However, here is my messy Look Back for 2012.
1. Let me start with some of the new AUSTRALIAN WRITING:
THYESTES by Thomas Henning, Chris Ryan, Simon Stone and Mark Winter. Presented by Belvoir Street. Truly daring and theatrically thrilling.
TRUCK STOP by Lachlan Philpott. Presented by The Q Theatre and the Seymour Centre.
Following on from SILENT DISCO (2011) this sociological examination of cultural behaviour in the suburbs of our cities is brave, raw and explicit. Not 'pretty' but powerful and challenging. Strangely neglected. It is, I reckon, an important new Australian play.
I also enjoyed: FOOD by Steve Rodgers (Downstairs Belvoir); PORN.CAKE by Vanessa Bates (Griffin Theatre); OLD MAN by Matthew Whittet) Downstairs Belvoir); I WANT TO SLEEP WITH TOM STOPPARD by Toby Schmitz (Bondi Pavilion for Tamarama Rock Surfers); PORK STILETTO by Warwick Allsopp and Tamlyn Henderson (Old Fitzroy for Tamarama Rock Surfers); BETWEEN TWO WAVES by Ian Meadows (Griffin Theatre).
I was encouraged to want to see more: BLOOD PRESSURE by Mark Rogers (Old Fitzroy for Tamarama Rock Surfers); THE HIDING PLACE by Kendall Feaver (atyp).
I was very excited about the workshop showing of CLOUDSTREET: THE OPERA by George Palmer, directed by Gale Edwards at Carriageworks.
2. PRODUCTIONS that I thought were outstanding:
THYESTES by Thomas Henning, Chris Ryan, Simon Stone and Mark Winter. Directed by Simon Stone for Belvoir at carriageworks as part of the Sydney Festival Season. Totally electrifying.
BEACH PARTY PSYCHO by Charles Busch. Directed by Stephen Nicolazzo for the Tamarama Rock Surfers at the Bondi Pavilion. A great disciplined cast in a crazy 'camp' escapade. Everybody and everything a 'stupid' delight.
THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES by Moliere and adapted by Justin Fleming. Directed by Lee Lewis for Bell Shakespeare in the Playhouse at the Sydney Opera House. It seemed to me have all of the theatrical elements engaged for a truly 'authentic' Australian adaption of a Classic play for an Australian audience. Moliere is not one of my favourite writers.
PUNK ROCK by Simon Stephens directed by Anthony Skuse. This was for Pants Guys and atyp at the atyp wharf space. Modest budget pulled off a frightening night in the theatre. The ensemble of actors were uniformly great. A play by one of the important writers in the UK - strangely neglected over here.
THE SEAFARER by Conor McPherson directed by Maeliosa Stafford. O'Punsky's Theatre at the Darlingurst Theatre. An Irish story of the banal world realities and the frightening spirit one. Well acted by all.
THE NEW ELECTRIC BALLROOM by Enda Walsh directed by Kate Gaul. This for Siren Theatre Company with the Griffin Independent. Another Irish bewitchement (writing) with a stellar cast.
PORN.CAKE by Vanessa Bates directed by Shannon Murphy. For Michael Sieders and Griffin Independent. The dangerous farce element mixed with its social comment was fairly well done. A kind of rarity in form in the Australian canon, at least, on Sydney stages.
I WANT TO SLEEP WITH TOM STOPPARD by Toby Schmitz directed by Leland Kean. For Tamarama Rock Surfers at the Bondi Pavilion. A well written 'bourgeois' comedy-of-manners with an excellent cast. (I just wished Mr Schmitz would get down to a tougher world sphere in his writing).
SYNCOPATION by Alan Knee directed by Stephen Lloyd Helper. Presented by A Critical Stage and The Follies at the Concourse Theatre, Chatswood. A two-hander (Not my favourite kind of theatre), well handled by all. Great performances by the two actors.
3. PERFORMANCES I remember fondly, well:
JOSH McCONVILLE in THE BOYS. Truly frightening transformational acting. Gave his 'life' for that work - amazing.
THOMAS HENNING, CHRIS RYAN and MARK WINTER in THYESTES. Daring, scary, amazing. A trio of remarkable ensemble. Breath taking Mr Winter. Subtle artistry of Mr Ryan.
ANDREA DEMETRIADES as Eliza in PYGMALION. Thoughtful, with a beautifully scoped arc to the character's journey. A particularly moving last act 'debate' with her Henry Higgins.
ODILE LE CLEZIO, GENEVIEVE MOOY, JANE PHEGAN and JUSTIN SMITH in THE NEW ELECTRIC BALLROOM - A dedicated ensemble of impeccable weaving.
KATE BOX, EMMA JACKSON and FAYASSAL BAZZI in FOOD. Another wonderful ensemble with a bewitching Ms Box taking the lead.
TOBY TRUSLOVE in STRANGE INTERLUDE and PRIVATE LIVES. Two wonderful performances.
HENDRICK ELSTEIN in THE HIGHWAY CROSSING. Delicate and plotted well in its effects.
LEON FORD and ALISON BELL in OLD MAN. I saw Ms Bell at a vulnerable best - loved her.
JUSTIN STEWART COTTA in SYNCOPATION and THE SEA PROJECT. Mr Cotta always gives daring, dangerous performances - all, however finely judged.
EMMA PALMER in SYNCOPATION. A driven force of beautiful physicality and an accumulated emotional 'Cinderella' journey.
GLENNN HAZELDINE in PORN.CAKE and THE HOAX. Wonderfully true and costly performances. Consistent. Check out last year as well.
SHARI SEBBENS in THE HOAX. Making her professional city stage debut with clout.
WADE BRIGGS and ALEXANDER MILLWOOD in BLOOD PRESSURE. Two actors I do not know that gave their all for this production.
COLIN FRIELS in DEATH OF A SALESMAN. Great work.
ANDREW McFARLANE and CAROLINE BRAZIER in I WANT TO SLEEP WITH TOM STOPPARD. Ms Brazier bold, outrageous with a particularly subtle and 'modest' foil given by Mr McFarlane.
WENDY STREHLOW in I WANT TO SLEEP WITH TOM STOPPARD and THE GREENING OF GRACE. Internal tensions resonating with her external choices. Always fascinating.
TOBY SCHMITZ in PRIVATE LIVES. Elan galore and a fine sense of the writer.Skills disciplined to serve the material.
PAUL BLENHEIM in WRECKING and BEACH PARTY PSYCHO. Paid attention to him in WRECKING and sort his name out in BEACH PARTY PSYCHO! Impressed.
JACQUELINE McKENZIE and RYAN CORR in SEX WITH STRANGERS. Ms McKenzie is always welcome on our stages, never disappoints. Mr Corr announcing his talent and potential wonderfully. A wonderful duo.
DAVID VALENCIA in THE CRIMINALS. New to our stages, and mesmerising in this small work.
ASH RICARDO in LES LIASIONS DANGEREUSES and BETWEEN TWO WAVES. Kapow energies and laser like accuracies - dangerous fun on stage.
JUSTINE CLARKE and HUGO WEAVING in LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES. Their duet scenes terrific.
GABRIEL FANCOURT in PUNK ROCK and FALLOUT. Consistent, modest performer - deserves a break!
TONY LLWELLYN-JONES in HOLLYWOOD ENDING. Wise, subtle character drawing. Almost too subtle in its giving - I loved the craft of it.
HEATHER MITCHELL in SIGNS OF LIFE by Tim Winton,magnificently concentrated and wholly engaged - the recognition and use of the writer's language 'poetry' an inspiration.
GENEVIEVE GIUFFRE in BEACH PARTY PSYCHO. A 'Melbourne' sorceress. Hilariously witty with all her choices.
KATIE MCDONALD in MARRIAGE BLANC. Clever, funny.
DON REID and especially, MAGGIE BLINCO for the earned craft they brought to their 'big' tasks/art in THE GREENING OF GRACE.
OWEN PHILLIPS for WRECKING and BEACH PARTY PSYCHO.
RENEE MULDER for THE BOYS and THE SPLINTER.
MARG HORWELL for THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES.
GEZ XAVIER MANSFIELD for PUNK ROCK and THE HIDING PLACE.
DILLER, SCOFIDIO + RENFRO. BRENTON KEMPSTER, ZULUMU DESIGN + POST (Video Design) for BE YOUR SELF.
5. LIGHTING DESIGN:
THYESTES by Govin Reuben.
THE HIGHWAY CROSSING by Nick Rayment.
"ANYTHING" by Damien Cooper, but particularly, BE YOUR SELF.
6. SOUND DESIGN:
BRENDAN WOITHE (colony nafi) for BE YOUR SELF. A truly amazing and complex sound score. Integrated detail.
NATE EDMUNDSON for so many productions this year but, for me, THE HIDING PLACE, THE SEAFARER and THE HIGHWAY CROSSING, especially. Prolific and amazingly detailed, both as a composer and sound designer.
NICK WALES for his composition and sound design for THE YARD.
STEFAN GREGORY for THYESTES.
KELLY RYALL especially for THE SCHOOL FOR WIVES.
7. Other performances I am glad I saw:
CESNA - Anne Teresade Keersmaeler and Rosas at carriageworks. Great to be treated to some European respect and sophistication as an audience. Taxing but rewarding.
THE YARD - SHAUN PARKER out at Riverside. This work with youth from the West Community was truly a blast and an inspired, disciplined gift.
BE YOUR SELF by Australian Dance Theatre - Gary Stewart at the Sydney Theatre. The BEST THEATRE COMPANY I saw in 2012! Technologically amazing, and dance wise, brilliant inside a work that attempts to look at our world complexly. A challenger to our complacency. Doesn't often happen with our Australian creators. One wishes that an investigation of philosophy was a required course for our artists.
THE MOUSETRAP by Agatha Christie at the Sydney Theatre. Principally, because I was sitting with an audience that, all, loved every minute of being in the theatre (a true rarity in Sydney) watching a 'grand' old play that they knew about so affectionately - treated with such resect by the producers. A 'happy' night in the delight of the audience!
20 GOLDEN GREATS with Bob Downe at the Sydney Theatre. Why, oh, why am I such a late convert/fan?
COPPER PROMISES - HINEMIKI HAKA by Victoria Hunt and Fiona Winning at Performance Space, carriageworks. One of the truly moving experiences in the theatre this year.
STEVE REICH IN RESIDENCE : A CELEBRATION in the Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House. A 'body' of work presented by completely enraptured and dedicated fans/artists of the composer. A gift of a kind of 'idolatory' from the artists for the audience. Magic.
THE AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA (ACO) Magnificent every time. The JEWEL IN THE CROWN of the Sydney performing companies. Should not ever be missed.
8. PERFORMANCES I WAS EXTREMELY DISHEARTENED BY:
DIE TOTE STADT (THE DEAD CITY) -An opera by Korngold, directed by Bruce Beresford for Opera Australia. Read my BLOG!!!!
EVERY BREATH written and directed by Benedict Andrews. Read my BLOG!!!!!!!!
FACE TO FACE adapted from the Bergman film by Andrew Upton and Simon Stone, directed by Simon Stone. Read my BLOG!!
I forgot, maybe, best forgotten, I AM EORA at carriageworks as part of the Sydney Festival directed by Wesley Enoch. Please look at my blog!!!!!!!
A year when two close collaborators and two remarkable life influences of mine passed away:
(P.S. I directed five productions throughout the year, with community theatres and i would like to thank all my companies for their work and would like to mention some actors that I want to register for history's sake: DOUG HANSELL and DANIEL SCOTT in THE TEMPERAMENTALS.; SABRYNA T'EO and JOHN GRINSTON in SAINT JOAN).
Have a good 2013. I have begun it well here, in London.