Thursday, July 30, 2015

Feeling Smuggly

I love walking home from the cafe - even in this biting cold. All rugged up in my warm things and scarf and beanie and big jacket, I'm all "Fuck you, Cold, you can't make me cold with your pathetic cold, not when I'm all rugged up against you like this. Your feeble attempts to make me cold merely make me laugh."

It makes me feel kind of smuggly.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Squirting Rainbows

Sunday lunch. It makes me so happy I squirt rainbows out of my head.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Things

Sometimes when I say I like a thing, it's because I like a thing. Sometimes when I say I think a thing is funny, it's because I think a thing is funny. Sometimes when I say I've disengaged from a thing, it's because I've disengaged from a thing.

Sometimes things are just things.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I Am A Miracle, Malthouse Theatre, Review

                                               Photo by Pia Johnson

I Am A Miracle

Reviewed by Lee Bemrose



I Am A Miracle is the latest work from Melbourne writer Declan Greene. My short review? Wow. Epic. Dreamlike. Nightmarish. Disturbing. Confronting. Thrilling. Biblical. Poetic. Perfect theatre. Go see it.

Oh how I'd like to leave it at that. However I suspect a few more words and thoughts are expected, probably with some of that syntax stuff involved. Oh well, here goes...

There are three stories being told here. There's the story of an 18th century Dutch boy who grows up, joins the armed forces and sails away to the colonies to help quash a slave rebellion. There is the story of a contemporary city dweller and his clash with his carer as his mental deterioration worsens. Both of these stories are book-ended, in a way, by the true story of Marvin Lee Wilson who spent 18 years on death row before being executed for his life of crime. It was revealed that his low IQ should have seen him avoid the death penalty; alas, it did not.

This very ambitious production draws you in from the start with its powerful story-telling and at times glitteringly poetic text. The acting is masterful. The set design and sound production are nothing short of stunning. There's a kind of harrowing beauty going on here – especially towards the end - coming at you from all directions.

Bert LaBonte opens the show with a kind of countdown to the hour of execution of Marvin, as he offers a futile list of unfinished promises to do something, of futile hope that some last minute thing will happen to prevent this imminent death. There is an argument, of sorts, between the three figures on stage, and the situation does indeed seem futile; there is a reason these Angels Of Justice are wearing prisoner overalls.

This gives way to Milita Jurisic's wonderful monologue of the life story of our Dutch soldier. Surprisingly funny on occasion, it grips and manages to be incredibly evocative of the bloody hardship suffered by the invading Westerners and the slaves alike. The whimsical intro of our hero's journey gives way to brutal reality, ending on a note of yearning. Jirisic takes on several characters, and armed with such excellent text she drags us through the gamut of emotions with aplomb. It's a bit of a bravo performance.

LaBonte takes centre stage in the next story, a very modern, domestic drama. Again, there are unexpected laughs, but the mood here quickly darkens. Nothing whimsical here. This is confronting and raw and so sadly real. LaBonte and Jirisic as the combatants make you feel for both of them and the situation they are so tragically locked into.

There is a third cast member, Hannah Le Crisp. She frequently adds to the ethereal feel of the production with her soaring operatic vocals. Gorgeous stuff. A lot of thought has been given to the sound production, and it works like the best soundtrack of your favourite movie.

The play closes, back to that countdown, back to the futility, back to those prisoner angels and talk of God and justice, back further and further... can't remember the last time I felt (you don't just see it, you feel it) such an epic and thought-provoking close to a play.

It takes a while to unravel just exactly what you've seen here, just what connects these three stories. It stays with you, this play.

At Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne. Season Ends August 9th

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I Am A Miracle, Malthouse Theatre, Short Review


                                                              Image by Pia Johnson.


Just got back from seeing a play called I Am A Miracle at The Malthouse Theatre. Wow. Epic. Dreamlike. Nightmarish. Disturbing. Thrilling. Biblical. Poetic. Just perfect theatre. Review with more words and improved syntax for Australian Stage coming tomorrow. Or read the longer review here.

Actually, this is the perfect review for this play. I'm guaranteed to fuck it up by adding words and syntax. Can't wait to do that.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Helpless

Some moments in life stay with you.

There's a local street guy I see around, in various states of psychosis or inebriation. Sometimes he's well behaved, just clearly insane, but somehow aware of how correct behaviour should be. I've seen him rage on the streets. I've seen him cry. I've seen him plead for a sandwich or a piece of toast, because I am homeless and please help me.

He came into the cafe recently and asked if we could spare a couple of pieces of vegemite toast. He was expecting to be brushed off, waved away. He's jittery and twitchy and knows how the world is. No one has any time for him. Life is miserable, for him. There is no food and no shelter for him. Love and affection? When was the last time he felt love and affection?

You can't encourage these people, you understand. We have a business to run. Every day right now is a struggle. And the guy has been in before. He got his sandwich that time too, that time bought by a kind-hearted doctor.

Struggle.

I gave him his vegemite toast. His state was calm that day. He said thank you. He said “I'm good like that, I'm good when I'm good.” And he left. I watched him walk down the street, tearing open the bag to tuck into his warm vegemite toast on this chilly winter day.

Next day, on my walk home from my cosy cafe to my warm home, I saw him again. He was in the worst state I've seen him. Carrying his half loaf of bread, he stumbled in circles, didn't know what the hell was going on. He dropped his bread, picked it up again. Staggered and stumbled. He bumped into me, said he was sorry.

I kept going but had to wait at the intersection. Behind me now, the guy stumbled forward and hit his head on the traffic light pole. He exploded. “CUNTS! YOU ARE ALL SUCH FUCKING CUNTS AND I FUCKING HATE YOU!” His voice was raw. There was a raw gash under one eye, but it was not a fresh wound. He hurled his bread into the busy intersection of traffic, people in their cosy cars going to their warm homes.

“I fucking hate you. I really do.”

He crumpled to the footpath.

The traffic light changed, and I looked away. I looked ahead and crossed the road and kept walking towards my cosy and warm home.

And I didn't feel happy or blessed and the moral of the story isn't that we should all appreciate what precious things we have, I just felt like shit.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Gertrude Street Projection Festival 2015: Whoa!

The cafe is part of the quite wonderful Gertrude Street Projection Festival. We checked it out last night. Much wonder and fun. And a bit of unexpected hilarity.

We checked out the projection being shown from our cafe. It initially looks static, like a projection of a classic oil landscape. But it is moving footage, it's just that the motion is very minute. After watching the projection for several minutes, a slowly dramatic change takes place. A shadow from the left starts to take over the rusted orange hues more and more until the whole thing goes up in a lovely puff of smoke. And starts all over again.

There was a group of friends watching at the same time we were. Some of them noticed the tiny changes and ooh-ed and ah-ed. One of them got bored and wandered a short way down the alley, and triggered an overhead light to come on and artfully illuminate a doorway.

Whoa! Check this one out! It doesn't start projecting until you walk across this part!”
“Whoa! How cool is that? And it goes back off after you move over here. So cool!”
“Oh wow!”

These probable stoners continued to marvel at the wonders of the movement detector switch that allows the tenants in the building above the cafe to find their keys in the dark as the climax of the actual projection took place.

“Whoa! Check it! Move back over here and... Amazing!”

Grumpy & The Dreaded One giggled their arses off as they made their way down Gertrude Street.