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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…
The topic of “women in comedy” is endlessly controversial – as Adrienne Truscott seems to know. MICF

Sex, rape and role models – how women in comedy perform

Two performance artists in this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) – the UK’s Bryony Kimmings and American Adrienne Truscott – have a certain flavour of humour: it’s the knowing, self-deprecating…
We’re primed first to see women as objects of desire and to listen to their voices second. Anne Edmonds, Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Funny how? Where women and stand-up meet for laughs

What is it about stand-up comedy that makes it a more difficult space for a funny woman to conquer? A bunch of seasoned female stand-ups return to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) this…
Love and war collide onstage in Sport for Jove’s production of All’s Well That Ends Well. Seiya Taguchi/Sport for Jove

Review: love and war in All’s Well That Ends Well

Love is a battlefield. While Pat Benatar might have made this line her own in the 1980s, Shakespeare and his contemporaries were also familiar with the trope. Analogies between wooing and hunting were…
Worst musical name ever? Yui Mok/PA

Lloyd Webber flop Stephen Ward bewildered the audience

No one has ever claimed that the gods of theatre are fair. Musicals have flopped in London for any number of reasons: some were ahead of their times (the first production of Sweeney Todd), some were overpriced…
‘A Journey Round my Skull’. Jonathan Blackford, Kindle Theatre

What theatre and science can learn from one another

C.P. Snow’s pessimistic view of “two cultures” – the arts and the sciences at war with each other, glowering across no man’s land, entrenched in their embattled fortress of true expression (as each saw…
Off the screen and in the flesh. EPA/Etienne Laurent

Seeing stars in the flesh and recalling who we wanted to be

When I was an adolescent I used to spend a lot of hours in useless discussions with friends as to who was a star and who wasn’t. John Travolta was, Christopher Reeve wasn’t but Superman was. Esther Williams…

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