Articles on Theatre

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Performers cavort around five onstage bathtubs in Soap, currently playing at the Brisbane Festival. Andy Phillipson/Brisbane Festival

Soap: a sexy night on the tiles at the Brisbane Festival

Traditionally soap is made by rendering down lard. But in this tight show, Soap, playing at the Brisbane Festival, there isn’t an ounce of fat to be seen. The pace is fast and the bodies are lean. It’s…
Brendan Cowell’s new play The Sublime threatens to purge the word rape of its power – and that’s a dangerous move. Jeff Busby/MTC

We need language to shock: why The Sublime gets rape wrong

Here are two opposing definitions of rape. Rape: a violent, criminal act almost exclusively inflicted on women and girls by men. An ordeal of which the outcome is devastating, shaming, psychologically…
The use of sex worker testimony by playwright Peta Brady has outraged interviewee Jane Green. Vixen Collective Archives

Ugly Mugs: ‘an unacceptable breach of sex workers’ privacy’

Peta Brady’s Ugly Mugs, which I saw in Sydney last week, opens with a gurney being wheeled onto the stage – on it, a sex worker who has died at the hands of a client and who, like the phoenix tattooed…
Skinheads are an easy target in the fight against racism. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Blood Orange overplays Scottish far right at the Fringe

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has, over the years, developed a reputation as a hotbed for alternative, edgy, and controversial performance. Graham Main’s Blood Orange is no exception. The play is a seething…
When it comes to analysing culture, numbers only tell part of the story. Ken Douglas

Theatre companies don’t produce numbers – they produce shows

Around 89,960. That’s the number of meals we can expect to eat if we live to the age of 82. Take an average of men and women’s life expectancies (79.9 + 84.3 ÷ 2), x 3 meals a day, x 365 days a year…
Sydney Chamber Opera’s Mayakovksy critically engages with neglected aspects of the great Russian poet’s biography. Photo: Zan Wimberley

Mayakovsky at Carriageworks: a telegram from an alien future

“I’m a poet. That’s what makes me interesting.” So begins the autobiography of Vladimir Mayakovsky, whose futuristic militarisation of poetic verse proved even more revolutionary than the Bolsheviks’ seizure…
Hugo Weaving’s Macbeth dwells on the isolation and introspection of one of Shakespeare’s great tragic leads. Photo: Brett Boardman. Sydney Theatre Company

Hugo Weaving reveals Macbeth’s weakness – and his unhappiness

Sydney Theatre Company’s new production of Macbeth may draw attention for its star, Hugo Weaving, but the most powerful agent of this production is the theatrical space. Director Kip Williams has inverted…
Contemporary artists find power in the formalism, minimalism and stylised theatricality of Noh. Robert Wilson/ Philip Glass collaboration Einstein on the Beach, AAP/ Arts Centre Melbourne, Pomegranate Arts, Lucie Jansch

Empire of stillness: the six essential aspects of Japanese Noh

Theatre of dreams, theatre of play opened this week at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), a new exhibit giving a fascinating glimpse into one of Japan’s great theatrical traditions nō (Noh) through…
The limitations of the theatre become the production’s emotional heart. Michele Mossop

Henry V meets the London Blitz and brings the house down

Bell Shakespeare’s new production of William Shakespeare’s Henry V – which opened in Canberra on June 14 – interrogates the complexities of war through a unique framing device: its scenes are played out…
What happens when the big stories of Shakespeare meet the big characters of prison? Benjamin Prindable Photography

Bard labour: doing time with the Shakespeare Prison Project

Since 2006, I have led the Shakespeare Prison Project, an initiative by the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble, in high-security men’s prisons. Three or four artists work with 12 to 20 prisoners over three…
It’s a risky undertaking – but we need new works of Australian theatre, such as The Secret River, here shown onstage at the Sydney Theatre Company in 2013. AAP Image/Heidrun Löhr

It’s time to adapt: we need a fully functioning national drama

Last year in Australian theatre a rare event took place: a sector-wide debate about the role of classic adaptations in the national repertoire. But the discussion had darker resonances and was clearly…
Around the globe and back again. Pawel Libera

Shakespeare’s Globe: why the Bard travels so well

We’ve been celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th birthday week with fun, festivals, exhibitions, a cake competition – and the launch of an improbably epic tour of Hamlet from the Globe in London “to every country…
Did you get a card for the bard? Intrigue around Shakespeare the man continues unabated. Wikimedia Commons

To b-day, or not to b-day: what a piece of work is Shakespeare

In William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the conspirator Cassius bitterly describes the position of Caesar in Rome. He says: … [H]e doth bestride the narrow world Like a colossus, and we petty men Walk…

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