Articles on Theatre

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A nation that understands tragedy is one that respects limits. José María Pérez Nuñez

Tragedy is dead in Australia, long live laughter and weather reports

Tragedy is a peculiar thing. More than a style, different from genre, it cuts across art forms to carve out its own non-Euclidean aesthetic space. In the 4th century BCE Aristotle, in his Poetics, famously…
Helen Morse and Yomal Rajasinghe as Anne and Majid in Dreamers, a play that feels of another world. Jeff Busby

Can Keene/Taylor’s new play Dreamers keep us from despair?

More than ten years after the last production by the Keene/Taylor Theatre Project (KTTP), playwright Daniel Keene and director Ariette Taylor have reunited to produce the Australian premiere of Dreamers…
In the realm of pop culture, ‘killer clowns’ have really proliferated and fostered coulrophobia – the fear of clowns. Mark Crossfield

Are clowns scary? Ha ha aaaargh

When Australian singer and TV personality Mark Holden appeared as a clown recently on Channel 7’s Dancing with the Stars, his supposedly “bizarre” behaviour sparked furious debate and complaints to the…
Goebbels has a deft hand at creating moments that surprise, turning the surreal and the macabre into exquisite moments of beauty. Photo: Wonge Bergmann, Melbourne Festival

Striking, original theatre: Heiner Goebbels at the Melbourne Festival

When the mountain changed its clothing, the Heiner Goebbels-directed show currently on at the Melbourne Festival, is an evasive piece of theatre, but it is through its elusive and mysterious qualities…
Since I Suppose, currently playing at the Melbourne Festival, is participatory theatre at its best. Credit: Paul Moir. Melbourne Festival

Power, prayer and pleasure: Since I Suppose at the Melbourne Festival

As the contemporary debate about surveillance and data-retention rages, it seems there’s little room left for mystery. Since I Suppose, an interactive and immersive artwork at the Melbourne Festival, by…
Despite the horrific content of this history – Big hART’s triumph is that this is not a story about victims. Melbourne Festival

Big hART’s Hipbone Sticking Out: truthful and ambitious theatre

Hipbone Sticking Out, the Big hART production now playing at the Melbourne Festival, begins in September 1983. We meet 16-year-old John Pat slowly dying, lying alone in a police cell in Roebourne. We find…
Chunky Move brings order to the mess of human experience. Photo: Sarah Walker. Melbourne International Arts Festival

The Complexity of Belonging at the Melbourne Festival – reviewed

I’ve often lamented that choosing to study the most complex organisms on Earth was the dumbest idea I’ve ever had; so I am always amazed at how artists represent the mess that is the human experience…
Photographs sometimes mean what they can be shown to mean. AAP Image/Julian Smith

Terrorism, truth and trust – how dramaturgy informs real life

Drama and its core principles are to be found in theatres while the real world goes on outside, right? Wrong. And recent events bear this out. Dramaturgy is the art of managing events in time for the benefit…
Black Diggers brings black and white Australians into the same narrative. Branco Gaica/Brisbane Festival

Black Diggers: out of the trenches at the Brisbane Festival

The performance space in which Wesley Enoch’s play Black Diggers is being performed at the Brisbane Festival is a large black box. It features a raised stage in the middle which proves versatile for battlegrounds…
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…
You won’t believe dramatic new portrayal of Silk Road… but you should. Johan.V./Flickr

New Fringe play offers insights on illegal ‘eBay for drugs’

Alex Oates’ debut Fringe play traces the journey of 19-year-old Geordie lad Bruce, as he begins dealing cocaine via the illicit…
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…

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