Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Malthouse Theatre's Season 2, 2010 launch

Hey you guys! Malthouse Theatre launched the second half of its 2010 season last night and various things were learnt (obv. not regarding the feckless deployment of the passive voice in opening paragraphs). THESE INCLUDED:

The CUB Malthouse is this month celebrating 20 years since the first production was staged there.

Michael Kantor can recover well after accidentally saying “incest” instead of “insect”.

Michael Kantor can turn that stumble into another joke when he is later required to actually say “incest”.

The notion of inadvertently eating your children after they have been baked into a pie will draw audible and repeated responses from an intrigued audience.

People who go to Malthouse launches really dig the catering and will yell at you if you cut the queue (this didn't happen to me but I have it on decent authority).

But enough of this flimflam. What's on the calendar for the rest of the year?

International dance piece by Meg Stuart (US) and Philipp Gehmacher (Austrian born but I think he might live in the Netherlands now). Looks great – emotive, kind of indie, both minimal and expressive and set to a live score played by a scruffy Belgian with an electric guitar. The video provided by the choreographers showed them acting a bit disgruntled while standing in a park. Excellent.

New dance commission from Lucy Guerin looking at the effect the news has on our lives. I remember her mentioning this when it was just a rough concept last year, and then she was toying with the idea of having a real newsreader peforming in the piece. I don't think she's gone with that but her cast includes some really top dancers. Partner Gideon Obarzanek is doing the set and Kantor mentioned that the backdrop to the piece is a gigantic and incredibly arresting news image. No idea what it will be.

This one-hander drew a very positive review from Cameron Woodhead when it played a year or two ago (at The Stork? Can't recall. Sounds like a Stork show). I missed it then and thought it sounded a bit dry – deviser/performer Jane Montgomery Griffiths is a preeminent professor of Sapphic studies which doesn't necessarily make for great theatre, but her video of a snippet of the piece last night revealed a very engaging and quite funny performer.

I can't wait for this. Ewen Leslie as Josef K – brilliant. Kafka doesn't generally provoke enough interest to justify huge productions but this may well change that. I will even reread The Trial to celebrate. Not that I need any prodding. I really like that obscure little book that nobody has heard of.

This won a lot of people over at the launch – The Hayloft Project teaming up with a couple of Black Lung guys to present a very violent and bleak adaptation of Seneca. Probably not a feelgood show (unless you feel good about the whole eating the kids thing mentioned above, in which case, well, more power to you).

A new Ranters production – using the same cast as last year's Affection (and seeming an extension of that show and the previous Holiday), but with a more focused or at least sellable premise. It's based on the night when one of the creators' friends stepped out of his Fitzroy St apartment to go strike up conversations with random strangers and the unexpected intimacies that resulted. Could be an underwhelming piece in other hands but I'm pretty sure the brothers Cortese will find gold in this seam.

UK retro-avant-gardists 1927 return with a new show created for Malthouse – more intriguing merging of live B&W performance and nostalgic projected animation. I think it's still a work-in-progress as I didn't get much of a sense of it from the launch; if you liked their last outing this one'll no doubt appeal.

I've read the script for this solo show and it's pretty harrowing. It reminded me a bit of La Douleur, another one-woman Berlin-based war diary which Malthouse produced a few years ago. This one scored strong reviews in Sydney and was snapped up for a local production by the same team.

….And rounding out the year is a restaging of the Barry Koskie rendering of Poe's classic short story. Kantor himself is directing the new production with Martin Niedermair reprising his role. Very good, very good.

Well, on paper I hadn't been excessively excited by Mr Kantor's final season at Malthouse but after delving a little I'm pretty confident that most if not all of these will be first-class shows. It's a pretty dynamic list and while Kantor himself isn't directing any bar The Tell-Tale Heart they do reflect pretty well his time steering the ship. Where too from here? I don't know if anybody has the answer to that one yet.

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