Monday, December 24, 2012

My Year in Theatre (2012)

Throughout this year I've been working like a bitch on a number of shows. I've worked in community theatre, student productions, and professional and independent theatre. I've volunteed hundreds of hours for projects I've loved and been paid a little for others, and I've also given my time to ushering, facilitating, and teaching for many different organisations. I've also blogged for two professional theatre festivals and enjoyed blogging, either by invitation or just to share my thoughts on theatre, and supported a number of shows and collectives financially through Pozible and another fund raising schemes (buying lots of fund-raising chocolates . . !). So here is a comprehensive list and explanation of what I've been in - bring on 2013!
Sweeney Todd.

The first of show of the year had actually started rehearsals at the end of November of 2011. I was involved in my first musical, Ignatians Musical Society's Sweeney Todd where I was a chorus member among a cast of over 30. Although I was going to skip my audition, I ended up being offered a place in the ensemble and as a result spent over 400 hours in rehearsal, with included rigorous vocal rehearsals and exhausting all day rehearsals every weekend up until the show day. The show opened on March 21st and ran 18 performances until April 13th, and was my first time I had sung in front of a paying audience. I got to be creep around, wear a delightfully/dreafully tacky looking beard, get my throat slit, sing my favourite lines and run around the stage like a lunatic. Simply awesome, and if Ignatians stages any other Sondheim pieces, I'll be there (or if Passion comes up, watching the show and weeping gently every evening).

Of Little Matter.
Simultaneous with Sweeney, I was also involved in two other projects. One of which was helping Sarah Winter realise her incredible concept for a floating feast through her PhD studies. We had a week in February of trial and error, brainstorming, and realising things that were out of an enchanting dream. The project went on to become a dinner with gravity, which had a two week run at La Boite Indie across the 28th of June til the 8th of July later in the year. The other project was the first Vena Cava Production's show of the year, Of Little Matter, which had rehearsals through February and March and performed from March 26th - 31st. Under the direction of David Morton the show is one of the first of it's kind, a show with an ensemble of actors who helped bring a story to life by animating characters exclusively with their hands. Despite not being able to dedicate myself fully to the project, I was the composer and sound designer on the show, a couple of pieces being some of my favourite things I've written this year. Although I'm no longer involved with the project, it went on to do a creative development at Brisbane Powerhouse in November this year, and with it's potential it's not going to stop there. I also spent a lot of time during late February as a featured blogger in Brisbane Powerhouse's World Theatre Festival, where I saw A Spectacular of Sorts, the prelude to a very special show I would be later working on in October.

a dinner with gravity.
The next saga I got involved in was Copstitutes! Professional Lovers, Amateur Detectives! Concieved, written, directed and also partly acted by Nicholas K Watson, this piece had its read through in April before entering a very vague rehearsal process in May, where in performed May 25th for one performance, with an oversold audience that flowed out of The Studio. We reunited for another special showing after we were selected as a wildcard contestant in August for Short + Sweet. We had a good performance on the 18th, but were unsuccessful going any further (not really a surprise to us, though). During the entire Copstitutes process I was also writing reviews for productions in Anywhere Theatre Festival, a cute little emerging festival which aims to solve the issue of having independent theatre presented in a theatre by having them present anywhere - caf├ęs, parks, roads etc.  Earlier in May we were also working on our Production 2 show, Performing, Seriously! which was facilitated by Benjamin Schostakowski and had one performance on the 30th (we got a very high mark for it!).

June and July rolled by with a dinner with gravity (which had a sell out season) and I also joined onto Vena Cava's third production of the year, Iphigenia 2.0, which was directed by Dave Sleswick. I was sound designer, composer and operator for the show, which was an adaptation of the original text Iphigenia in Tauris by Euripides by Charles Mee. The new text is a vicious attack on consumerism and the evils of war, and the season ran from July 30th until August 3rd. After having fun with Copstitutes again, I hopped straight into doing sound design for David Stewart's honours piece, Cotton Pony. Following the unfortunate life of Ebony Zedler, the piece examined how far theatre could be taken before the audience renders it unacceptable. Despite its darker nature, the piece was very funny, and it was so much fun to be able to pick and choose any music I wanted without having to worry about copyright.

A Tribute of Sorts.
September (and later December) was the only month where I wasn't involved directly with a production, so I enjoyed seeing a lot of works at the Brisbane Festival. I did also volunteer the entire duration of the Festival of Australian Student Theatre (FAST) from the 7th-9th, which is a fantastic annual event which invites students from all over Australian to travel to Brisbane and present their work  at La Boite's Roundhouse Theatre. In October I started work on two shows, one of which was my best friend's writing/directing debut for a piece in 2high Festival called Propagation. I was sound designer/operator, although I'm ashamed to say that it was never priority and I wish I could have worked on it more - it was a big success though, and a lot of people were very impressed by its one showing on the 10th of November. In October I also started to work as an assistant stage hand (read: moving things around behind the seasons as quietly and quickly as humanly possible like a bitch) on my favourite show of the year. A Spectacular of Sorts changed into A Tribute of Sorts, which was written and directed by Benjamin Schostakowski with Emily Curtin and Dash Kruck. The narrative revolves around cousins Ivan and Juniper Plank, who take it upon themselves to coordinate a grim but hilariously inappropriate homage to children who find death "a little too quickly". The show's season, which ran from October 25th until November 10th, was an absolute sell out and the best fun I've ever had on a show - as Lucas Stibbard said, I'm very "heart sore" to see it go, but hopefully it will have another life somewhere, someday . . . :0).

And then the theatre world stopped. :)

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