Australasian Drama Studies
Issue 82 | April 2023
able of Contents
1. Issue 082 (Full Issue PDF)
4. Provocation #1: Why I Make Theatre: For Now – A Theatre of the Everyday Raimondo Cortese
Theatre continues to thrive because at its essence, with its focus on presence and the ephemeral nature live performance, there is a malleability and fluidity that is conditioned to adapt to its present circumstances. In many cases, theatre has moved out of purpose-built venues and into the everyday environment to the extent that it often that blurs the boundaries between the fictive and the real. The work of local contemporary practitioners, Ros Oades, Ranters and Back to Back, as well as overseas artists such as Mariano Pensotti, Christiane Jitahy and Philippe Quesne, is analysed in relation to the various ways they construct new relationships with audience to optimise the liveness of the performance exchange.The audience is placed at the heart of narrative and story construction in a way that cannot be replicated by other digitalised mediums.
Theatre of the Everyday, Everydayness, Dramaturgy, Liveness, Wandering, Contemporary theatre companies and artists, Ranters, Philippe Quesne, Mariano Pensotti, Christiane Jitahy, PME-Art, Back to Back, Ros Oades, Creative VaQi.
5. Performance Improvisation: No Former Performer Has Performed This Performance Before and the Aesthetics of Play Rea Dennis, Penny Baron, Carolyn Hanna
No Former Performer Has Performed This Performance Before (NFP) is a unique improvisational form that emerges at the intersection of the practices of Melbourne based artists Penny Baron, Carolyn Hanna and Michael Havir. Penny and Carolyn have a long history of co-performance through their body of work as Born in a Taxi. This article unfolds their work through a process of reflective practice and in conversation with performance scholar, Dr Rea Dennis. It discusses the long-term nature of the NFP project and the process of improvisation they execute over a 50-minute live performance. It considers the role of studio practice in establishing their approach to improvisation and documents their shared performance language. The article introduces the seven key principles that inform their ensemble practice and discusses how these afford a framework to sustain durational performance improvisation in the live theatre.
Born in a Taxi, Performance Improvisation, Contemporary Performance, Australian Theatre, Live Performance, Performance Practice
6. ‘Brave Space’: Investigating Consent and Boundaries as a Framework for Culturally Safe Collaborative Arts Practice Sarah Austin, Isabella Vadiveloo
This essay aims to extend the understanding of cultural safety in the arts beyond its role as an ethical framework and provide an understanding of the features of culturally safe collaborative practice for artist practitioners, specifically those who work with young people, students, new graduates and emerging artists on creative projects. Bringing together approaches from social justice facilitation, consent and intimacy training and inclusive arts practice, the authors propose the emergence of a ‘brave space’ creative practice, designed to foreground cultural safety and consent in the ethical and mindful creation of a rehearsal room or collaborative project culture. Using case studies of the author’s own creative practice, including Austin’s facilitation of the Lets Take Over program at Northcote Town Hall in Melbourne’s inner north, and Vadiveloo’s work as an intimacy choreographer and director in main stage contexts at Melbourne Theatre Company and Malthouse Theatre, we draw on an interdisciplinary body of research literature that documents understandings of cultural safety and its impact. This supports an examination of the possible features of a culturally safe creative practice, and we consider how this might affect and transform the way we work in creative collaborations.
7. The 1948 Old Vic Tour: Viv and Larry Down Under Chris Hay
This article pairs published accounts of the legendary 1948 Old Vic Tour of Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, led by Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, with new insights revealed by their personal archives, Olivier’s tour diary, and subsequent biographies of Leigh. Adding this additional context highlights the pivotal role the 1948 Old Vic Tour played in the institutionalisation of theatre down under, by drawing a direct line from Olivier and Leigh’s interventions in support of an Australian national theatre, through Tyrone Guthrie’s subsequent 1949 tour, to the early activities of the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust.
8. A Workshop in Process: The Playwrights Workshop in Aotearoa Murray Edmond
This essay examines the introduction and adoption of the Playwrights Conference model of play development from the USA into Aotearoa, subsequent to its uptake in Australia. In tracing the transformation, questioning and abandonment of the Conference/Workshop model in Aotearoa, the essay draws on published sources, recent PhD theses and email interviews, as well as the author’s own involvement in the Workshops (observer 1982; actor 1984; director 1986; dramaturge and organizing committee 1990, 1992, 1994). The model’s relevance to the overall development of playwriting in Aotearoa, including Māori drama, is highlighted.
Playwrights Conference/Workshop, O’Neill Center play development model USA, Australia, Aotearoa, Lloyd Richards; Robert Lord, Playmarket; Aotearoa Playwrights’ Workshops, Māori playwriting, Age of Process; Neoliberal Arts Funding
9. The 25th Anniversary Tour of Krishnan’s Dairy: Touring Aotearoa New Zealand during the COVID-19 Pandemic James Wenley .
In 2022 Indian Ink Theatre Company embarked on a 25th anniversary Aotearoa New Zealand tour of Krishnan’s Dairy, written and performed by Jacob Rajan and directed by Justin Lewis. Estimated to have been performed over 400 times by Jacob Rajan, Krishnan’s Dairy is a celebrated New Zealand play. This tour was historically significant as it took place during the changing contexts of New Zealand’s Covid-19 pandemic experience, and because of Rajan’s vow that this would mark his final performance of the play. This article offers a close observation of Krishnan’s Dairy’s final tour and investigates how Indian Ink navigated the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic environment.
Aotearoa New Zealand Theatre; Touring; Indian Ink Theatre Company; Krishnan’s Dairy; Covid-19; Embedded research
10. Navigating the Staging of Richard Brome’s ‘Comic Therapy’ in The Sparagus Garden Kim Durban
The first full-length Australian production of The Sparagus Garden by Caroline dramatist Richard Brome was performed in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia in September 2021. The plot puts a lens on both emotional and physical health, swinging between family discord and the aspirations of youth. This paper argues that Brome uses the device of “comic therapy” and examines the given circumstances of bringing a forgotten play to the stage. Beyond high jinks and nonsense that are reminiscent of the worst excesses of the “wellness” industry, Brome’s therapeutic comedy focuses on love and reconciliation as keys to health. Directed during the COVID-19 crisis, Brome’s play was received by its undergraduate cast and strictly-masked audiences as highly comic yet heartfelt, with striking relevance to the present.
actor training A Jovial Crew asparagus Ballarat Richard Brome Richard Brome Online Caroline comic therapy COVID-19 lockdown Daylesford Family The Antipodes The City Wit The Northern Lass. The Sparagus Garden
11. Our Own Time and Space: Locating Autistic Poetics in Theatre Sarah Wilson
In her book Autistic Disturbances, neuroqueer literature scholar Julia Miele Rodas proposes five autistic poetics — ricochet, apostrophe, ejaculation, discretion, and invention — to recontextualize pathologized autistic communication traits and reject the overwhelming cultural perceptions of autistic silence. This article employs a synthesis of Rodas’s poetics and neuroqueer rhetorical analysis (drawn from Remi Yergeau) to examine autistic language aesthetic in two playtexts: Simon Stephen’s adaptation of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and Tim Sharp and Dead Puppet Society’s Laser Beak Man. In doing so, it locates just some of the autism already present in theatre canon.
autism, neuroqueer, autistic poetics, autistic dramaturgy.
12. A Playwright in Exile: Mammad Aidani Russell Fewster
The playwright/director Mammad Aidani’s experience of being exiled for forty years in Australia from his homeland in Iran is explored via contextual review, play excerpt and interview. For Aidani the continuing existence of the Iranian Government where freedom of expression is denied is a form of ongoing torture. His response has been to fight back through words via books and plays that detail the trauma of displacement.
Exile, Asylum Seekers, Refugees, Trauma, Alienation
13. Provocation #2 Brisbane Festival’s Hyperlocal Hope: The Dramaturgical Feat of Live and In-Person Programming During COVID-19 Hannah-Leigh Mason
Ubiquitous cancellations and online pivots affected many festivals at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some festivals, though, persisted with in-person programming. Brisbane Festival was one such organisation, suspending its international programming to promote a hyperlocal approach. In this paper, I explore the strengths and limitations of the Festival’s hyperlocal format to ascertain its viability for what is typically an international organisation. I assess Brisbane Festival’s 2020 program and how it signalled many dramaturgical changes for the organisation during the initial stages of the pandemic. The efficacy of transitioning to a hyperlocal format is a primary concern, prompting my investigation of whether such a transition has offered a viable roadmap for future editions of the Festival. For an organisation known to attract large crowds from international, national, and local regions, how did hyperlocal programming affect the organisational aims of the Festival? In answering this question, I offer a two-pronged argument. On the one hand, I argue that hyperlocal programming was a necessary pivot for Brisbane Festival to sustain its operations in the early stages of the pandemic. On the other hand, I assert that a return to international programming is necessary for the Festival to maintain its institutional dramaturgy. Developing a program that carefully balances between the two categories is, therefore, paramount for the Festival to support its vision sustainably.
Festivals, dramaturgy, programming, hyperlocal, pandemic