Archive | May, 2012

Let the children keep their paint boxes

7 May

Poorly executed art does little harm. Its flaws are obvious, and its effect negligible. Let the children keep their paint boxes. The crayons need not be hid.

The danger lies in the slick and soul-less.

We should be wary when too many of our conversations about theatre sound like demarcation disputes, performance reviews, price negotiations, quality control panels, courts of petty session and magistrate’s verdicts. 

Only one conversation is vital. And it happens in the desert, when the artist battles with the devil – alone, naked and true – and in that battle forfeits her ego to win her soul.

And tired but free, she returns to the city, and scratched in the dirt if necessary, she offers a vision of the kingdom of heaven.

Veronica Kaye

Theatre Red

The Liar’s Bible

6 May

I had trouble knowing what to write about this play. I don’t evaluate productions. I discuss what they make me think about. But this production didn’t make me think about anything. Or not anything in particular. At first.

The Liar’s Bible by Fiona Samuel is a set of intriguing interconnected contemporary stories. It’s as though the writer, in casting a wide net, is hoping to catch as much of life as possible.

Or is the point the net itself?

Many of the characters are story makers; a poet, a filmmaker, a philosopher, a woman trying to discover her personal history. They are characters attempting to structure the unstructured perplexity of life.

So this is a story about stories? And so the great philosophic problem of the endless regression opens up before us like facing mirrors, in which we see a reflection of a reflection of a ……

For here am I telling a story about a story about telling a story. And now, dear reader, you are telling yourself a story about me telling a story about…

There are two solutions to this problem that I know; the sardonic or the ironic.

The first is to close your eyes to it, by acknowledging it only blandly.

The second is to accept it fully – and the feeble inability of our thoughts to master existence – and laugh.

And the play encourages this with a heap of funny lines and heartfelt moments. Julie Baz’s production is engaging and she elicits some good performances from her cast, in particular Paul Armstrong and Mark Langham.

I did have trouble knowing what to write about this play. But I enjoyed watching it.

Veronica Kaye

The Liar’s Bible

Sydney Independent Theatre Company til 19 May