/ Sunday Arts Magazine / Arts / Dead Royal, Leah Goldberg…, Bertolt Brecht, Israeli Film Fest

 

Brendan reviews 2 films, starting with The Shallows–a thriller, horror, survival pic starring Blake Lively. Brendan enjoyed it more than he thought he would-3.5 stars. Next is Endless Poetry, a French Chilean drama directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky and is the second part of his autobiographical series, preceded by The Dance of Reality (2013)–4.0 stars.  This film is part of the Cine Latino Film Festival at Palace Cinemas until 31 August.  David and Brendan saw The Productions Company’s musical comedy Whodunnit–Kander and Ebb’s Curtains on until 28 August. It’s the first time this piece has been performed on a large scale in Australia. The music is excellent, the songs are witty, the leading man, ensemble cast and chorus are amazing, and the sets are simple but effective. David later plays a song called This Girl by the band Cookin’ on 3 Burners which is doing very well in Europe and then plays a Rupert Wainwright song and recommends the DVD of him playing live at Carnegie Hall.

Special guests this Sunday are:

13:52 to 29:26 mins–Chris Ioan Roberts is the writer, director and actor in Dead Royal on at fortyfivedownstairs from 23 to 28 August. Chris learned ballet initially but didn’t consider himself good so he persuaded his writer brother to teach him writing techniques. Dead Royal is the first show he’s written–a camp story of Wallis Simpson and Princess Diana meeting before she gets married. It originated from a conversation he had about the uncharacteristic outpouring of grief by the English, at Diana’s death and wanted to examine the period just before Diana got married, when English society was very tightly bound.  He needed support so he pitched the idea to a progressive theatre in London (where he lives) called Ovalhouse, and they commissioned the work. The first showing went well and then he got a commission to make it full-length work. Doing this took a lot out of him–he read a lot of history, had many pub conversations about the royals, his personal life had ‘seismic shifts’, and he had to use ‘self-investigation. to properly ‘mine’ what was happening between the 2 women. The show premiered in London a year ago and both critics and theatregoers really embraced it. He was invited to show it at the Brisbane Arts Festival and then was invited here. Chris plays both women in the play and talks about this experience. He is writing his next play at present about the last years of Tchaikovsky and talks a bit about this.

31:19 to 52:50 mins–Performance-maker Deborah Leiser-Moore and musician/singer Adi Sappir are here to talk about their show The Leah Goldberg Variations on at The Butterfly Club on 8, 10 and 11 September at 7pm. Deborah is originally from Sydney and has been in contemporary performance for many years. As a Performance-maker she rarely uses plays; it’s work that uses the body, text, multiple theatrical languages and promenade work. It engages an audience viscerally, activating the senses rather than the intellect and is thematically-based.  A recent piece she did was Kaboom:stories from distant front lines which she discusses with our hosts. Adi is from Israel and is a cellist and singer. She likes to combine music with other artforms and sees it as part of the wider culture which ups its impact. Deborah and Adi have worked together before, and collaborated again to form their ‘performance piece’ involving singing, speech (using Leah’s diaries), visuals and cello music to describe and give a sense of who Leah Goldberg (an Israeli poet) was.  They wanted to draw the audience in by opening up their imagination rather than give all the info about her.  Deborah explains Adi came to her because she wanted to celebrate this prominent female poet.  They also wanted to try different methods or combinations to what they’d both done before. Our guests play a sample of the piece in the studio from Leah’s early days, using the cello, diary & other text and song. They describe the process of putting the piece together and also touring it.

53:52 to 1:14:11 mins–Director Phil Rouse from Theatreworks St Kilda is here to talks about his production of Bertolt Brecht’s satire The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui on from 25 August to 10 September. Phil grew up spending a lot of time in a ballroom dancing studio where his mum worked.  Music was his first love and he enjoyed many different styles and also played guitar. Then theatre slowly infiltrated as he made theatre and acted at high school and uni; and he felt more comfortable expressing himself with it than with music–especially as a director. He explains this.  As for the play, it is a parody of the rise of Hitler (up to 1935). Brecht wrote it in 3 weeks in 1941, 8 years after he’d fled Germany. Although Phil chose the play earlier, he thought it particularly relevant in 2016 when considering the wave of nationalistic conservatism washing through the UK and Europe as well as the alarming rise of the demagogue Trump in the US. The word ‘resistable’ in the play signifies that the rise was not inevitable. That at various points during the show someone could’ve stopped the rise, just by doing something different.  It continued due to people’s weakness, selfishness or greed which again is being seen in this day and age. In the context of the original play, Ui is a gangster in the 1920s. There is a lot of plot in it but every plot point has a historic counterpoint with many ‘deals’ being made.  Phil has given it a 2016 ‘feel’, in various ways, without getting rid of the original format.  He and our hosts then talk at length about Phil’s approach to directing and themes in the play.

1:14:22 to 1:32:17 mins– Richard Moore is Artistic Director of the AICE Israeli Film Festival on from 14 to 25 September at Cinema Nova. He talks about his arts background and inspirations in an entertaining way.  These include: kid’s theatre, acting in an International Dutch theatre co., falling in love with a troupe of Japanese Butoh dancers, making a doco about them via amazing circumstances which was shown on SBS, being commissioned by the ABC to make more docos including ones on Charles Blackman & the Indigenous art market, being head of Arts on ABC TV for some years, being executive director of MIFF for 5 years and fighting with MIFF’s board.  The Israeli Film Festival is the 3rd fest this year for Richard. Before that he did the City of Greater Dandenong Short film Festival–which he really enjoyed doing and also Hot Docs–a festival of docos originally from Canada which he’d proposed to Palace Cinemas. He now wants to be a baker!! (Tongue in cheek or not??).  As for the Israeli Film Fest, Richard discusses Barak and Tomer Heymann’s new film- Who’s going to love me now?– which is a doco and a queer film with universal themes about a 40yo Israeli gay man with HIV, living in London, who goes back to Israel to try to resolve things with his estranged, traditional family. There are 16 films altogether in the festival, more than half of which are docos. It’s a competition this year, funded by the AICE, with $25,000 for the best film. Richard is part of the jury that will judge this. He then talks a bit about the Israeli Film Industry and their bent towards docos.

 

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