Thursday, October 25, 2012
A View From Moving Windows
true west theatre presents A VIEW FROM MOVING WINDOWS at the Riverside Theatre, Parramatta
In September 2010, I saw on one afternoon, several offerings from some young Australian writers, entitled STORIES FROM THE 428, curated by Augusta Supple. Writers sat on the 428 bus route and wrote short sketches/plays, reflecting an experience of that Circular Quay to Marrickville/Canterbury ride. Actors were found, and Directors rounded up and produced at the Sidetrack theatre.
A VIEW FROM MOVING WINDOWS, began for the writers as a train journey from Central Station to Parramatta. Similarly, as in the 428 enterprise, they were commissioned by Augusta Supple, in this case, to write some work of no more than 7 minutes in length. Actors were found, but in a more sophisticated choice, Augusta Supple has directed all of this work herself, and had a relatively experienced technical team to support her, including: Set Designer, Sian James-Holland - excellent; Lighting Designer, Marissa Dale-Johnson- sophisticated; Composer, Jeremy Silver and choreographer, Cloe Fournier. In this case the writers varied in experience from new to tried and well known: Donna Abela, Vanessa Bates, Jessica Bellamy, John AD Fraser, Noelle Janaczewska, Nick Parsons, Teik-Kim Pok, Emrys Quin and Alison Rooke. The venue was up at the Riverside Theatres as part of their true west, New Writing project for 2012.
The increase of ambition and the upward trajectory of the artistic inputs to this project paid off wonderfully. Augusta Supple, a tireless and inspired, nay, passionate creator and supporter of New Australian writing has solicited some more consistently good writing from within a very difficult parameter of stricture - 7 minutes or less. It is a very short time. What can a writer put on the page that will lift onto the stage? Character, plot,theme; monologue, duologue, sketch, poem,prose, lyric and song? A play? Just what form to tackle it in? And then, how to turn it over to other people, actors, and others in the artistic team, to perform and shape it within their gifts and intellectual insights and spirit for life and the world!
Complicated, challenging and harder than what Ms Supple makes it look. All power to Ms Supple then for finding and then 'herding' all these talents together and encouraging an audience to participate in the reflection of their lives and witnessing an expressive permanent token of their evolving, emerging Australian cultures.
I enjoyed the work of Nick Parsons, THE CARRIAGE; interested in the work by Vanessa Bates, THIS TRAIN- MONKEYS and THIS TRAIN (especially as I had seen her play PORN.CAKEat the Griffin in June), although I would have liked a 'blue' pen to edit some of it - even in her short time allotment, Ms Bates can go on a bit....; and, particularly curious at what Teik-Kim Pok might do with a larger brief, some time, as I found his short large cast work, HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU, THE UNRESTRICTED EDITION, in form, fairly adventurous. Mind, I know Mr Pok from his performance work for many Performance Space projects, where experimental form is part and parcel of the event, more often than less.
That all the actors are professionals, young and otherwise, earning their stripes and maintaining their skills with this work (done, no doubt without payment), and with such commitment to the writer and to Ms Supple is a credit to them all. I checked my program and took note especially of Alex Bryant-Smith, Helen O'Leary, Craig Meneaud, IIdiko Susany, Damian Sommerland and Peter Maple.
One wonders if any of the guardians from the 'pointy-end' of our performing art companies, say, The Sydney Theatre Company or Belvoir, spent 90 minutes out at Parramatta to look over this grass roots exercise? I would like to think they would have done, between staging a Private Lives(1930) and preparing a new version of a Strindberg, written in 1888 or dwelling on THE MAIDS (1947), as an Australian story for Sydney audiences in 2013. I wonder if there is an authentic Australian Coward or Strindberg or Genet here in this battery of talent that Ms Supple has/is nurturing for the future? Those of us who saw this project, as modest as it may be, could venture an opinion at least.
It is intersting to see that Ms Supple had spotted and/or encouraged with performance opportunity, the Assistant Director of Belvoir's 1930 play, PRIVATE LIVES, Kit Brookman. His play in the 428 series, BETHLEHEM, was of some note.
A VIEW FROM MOVING WINDOWS completes its performances on Saturday.
For full biographies and information about the artists on this project, please head to: http://aviewfrommovingwindows.com/