Tag Archives: TAP Gallery

Grimm tales

13 Sep

On the way to Grimm Tales last night, I stopped off for a drink with a friend at a little atmospheric bar.  Glass of wine in hand, he leaned towards me in the soft light, and said that I reminded him of ……an Old Testament wisdom writer.

I don’t care what people say, I don’t think anyone looks good in mood lighting.

Feeling as old as Methuselah, I arrived at TAP Gallery, and was uplifted.

Grimm Tales is a collection of the stories of the Brothers Grimm engagingly adapted by Carol Ann Duffy and Tim Supple. The directors of this production, Sepy Baghaei and Ava Stangherlin, have created a show that’s inventive and fun. The cast deliver vibrant performances.

The Grimm Brothers were not wisdom writers. They were collectors. Fired by nineteenth century romanticism and its insight that in a radically changing world much was about to be lost, they collected European folk tales. Despite the sanitized versions most of us know, the original stories (and here we get something much closer to the original) are wild old things; violent, passionate and (many would argue) morally dubious.

The received wisdom is that stories, all stories, are our attempt to impose meaning on the otherwise random nature of Life. They are attempts to force Life to fit.

But I left last night’s production musing on exactly what it is that stories do. To say they impose meaning is such a violent image, and one that reveals bad faith about the great human experiment. Sure, the subject matter of stories may be violent, but is story making itself violent? Spiders spin, birds sing and we tell stories. Are our stories a battle against Life? Or are they our natural birth right?

Veronica Kaye

Grimm Tales

Adapted by Carol Ann Duffy and Tim Supple

TAP Gallery til Sat 15th

http://2012.sydneyfringe.com/event/theatre/grimm-tales

The Great Lie of The Western World

19 Apr

Speak softly and carry a big stick. This could be the motto of Cathode Ray Tube and it is exemplified in their latest work The Great Lie of the Western World.

Despite the quiet naturalism, this is theatre going big game hunting.

Call a play The Great Lie and you raise the question ‘What is that lie?’

Is it ‘We are free’?

Is it ‘We are not free’?

I think the second of these – the denial of freedom – is the great lie. It’s a wonderful convenience, absolving us of responsibility and denying the enormous privilege of our lives.

Is this what the play suggests? Who cares? The strength of Alistair Powning and Michael Booth’s script is that audiences will leave asking questions not about the play but about themselves.

The performances are powerful because of their naturalism, which doesn’t always follow for me. I dislike the idea of truth in theatre, and think it’s one of the medium sized lies of the Western World. But this team is incredibly engaging, with Kate Skinner the standout.

See this for the script, the performances, but most of all, see it for the post show discussions. And ask yourself, ask your friends: what are the cultural myths that hold us back?

Veronica Kaye

The Great Lie of the Western World

TAP Gallery til April 29

http://www.tapgallery.org.au/category/shows/

Shopping Centres and Gutters

8 Nov

People go to the theatre for all sorts of reasons. For me, one of the greatest attractions is the insight it offers into how the world is viewed by others. If we’re asked our values we’re often lost for words. It’s hard to sum up our worldview in a few pithy sentences. It’s like asking a fish to describe the ocean. [Feel free to test the truth of this analogy.] But when we make theatre, we consciously -or unconsciously- create a picture of how we think the world is, or an intimation of how we think it should be.

Valentino Musico’s new play Shopping Centres and Gutters presents contemporary Sydney as a city soaked in class-consciousness. It’s not a piece of naturalism. The characters, who hail from both the eastern and western suburbs, are stereotypes. Or are they? That, for me, was the power of the piece. Musico’s play asks us to question whether we really are, or should be, defined by envy and shallowness.

The director, Ira Hal Seidenstein, draws engaging performances from his entire ensemble. The highlights are Aaron Di Pietro and Letitia Sutherland’s blistering satirical battles.

Reviews can be fascinating to read because, like plays, they’re a short cut to understanding the values of others. I can’t resist at this point referring to another reviewer’s response to Shopping Centres and Gutters. I call it a response, because as he admits, he didn’t write a review, having left at intermission. The reason given: “The Tap Gallery is a charming venue. However, it is not equipped to call itself a true theatre”. You could spend a long time thinking about what that last phrase means – and amuse yourself that it was elicited by a play about snobbery.

Veronica Kaye

Shopping Centres and Gutters

Until 19 Nov

TAP Gallery, Darlinghurst

http://tapgallery.org/category/shows/