Articles on Theatre

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Desdemona is one of several productions at this year’s Melbourne Festival that invites its audiences to listen to tragedy and its reverberations. Mark Allan/Melbourne Festival

Toni Morrison’s Desdemona invites us to listen not just hear

Tony Morrison's Desdemona, which opens today in Melbourne, asks many questions of its audience. Perhaps most pressingly: what does it really mean to listen, rather than hear?
From Afar on a Hill seeks to dispel misconceptions around the numbers, circumstances, motivations and the actual mechanisms for acceptance of asylum seekers in Australia. Company Upstairs

Too close for comfort: contemplating the plight of asylum seekers in From Afar on a Hill

From Afar on a Hill is an immersive theatre work that provides insight into the lived experience of asylum seekers and lays bare the arbitrariness of Australia’s immigration policies.
Every year thousands of students read George Orwell’s 1984 and are doubtless convinced that its perspective on language and power is “definitive”. Except that it’s not; and hasn’t been since at least the 1970s. Manuel Harlan/Melbourne Festival

Goodbye to all that: Orwell’s 1984 is a boot stamping on a human face no more

Many still regard George Orwell’s 1984 and its message about the nature of language and power "definitive". But globalisation has revolutionised how we communicate; 1984 tells us nothing about our future.
What does telling the story of the long-running conflict in the Congo through the lens of Verdi’s Macbeth teach us? Owen Metsileng and Nobulumko Mngxek in Macbeth. by Nicky Newman

Macbeth brings double, double, toil and trouble from DR Congo

Brett Bailey's Macbeth at Brisbane Festival is a powerful production that relocates Verdi's opera (based on Shakespeare’s play) to the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Interactive children’s theatre engages childrens’ innate creative impulses and encourages them to be curious and playful. Image by Kristian Laemmie-Ruff. Arena Theatra

Not so Fringe: interactive children’s theatre takes centre stage

An expanded program of interactive performances for children at this year's Melbourne Fringe Festival harnesses their audience's innate creative abilities and invites them to both watch and join in.
Alison Bell as Emma, making the long, counter-intuitive journey from despair to hope, is perfect in every way. Shane Reid

Betrayal by Harold Pinter, and our betrayal of ourselves

This production of a very great play by the State Theatre Company of South Australia is beautiful, clarified, and haunting. You will be relieved to know it is "excellent". More to the point it is right.
Greek tragedy remains the most modern form of drama, unafraid to question everything we value. Sarah Walker. Photo: Jane Montgomery Griffiths as The Leader and Aaron Orzech as Haemon.

Antigone now: Greek tragedy is the debate we have to have

Regardless of reasoning and the plethora of scholarship that exists, Greek tragedy remains the most modern form of drama. It is unafraid to question everything we value.
‘What makes directing worthwhile are the people who you do it with.’ Jane Dempster/AAP. Bell Shakespeare's production of Tartuffe, 2014.

Theatre directing in Australia – some notes from the wings

'Theatre directors come in two kinds: "star" and "of use". I'm in the latter category, which means that, for any given play, there are at least three or four other directors who could do it equally well.'
Sophiline Cheam Shapiro (L) in rehearsal with one of the members of the Sophiline Arts Ensemble. Khmer Arts Theater, Takhmao (Kandal Province), Cambodia. June 26, 2015. Photo by Chris Philips

Re-enchanting the world with performing arts: stories from Cambodia

New stories can offer insight on alternative ways of living out our lives. As the experience in Cambodia shows, the performing arts can help us face up to enormous challenges and possibilities.
At its best, opera can, indeed, be a powerful form of allegorical theatre. EPA/Gian Ehrenzeller (Image from Verdi's I due Foscari)

Opera, sexual violence, and the art of telling terrible tales

A gang-rape scene in a new London staging of Rossini's Guillaume Tell was greeted with audience booing, and has sparked ongoing controversy. Are opera directors at risk of miscomprehending the medium?
Stage musicals, such as the Rocky Horror Show, don’t necessarily make sense. Nor do recent changes to arts funding. AAP Image/Paul Miller

We have a ‘show tunes’ government, with an arts policy to match

In cultural policy every good idea becomes a bad one if the context is confused. The fact there wasn’t initial clarity around the Program for Excellence indicates it will probably do more harm than good.
Sport for Jove’s production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is now onstage in Sydney. Sport for Jove

Review: The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare’s comedy of cruelty

Sport for Jove's The Merchant of Venice is a production of ourstanding clarity, making it ideal for students or perhaps even those who simply don’t often see Shakespeare in the theatre.
Duncan Graham’s 2010 play Cut does not reveal itself as a traditional play does – but it’s a powerful demonstration of the evolution of theatrical storytelling. Garry Cockburn

Playwriting doesn’t get better or worse – but it does evolve

Drama involves an altered representation of reality – and the way we understand both the representations and the reality evolve. Duncan Graham's recent play Cut shows how significantly those understandings change.

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