Sunday, May 27, 2007

Read along with me ...

We had a great Feast of New Theatre Forum over the weekend (despite the news of no CNZ funding for the next Feast - and therefore no job for me for the next 6 months).

Gary Henderson was the guest speaker, and his talk on playwrighting, creating stories and how to read your own drafts has helped a lot with clarifying the story of the astronaut piece we are working on.

Things that I am reading at the moment (or recently) which are also influencing the development of the piece are Thomas Moore's "The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life" and (well, I'm not reading it right now, but rather remembering my previous reading of it) Mikhail Bakhtin's work on the carnival and carnivalesque.

Other (good) news ... the clinic did get CNZ funding for its upcoming show "Love You Approximately," a multimedia piece that Julieanne is directing and I am writing about a long-distance relationship between a NZ woman and a Spanish man.

I love my blog.

Editing the film

Here are some stills from the footage taken by Roger Bays of the film - what a fantastic job he did! A few teething problems with the video upload at the moment (it is playing everything in double time!), but I think the process is going to be great!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Development of a Recipe

Yes, that's right, we are working on a performance about an astronaut who returns from space after 35 years and grapples with his readjustment to life on earth.

This story will play out around the house, but unlike Flight Patterns, the audience will stay put in the lounge with a bowl of warm soup, watching most of the story unfold on film via live-feed from the other rooms of the house.

We plan to open not on 23 June as was originally scheduled, but around a month later, to give plenty of time to the devising process.

In the meantime, we are planning to offer an evening of film, music and soup (don't want to disappoint on that one!) on June 23, 24, 28, 29, 30 and July 1. An audience of around 20 will hear music from Dayna Sanerivi and her band The Ancient New and watch the films "The Forgotten Tuesday" and "Flight Patterns," shot by Roger Bays and edited by Lucette Hindin. We also hope to show a trailer for the astronaut piece. This is a great opportunity for those who missed out on the exhibition and\or the live "Flight Patterns"!

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Forgotten Tuesday - Review by Creon Upton

If anyone cares to notice, Lucette Hindin, founding member of performance group, the clinic, and now working under the umbrella of Laverne Laverne, “an ad hoc theatre and arts collective,” is making a small but not insignificant splash in the creative world of Christchurch. Her current show, “The Forgotten Tuesday,” on at the Lyttelton Art Gallery until 20 May, features a series of photos of the artist performing an array of female characters—characters informed by popular media, constructed history, the street, the mall, the home, and the amalgam of these that we gesture towards in our imaginative representations of self. These images have also been put onto DVD, accompanied by a funky dance tune (“wir sind,” by me and you). The photos are displayed on the walls while the DVD plays on an old TV in the centre of the space.
In keeping with Hindin’s seeming near-obsession with the homely, a comfortable lounge chair is set up in front of the TV, along with a tray holding cup of tea and a nibbled Belgian biscuit.
I really enjoyed my first experience of Hindin’s work, her play “Flight Patterns,” which she put on in a dilapidated (and condemned) old villa in Lyttelton, where she lives and where the pictures for this show were also taken. She’s adventurous, playful, theatrical, ironic, loves an over-the-top gesture, and she has something to share. This latter is the important thing. I could just as easily hate something described as adventurous, playful etc, but that would almost certainly be because it was self-involved.
I don’t think Hindin is. She seems quite genuinely desirous of including us in her fun-and-games world, something that is desperately lacking in a lot of what we find at the “conceptual” end of art production. “Wank,” in that context, is not an arbitrary term of abuse.
Hindin’s jokes are not arcane, esoteric or overly studied—they’re just good, and I like that.
A case in point: one of the scenes in “Flight Patterns,” a conceptually tight but narratively loose study of the roles we seek out and give ourselves to in our relationships, involved the three cast members attempting to emulate the performances of Robert Palmer and his dancing girls in the video for “Addicted to Love.” Milton Charles was heroic in his absurd lip-synching, while Allison Hall and Eve Barlow, in their little black dresses, cut precise figures of ridiculous pathos as they constantly flicked their eyes towards the screen in their efforts to “get it right.” Genuinely, but thoughtfully, funny stuff.
This self-conscious performance of the weirdness of our insecurities and fantasies is also manifest in “The Forgotten Tuesday.” As Hindin puts it, “I hope for my work to give spectators an experience of contemplation, liberation and inspiration. I do this by sharing experiences that often remain hidden, in a way that is both serious and light.” Okay, does that sound self-aggrandising? Even a little patronising? Maybe it is, but just maybe there’s nothing wrong with a performer actually thinking about what her performance might mean for an audience. Why she might actually do it. And there’s that word again—sharing. There’s an honesty about Hindin’s various masks, the characters she becomes on her forgotten Tuesdays; and there’s humour at her own expense, as well as a refreshingly carnivalesque kind of joy in the absurd—an embracing of the way the semiotics of our own cultures grow so wildly out of our control.
But I think that’s also why Hindin likes to bring things back to the ordinary, to the kitchen, to the lounge, to the corporeality of the body beneath the layers of fabric, make-up and artifice. At the end of any given Tuesday there’s no doubt that each of Hindin’s alter-egos, from super-hero Laverne to goth-girl Alice, wants nothing more than a cup of tea and a lie down.
This domestication of possibilities will also be an important feature of the next Laverne Laverne show, “The Mythology of Soup,” again staged in the Lyttelton villa (which has received a brief stay of execution). An important, and challenging, challenge that Hindin has set herself is communication with her audiences in a way that is safe and unthreatening. These are not conceived as “feedback” sessions, or opportunities to lecture, flatter or exhort. Rather, the idea seems to be to give everyone something warming to eat or drink, to give us a chance to get to know each other, to have a bit of a chat. Now, that’s nice.
In “The Mythology of Soup,” then, we can look forward to watching a film being made and played in real time, while we’re enjoying homemade soup and bread (winter is here), as well as taking in some live music and other performances. The film itself, though, leaps stratospherically out of this comfortable Lyttelton lounge and revolves around the story of an astronaut returning home after thirty-five years, attempting to reconstruct an affinity with domestic life on earth.
This performance will begin on 23 June. Bookings: or 03 328 8266.