Monday, October 5, 2009

About Time

Nothing makes us as keen to time’s passing as our regrets, those dog-eared pages of memory. You can’t regret what you are, only what you’ve been (or done or said or seen &c). That’s what gives it the melancholy edge: that you can’t go back and change things, only do them differently now. (Is there a similar word for regret’s pleasant cousin? Not just a happy memory, but the feeling you get when you remember something equally irretrievable but joy-inducing?)

Two quick things about time that arrived in my inbox over the weekend:

Sammy J’s 50 Year Show at last year’s Fringe was one of the most audacious and exciting events I’ve seen in Melbourne. Every five years for the next 50, Sammy’s hosting an evening dedicated to time. Last year the inaugural show blew out to a three hour plus extravaganza of comedy and music featuring dozens of familiar faces. Events included the 50 Year joke (a long time to wait for a punchline); the 50 Year date (two audience members will have a date during the show for the next half century) and all kinds of similar things. There was a lot of energy in the packed-out room for the entire evening, and part of that came from the underlying realisation that this novel enterprise carries with it a terrible undercurrent. Some of the performers definitely won’t be around for the last show, and as the years pass the night will be increasingly haunted by death amid all the laughter. It’s one game where you can’t call barley. The 50 Year Show is Sammy J’s dare against death, and it’s one he can’t win.

On the weekend he put some footage from the first show up on YouTube and I laughed recalling some of the bits I’d forgotten. It doesn’t really translate as well if you weren’t there, but make sure you get along in 2013.



Funny: even watching it now, you can see how things have changed in just one year (interest rates at 7%? Obama not yet president?).

Another event coming up (but a bit sooner) is The Laramie Project – 10 Years Later. The Laramie Project was a really important and powerful piece of verbatim(ish) theatre that looked into the brutal murder of a young gay man in a Wyoming town. Now, a follow-up to the piece has been developed by the same company (Tectonic Theatre Project) and will be read by 100 theatre companies the world over in a 24-hour period on October 12/13.

Red Stitch have been invited to represent Melbourne which is a great fit. The company will be performing the piece at 7.30pm on Tuesday 13 Oct at BMW Edge (Fed Square). It’s right after Fringe and just at the start of MIAF, which isn’t that handy, but I doubt the US company was thinking that hard about Melbourne’s calendar when they thought up the thing. It’s a Tuesday, though, which makes it a bit easier.

You can get info and book at redstitch.net.

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