This review comes from Night Writes guest reviewer Gabriella Florek
Perhaps the big challenge for any adaptation is making the decision of how it will relate to the original text. Regardless of what is kept, culled, or changed, there is often still a feeling of responsibility to keep some essence of what the writer of the story intended or, if not, to directly challenge and subvert it. Then of course, there is the argument that a new interpretation should be judged as a stand alone work and shouldn’t be critiqued in relation to whatever came before it. No matter which path is taken, the audience is always going to bring with them their own expectations as to what the text means to them, what they would like to see, and what they think it should mean.
Some forty-five years ago, there was very little information and treatment available for mental illness so, when Anne’s first son Jonathan began acting out, getting aggressive, skipping school, and speaking about things no one else could see, the rough road to a diagnosis was only the beginning of the family’s battle to get Jonathan help and safety.
The universe in incomprehensibly enormous and the energy flowing through it ancient and powerful. It operates through cycles and a continuously negotiated balance between light and darkness. In this reimagining of the legend of 后羿 (Hou Yi) and 嫦娥 (Chang’e) Little Eggs Collective finds joy and life in an early story of love, loyalty, and immortality.
[NOTE: This review contains a major spoiler in the second to last paragraph. Audience members who wish to be surprised are advised not to read it.]
When the #MeToo movement went viral in 2017 it began exposing the complicity of the entertainment industry in maintaining and covering up predatory power dynamics between older male gatekeepers and younger women new to the industry who saw their exploitation as a necessary stepping stone in their burgeoning careers. But that power dynamic was not new nor was it limited to Hollywood. Hannah Moscovitch’s 2020 script illustrates the same patterns alive and well in academia and the writing industry.
While it might not seem that a play about the English Civil Wars and the Putney Debates of 1640s England would have much resonance in 21st century Australia, Caryl Churchill’s framing, even some 45 years after the first staging, see our protests as rehashings of the same concerns of religious freedom, democracy, and social justice.
Wayside Bride is a new Australian play that celebrates the heartaches and beauty of Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross. Around 2016, the playwright Alana Valentine put a call out for stories of people who were married there and, over the years of interviewing, listening and writing, she has created this play. With a mix of verbatim storytelling and time travel, she shines a spotlight on the importance of community and social work in preserving this remarkable piece of Australian history.
There’s an old, insidious myth that there were no Aboriginal people in lutriwita (Tasmania) after British colonisation. It’s something Palawa have been fighting for decades to disprove and now they have the added difficulty of a rising popularity in reclaiming disowned Aboriginality, people uncovering buried ancestry or following family rumours and wanting recognition of their Palawa inheritance.
Is there a more pressing time than now, in the centre of the social, political, environmental, health crisis of our time, to consider the impact of art? For one young man, some snippets of songs are enough to unravel the deeply enmeshed timelines of his life, his community, and the political stability of his home country. Despite trying to start over on another shore, music and the memories tied up in the lyrics and rhythms follow him, calling him back to a life he’d rather forget.
What is it about theatre? Good and bad; amateur and professional; cast, crew, and audience; why do we do it? It’s about love and truth and heartbreak and fun and the simple thrill of telling a good story. In Belvoir’s second reopening, the Boomkak Panto brings together the time-honoured traditions of theatre with a fresh, contemporary perspective as a celebration of the very best of theatre-making.