Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And At That Moment Everything Changed, A Review


Strangely, it was the title of this play that first appealed. As soon as I read it I had to find out what the play was about.

Playing at The Old Fitzroy in Woollooomoolloo, And At That Moment Everything Changed follows the arc of the relationship between Darla and Dave. They are a couple of best mates who almost against their better judgment decide to cross the line to the dark side and become lovers. They discuss old chestnuts such as whether girls and boys can in fact be close friends without sexual tension before taking the plunge, and we see the evolution of their coupledom over a big chunk of time against the backdrop of four Olympic Games.

It's not a new scenario and Darla and Dave are not the most original characters, and at least to this bum on a seat it seemed pretty obvious that that while they might be good mates, the character differences were great enough that they were probably doomed as a couple.

And yet something about it all clicked. Sophie Cleary as Darla and Yure Covich as Dave breathed life into what could have become characatures – she of a nervy, histrionic and insecure woman and he of a sport-obsessed bloke who loves few things more than beer, gaming and wanking.

That they created characters we cared about came down to some down-to-Earth acting and some understated but assured writing from Sarah Doyle that handled humour as well as it handled pathos. Genuine laughs here, and some moving moments. And most of us will recognise the awkwardness that comes from the struggle to retain individuality within the confines of coupledom.


Season Over

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Q & A with Goldie Feather, Bohemian Love Theatre at Peats Ridge Festival

I had to interview Goldie Feather (aka Zac Watt) for a piece on the Peats Ridge Festival. Had a hard time reaching him by phone so I emailed the questions to the publicist and she sent them on to him.

The story willl only be about 600 words for the mag but this is such an all round weird interview I couldn't let it go to waste. The guy is wonderfully nuts and he doesn't so much reveal what his show - The Bohemian Love Theatre - actually is so much as allude to what may (or may not) happen. The result? I want to go. I don't have a clue what's going to take place but I really want to go.

Here is the full 2000 word Q & A...

What can you tell us about the Bohemian Love Theatre?It is an organic entity, subject to the uncontrollable but Loving Forces of Universal Providence (I just made that up). It is a whirling dance of ideas and mischief made form from the Fire of Love & the even liberating hearts and deep down terrified minds of over 300 thinking Human Monkeys (over the course of its existence).

It’s a huge stage in a 15 x 25 hoecker style tent. With reams of lush velvet, brocade, carpets , cushions and hundreds of meteres of lovingly hand sewn ivy – all stitched together with visible patches and little bits of string.

What exactly is it The Bohemian Love Theatre?The BLT is what we call a 'Performed Venue'. In a way you could say that the tent and the stage and all of the bits in it are sort of props in a huge show – like if you imagine someone making a movie, set in some alternate reality – like some kind of lost in time, boho beat sci-fi fairy tale love world, and they needed a big kooky circus tent style thingy which was 'of that world' – well that’s the BLT.

What happens inside?It is sort of a secret, reserved for those who do find their way in, but I can tell you a little bit.

It’s kind of like entering the womb of a giant, beautiful beast. The people are its blood and the electricity that enables them to continue functioning is the electricity of the organism – you, me, everyone.

It has a Hotpants cannon in it.

It’s very, very pretty.

Can you quickly run through some of the performers and what they will be doing?Well there are some crazed monkeys – 10 in total – they break free from their cage and attack people in the audience generally. Then there is a 40 person Hotpants Army – they march triumphantly in support of a wave of change – long overdue change – in the realm of men’s summer fashion, firing Hotpants out of a 4 barrel compressed air Hotpants cannon and volleying them into the proverbial maw of the waiting audience with tennis racquets.

There are also a couple of frogs on gold choppers and a surprise giraffe with a 6 inch penis. There are many more – 120 in total – not including those enlisted on the night.

Do prospective audience members really have to audition to make it inside?Yes, yes in a way they definitely do. There are three factors that can help a person interested in getting in. Number one is a good costume - no one can get in without a good costume – you have to be able to pass as being 'of that world', you see. That said there have been many people who have created sufficient costumes on the spot, swapping clothes with other people can work, some people have simply gotten naked... one girl took three safety pins out of her jeans and pierced her bicep with them – they all got in. That’s kind of the second factor – willingness to 'go there', spontaneous acts of atypical behaviour, presence of mental clarity in dealing with some of the Gatekeepers' challenges, outpourings of unusual emotional substance... these types of things could get you in. Of course being first in line can also help, a bit, but the one most powerful thing is one of Signor Piggy Wigg’s special little Shiny Golden Tickets – there is no absolute promise but man they can move a lot of obstacles...

Don’t wear any shoes cause you can’t get in with them – absolutely can’t. You can leave them at the door but some people don’t like to do that.

Does anyone in the audience ever upstage the performers?It’s often hard to tell who’s who – naked people in the past have made quite a splash but that will all be taken care of this year.

There was one guy dressed as a six- armed bug once in the tent – he got called up to be sawn in half by Dangerboy. He was visually striking and thus made quite an impact but I don’t think you could say he upstaged Danger – it’s a very equalising realm in there...

From my reading I get the impression that there's quite a bit of spontaneity in the show. Is it scripted/choreographed or is it quite spontaneous?It’s what we often refer to as 'Raw, semi-rehearsed madness'. In fact we have actually been rehearsing it for months now but its scale is so grandiose and its nature is so intense that it never really comes entirely into our control. It has 120 or so human hearts and minds pouring into it in various ways. And then when it comes to life on the night there a further three to four hundred added to the mix.

Even one human is a weird thing when you think about it.

We just have to abandon ourselves to moonlight sky with fingers crossed and lots of deep breathes.

By the time we get there it’s a bit like, 'Well this is what we ended up getting together for you.' And the magnificent flow of the wonder of it all just fills in the gaps.

Audience participation scares me. Should I be scared of The Bohemian Love Theatre?No, no, no. You shouldn’t be scared of anything.

But as for the BLT - it’s a very nurturing environment – the inside is quite a lot calmer than the outside - intoxicating, electrifying, a little bit spooky but ultimately quite soothing. That’s part of the challenge – Can you make it past them Gatekeepers? But you won’t be exposed if you don’t want to be.

But if you do want to be you could join Min Mae’s Tableaux Vivant – she needs around 40 or 50 people to get naked on the stage so she can sculpt up some beautiful naked human flesh tableaux. Tell her you’re keen at the gate - it could help you to get in.

Tell us about your creation, Goldie Feather.The full name of him/her/it is 'The Great Golden Fool Goldie Feather'.

I’ve always thought that this world needed more idiots – more great golden fools – people to remind us that we are in fact all lost and that none of us know any better that any other.

We have had such marvels as Bowie, Iggy, Jimi, Jesus, Bon Jovi, Madonna, Rasputin, Farnsey – but who today?

It’s kind of like a cross between Baron Munchausen, the Drunken Buddha, a comedy Lion and Freddie Mercury.

I’m hopin’ that Goldie Feather's arrival can play a significant role in the evolution of the Human species into the long necked, see through, telekinetic, electric guitar genius, amphibian creatures that we are no doubt destined to become.

Often alter-egos do things their creators would not do. Is this the case with Goldie?The line has started to become very blurry.

Every two or three days I wake up bewildered, covered in smudgy make up, glitter, spandex – often surrounded by people, strange objects, costumes, animals. I feel like, 'Which one is this?'

Sometimes I find myself waving my arms in the air – dancing like my arm is the neck of an ostrich, hearing the music of Ennio Morricone in my head - but I’m in a supermarket or something. And I feel a bit shy and I sort of want to stop but I think, 'This is it man, this is your moment.' But it isn’t any moment – it’s just dancing.

I guess that kind of stuff’s pretty common nowadays though – with the internet and everything.

What a world!

Why the name Goldie Feather?Like Michael Hutchence said, 'We all have wings...' and then some other stuff.

Once a friend asked me 'Why do you spend so much time painting your beautiful white wings gold? Everyone can see them you know...' (She really loves me). So I guess I just excitedly thought – 'I’ll split in two – keep on painting them wings by day, make a career of it and then when I’m in my little nest at night I’ll throw it all off and be free like a fragrant breeze'.

It didn’t really work like that though – both seem equally as foolish and breezy... there even seems to be a couple of others coming around lately.

Is this show very different to previous shows of yours that people might have seen?It is absolutely the most elaborate spectacle I have ever staged – once I have seen the full show – the big show that we are developing for Peats Ridge – it will be also absolutely, without a doubt the most elaborate spectacle I have ever seen. Except maybe Phantom of the Opera – I saw that when I was a kid – that was pretty elaborate.

What has been your favourite recent performance and what made it special?The first gig we did we offered a free toasted sandwich to the first five people who got naked at the event. This one guy got naked and climbed up on the stage but he fell over backwards, tangled in his pulled-down pants, and rolled back into a ball onto the drum kit – revealing his entire anus. I had such a great position that if I had dropped a hardboiled egg directly out of my hand it would’ve likely popped right in.

We didn’t actually have any toasted sandwiches so we gave him an ice cream taco instead. But he wasn’t happy with this – several days ago he and a friend chased us through the streets in a van shouting out 'Grilled Cheese Sandwich!' and blaring their horn – for blocks and blocks. It was like a scene out of Robo Cop but in this case with someone shouting, 'Grilled Cheese Sandwich!'

What are your thoughts on the Peats Ridge Festival?Peats Ridge Festival is like the nurturing creator deity of the BLT – without them this beautiful entity genuinely wouldn’t exist. It is my creative Mummy & Daddy. I frik’n love it – independent of my own personal familial bias I would also say that in my opinion it’s fast becoming one of the best festivals in Australia.

I really feel that.

Every year that we have been involved it has just gotten better and better – high vibes unfolding, music, arts and a beautiful ethos out in the sweet, sweet country. It’s human evolution, in my mind.

We should come along to the Bohemian Love Theatre because...?If you miss it all of next year you’ll be one of those people in conversations at parties and such like who has no anecdotes about the popular subject and just sits there laughing nervously and nodding ‘cause they don’t really understand the context. And when the attention comes to you and it’s your turn to talk you’ll just look sheepish and think, 'Man, I’m gonna need a frik’n good costume for Peats Ridge this year...'

The Peats Ridge Sustainable Arts & Music Festival, Glenworth Valley Tuesday December 29 - Friday January 1