Blog 5 The Dark Side

Ever wonder how on earth a Festival can get the late night audiences on a monday and a tuesday evening?  Look no further. as it seems You Are Here and Australia have the answer.

Yes, the old ‘sex sells’ adage came out in full force Monday evening with a show called ‘Glittoris.’  It came with a nudity warning, and the venue had to black out the glass store front windows in preparation. About 300 people were waiting on the street of Petrie Plaza to get in, many of whom were turned away due to lack of space.  The rock music and text hybrid show  had a feminist power to it.  The rock chicks covered head to toe in flour and glitter. It worked.

I so wish I could report the same for tonight’s ‘Unsex Me’ solo show.  After some fairly funny writing by a drag performer, he disrobed and went down on a microphone.  I’d prefer not to go into the shocking details of what came next, but suffice to say he used a condom.  There was some foggy point about wishing he could bare the depths of his soul, but the packed house had the collective expression on their faces that he was trying too hard to be avant garde. Writer/performer Mark Wilson is extraordinarily brave though, and the dark message of his personal discontent does linger in the mind.
At noon daily there are artist post mortems, which really are more like ‘meet the artist’ sessions.  At mine today I was prepared for hard questions, but instead was joined by really interesting people from other disciplines… a dancer/choreographer, a feminist magazine designer, an electronic music composer, a sound designer and a sit-com writer.  We all got to talk about our projects and then have a group discussion about what we needed most to move further with our work.
The playwright Emma GIbson lets me read her charming play about conjoined twins needing independent embrace.  I enjoyed this, after hearing it read in an all night event called ‘Night Fort’, where the audience bring sleeping bags to the Canberra Art Gallery and spend the night in an evening of arts events.  I also appreciated a new play that was truly tender and touching.
Square Nebula is also a very exciting piece of dance theatre with projections, that is all about the nature of circles and squares and how we get trapped as people.  This is tightly rehearsed and performed behind a pane of glass at the Canberra Museum Art Gallery.
Every day at 6:00, we participate in a theatre game called ‘The Artist Olympics.’  Its 30 minutes, and brings people in the Festival together for a bit of fun.  And ‘Team writing’ is winning, but team visual art and team dance are catching up.  We sing songs for our favorite competitors and the compere’s handle the event with straight-faced wit.
There was a Haiku contest, a writer’s block race, a painting contest and lots of surprises.