Short Stabs Program 3.Culturally Innovative Arts at Gorman House till December 20, 1997.
Convoy: Men in Cars and Trucks by Kathleen Bleakley; acoustic guitar music composed and performed by Mark Norton; and three short plays by Daniel Keene.
Bleakley is a performance poet whose cycleof poems Men in Cars and Trucks has been adapted for stage, directed by Roland Manderson. Previously performed on radio in Adelaide and 2XX, and later to be published in book form with images by Canberra photographer 'pling, these pieces are better off-stage than on. The physical representation of the men in the cars and trucks who assume that all women are available for their sexual gratification put the focus on the men, even making them comic in some cases, instead of re-creating the sense of women's despair at never being allowed their personal freedom. The poems, as a voice on the radio, have an emotional depth missing from miming the action on stage, though Anna Voronoff's performance is excellent.
Mark Norton's music is an interesting crossover between classical and folk guitar. He has experimented with combining tuning and fingering from both traditions, and the results are three highly original compositions which for me, and, judging by the applause, for many others, are the highlight of the evening.
Daniel Keene (you may remember Cho Cho San) in Night, a Wall, Two Men, performed with tight clarity by Tim Wood and Thomas Holgrove, seems to be Melbourne's Samuel Beckett. "Love, charity, pity ... it's all very common, that sort of thing" - certainly not your usual Christmas message in this Waiting for Godot version of A Christmas Carol in which the poor starve and Ebenezer Scrooge never comes good. Keene is writing about basic human rights in all three pieces presented here. The Prisoner and his Keeper (Danny Diesendorf and Simon Aylott), perhaps needing some cutting or tighter direction, shows how the Keeper is as much demeaned by his role as the Prisoner. Foxes is a monologue, performed well by Miranda Rose - a strange, almost suicidal piece about innocence and loneliness.
CIA's presentation is hopefully the beginning of a clearer focus for the "experimental, innovative and investigative" theatre that David Branson tells me he is aiming for.© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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