by Euripides. A really good translation too. It required a cast of 3. Helen, Hecuba and Menelaus.

As fate would have it our cast was: yours truly, Sam Browne and Helen Slaney. So..... We'd discussed at an earlier juncture playing with some gender reversals here and there. "Wouldn't it be funny if Sam was Helen?!?!?". And as is so often the case in our productions, these were prophetic words....

Sam was indeed Helen of Sparta. The most beautiful woman in the world. It left Helen to play Menelaus. And yours truly - beard and all - playing Hecuba. BUT (and this was the key) we just played the scene. Didn't put on falsettos, didn't camp it up and didn't even acknowledge gender as a factor in the scene beyond its impact on the status of the characters.

The result was something that ended up being quite intense. Hecuba's pain thought my voice. Helen's arrogonce and self-assuredness in her own beauty through Sam's. And Menelaus' pig-headedness, simplicity and ultimate weakness through Helen's (Slaney - it gets confusing when Helen plays Helen's husband...).

So what happened when we showed it to a bunch of 16-17 year olds:

Giggles.

Many giggles.

For about 20 seconds.

Then they just watched.

They were a great audience. Really really good. They watched, took it in, asked (and were asked) some good questions.

"What's it like playing these characters - do you learn more about them than when you read it?" Best TIE question ever, because it gets to the core of why this work is important if you want to understand classical literature, and especially theatre.

And this one from the teacher to the students:

"Did the way this was done with the men playing women change the scene for you at all?" And the kids, bless their hearts, said that once they got over the shoke, no it didn't. The scene just unfolded.

And then there were some really specific questions about the play, about our choices with the shape of the scene, the props and costumes and about how we got into this all in the first place.

It's always great when you achieve your artistic objective in something. When an audience responds the way you want them to.

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