Articles on Theatre

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We know whether a play such as Andrew Bovell’s Secret River works onstage – but can we explain its effect? AAP Image/Heidrun Löhr

Need a stage coach? Why some plays work, and others don’t

Anyone who has seen a play can tell you whether it "works" or not – but very few people can tell you exactly why. We all need a better grasp of this. Why? So that playwriting can better represent contemporary Australia.
Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser star in Beauty and the Beast, currently playing at the Adelaide Festival. Bronwen Sharp/Adelaide Festival of Arts

Beauty and the Beast promises and fails at the Adelaide Festival

The devised performance text of Beauty and the Beast at the Adelaide Festival promises to highlight concerns related to disability and societal taboos – but falls short of a world-class standard.
Olwen Fuoéré performing riverrun, her stage adaptation of James Joyce’s last work, Finnegans Wake. Colm Hogan, Adelaide Festival of Arts

The amateur’s age of unriddling: Finnegans Wake on stage

Olwen Fuoéré's extraordinary adaptation of Finnegans Wake for the stage brings a work with a reputation for obscurity back into the realm of popular culture.
Theatre critics are a vital point of mediation between the stage and the audience – and they must do their job with care and discernment. Tom E. Lewis onstage at the Malthouse in 2014. AAP Image/Jeff Busby

Theatre reviewing is a responsible job – and it requires care

Theatre reviewing should be a public judgement pronounced with discernment. So what are we to make of those who do it badly?
Nakkiah Lui asks why audiences are so willing to see Indigenous suffering onstage – but so unprepared to confront racism elsewhere in their lives. Brett Boardman/ Belvoir St

Western Sydney meets the city in Nakkiah Lui’s Kill the Messenger

Playwright Nakkiah Lui plays herself in Kill the Messenger, now on at Sydney's Belvoir Theatre. Hers is a strong, passionate and resilient Indigenous voice – and she has a message to deliver.
A national theatre would help showcase Australian drama past and present, such as A Long Way Home, a collaboration between the Sydney Theatre Company and the Australian Defence Force. AAP Image/Sydney Theater Company/Lisa Tomasetti

A National Theatre of Australia is needed, and it’s time

Sociologist Max Weber once called politics “the slow boring of hard boards”. If he had been in the arts he might have added, “using your head as a drill”. Australia’s cultural agenda often feels like an…
Recognition is a super-human process that requires sacrifice …. and a bit of flying. Atsushi Nishijima/Twentieth Century Fox

Is it a Birdman? Is it a play? It’s super meta-textuality!

What do Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Simpsons, and Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s film Birdman have in common? All three utilise the concept of meta-theatre. The concept of meta-theatre, or meta-text, in its crudest…
Hazem Shammas performs in the stage-adaptation of The Tribe in Sydney Festival. Urban Theatre Projects

Q&A with author of The Tribe: Michael Mohammed Ahmad

This week, as part of Sydney Festival’s Bankstown: Live program, Michael Mohammed Ahmad will present a stage-adaptation of his debut novel. The Tribe, published in 2014, tells the story of three generations…
In Wot? No Fish!! Braverman made the theatre into a kind of living room, offering the audience gefilte fish with chrein sauce. Sydney Festival

Every detail counts in Wot? No Fish!! at Sydney Festival

During an artist talk just an hour before performing Wot? No Fish!! on Saturday at the Sydney Festival, English writer/actor Danny Braverman observed that as an artist he seeks “to foreground universals…
Is it ever okay to depict the assassination of living person? KCNA/Reuters

The Interview, Hollywood and the politics of ridicule

Sony’s decision to cancel the Christmas Day release of its film The Interview is drawing harsh criticism from Hollywood’s elite. George Clooney is asking everyone to stand up against the cancellation…
Ridley Scott’s casting choices for Exodus: Gods and Kings are emblematic of a larger, systemic problem in the entertainment industry. Movie Pilot

Ridley Scott’s casting of white actors is symptomatic of larger problems

Director Ridley Scott recently set off a firestorm when he dismissed those who criticized him for casting white actors as every major character in the recently released Exodus: Gods and Kings, while reserving…
James Cromwell as an older Rupert Murdoch in David Williamson’s show Rupert. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Staging power: David Williamson’s portrait of Citizen Murdoch

The Melbourne Theatre Company’s (MTC) production of David Williamson’s 2013 play Rupert has finally made it to Sydney, via Melbourne and Washington, in late 2014. Along the way, the MTC has acquired the…
The recent discovery of a First Folio in St. Omer, France brings the total number of known copies to 233. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, National Art Library

The strange fates of the Shakespeare First Folio

The Shakespeare First Folio (1623), the first collected edition of his plays and the sole source for half of them (including Macbeth, Antony & Cleopatra, All’s Well, As You Like It, and The Tempest…
Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride is a milestone in opera history – and Pinchgut’s production is marvellous. Photo: Keith Saunders. Pinchgut Opera

Pinchgut’s Iphigénie en Tauride: a work of pure theatrical magic

In any Opera History 101 course, Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787) is cited as one of the most influential figures in the development of opera. And, of course, this is true. Gluck’s operas, and his…
Pantomime is highly receptive to insane ideas provided they involve terrible jokes. Lukas Coch/AAP

This panto season: The Tale of Tony Rabbit or The Bad Bunny

There aren’t many things I miss about London. Waiting for the 22 bus on evenings of interplanetary cold: no. Inching down Oxford Street through crowds like rows of rugby prop forwards: not really. The…
Movie theaters have seen declining box office revenues over the past two years. Michael Gabler/Wikimedia Commons

Event cinema could save the movie theater

If Dumber and Dumber To, Interstellar and Big Hero 6 didn’t get you to the movies last week, you weren’t alone: just before Thanksgiving, Box Office Mojo put year-to-date gross receipts at almost $9 billion…

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