'I think therefore I am.'  Descartes            'I AM THAT I AM.'  Exodus.3.        'I am what I am.'  La Cage aux Folles

22 June 2012

Elizabeth - Almost by Chance a Woman

I am so pleased with myself that I have chosen yet another great evening at the theatre. Last Night at the Powerhouse I saw the QueenslandTheatre Company's production of 'Elizabeth:Almost by Chance a Woman' which is a high camp, obscene, raucously funny, absurdist piece of modern anarchy in the form of Commedia dell'arte. Highly improvised by the quick witted cast to fit local politics, today's news and filthy puns depending on the flow of the evening and the type, age and mood of the audience. Constant references to the Bastard Bard and his plays added to the fascinating multiple layers that kept even the most seasoned theatre goer on their toes as they attempted to glean every bit of the complex stimulating wit. It is no mere slapstick and as one baby-boomer audience member said, it was one of the best fun evenings he had had at the theatre in ages.
We were treated to a wonderful cast with Carol Burns as the dramatic, hilarious, peeing Elizabeth, both funny and sad, Eugene Gilfedder who plays characters from Shakespeare to most notably Grosslady is an invention of pure obscene gibberish, Jason Klarwein as Egerton who does wonderful references to Othello, an assasin and a brilliant diatribe on modern warfare/politics that would do a Modern Major General proud. Sarah Kennedy as Martha and the wonderful voice of Dash Kruck as the fool Thomas, who can really sing and managed to show us his bare bottom as well.
Mention has to be made of the sixth member of the cast who was the musical director, improvising musician and Mr Byrd  - John Rodgers. He too played with what ever themes he felt appropriate on the evening with reference to pop, pomp and circumstance and any musical joke worth having.
A special surprise treat was that after the show many of us stayed behind for a Q&A with the full cast, director and stage manager. It was fascinating to get the background to how they plotted the evening each night and how they reacted with amazing talent to the reactions of the audience and added comments about topical matters while keeping the rhythm of the play. The director said that even he was surprised with the inventive differences that emerged each performance.
Directed by:- Wesley Enoch
Designed by:- Simone Romaniuk
Adapted from the Italian by:- Louise Fox and Luke Denenish
Written by:-
Dario Fo (born 24th March 1926) wrote this in 1984 and he also received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997. Fo is a sharp tongued subversive Italian playwright, satirist, actor, director and composer. He and his wife Franca Rame played Grosslady and Elizabeth in the original production.

Footnote:- The adaptor of this brilliant piece of theatre, Louise Fox was a recipient of The Queensland Premier's Literary Award as was the writer of another great play I saw recently, A Hoax by Rick Viede.
The new red-neck LNP government elected here recently under the premiership of one Campbell Newman  has already done away with this award (mentioned scathingly in the play) along with their push to send human rights back to the dark ages with their reversal of legal gains made by the previous government and the gay community in Queensland. I bet Dario Fo would join us in condemning such Neanderthal behaviour.
A great interview with one of the dashing cast - Dash Kruck talking about theatre, his boyfriend and he sings as well.

Part one of a publicity video

08 June 2012

Seph Stanek - Baritenor

At a mere 25 Seph Stanek is a singer on the rise. Referring to himself at this stage as a Baritenor, meaning he has the range from Baritone to Tenor. Now based in New York after moving quickly from place to place and from recitals to The Twelve Irish Tenors to the classical crossover group Figaro to The Metropolitan Opera to Carnegie Hall to Broadway Bares to Naked Boys Singing. He has appeared also with such iconic legends as Bernadette Peters, Carol Channing and Debbie Reynolds. This boy has been praised in the New York Times and other publications and even though he is so young he appears to be on an upward trajectory fuelled by determination, confidence, an exceptional winning personality, beautiful good looks and talent.
Aida and Recital
 In 2012 Seph Stanek made it to the stage of The Metropolitan Opera in New York as an extra in a fabulous production of Aida and he is also seen in recital above.
Naked Boys Singing
Starring in the new Off Broadway production of Naked Boys Singing. I have a friend who was in our local production. http://nakedboyssingingnyc.com/
Little House on the Ferry
The lead in a musical in 2011 about Fire Island with Colton Ford and a lot of gay boys singing and dancing in their tiny speedos. http://www.littlehouseontheferry.com/
The Twelve Irish Tenors
Singing Vivaldi at home
Singing Dvorak in Recital
A fun jam with himself at home again
Check out all the details on these links

06 June 2012

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears & Baz Luhrmann
Last Night I attended this magical Opera Australia performance of Benjamin Britten's 'A Midsummer Nights Dream'. From the unchanged script of William Shakespeare edited down to 3 hours (sung) by Benjamin Britten and his lover, the tenor Peter Pears, and directed by Baz Luhrmann. The astonishing designs were by Tony, BAFTA, AFI and Acadamy Award winning Catherine Martin. She has worked on all Baz Luhmann opera and film projects.
One of the many treasures of the evening was the very very special children's chorus. There were some outstanding young boy sopranos, acrobats and all were so dedicated to their acting. Some were so tiny as to be a delight by their mere appearance. All major voices were strong and the humour of the piece had the audience laughing so often. I left with an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction that comes from the full theatrical experience one gets from Australia's production of the great operas of Benjamin Britten.
Below you can watch some beautiful scenes and hear the finale to the opera.

Click for my Post on Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears
A Midsummer Night's Dream was rare in that the lead in a modern opera went to a Counter Tenor (Alfred Deller) and Britten's lover Peter Pears was not the principle star, but took on a smaller role as the the comic drag Flute/Thisbe.
Ben and Peter by Cecil Beaton 1944. A great love.

Baz Luhrmann
The films of Baz Luhrmann that I have in my collection.


05 June 2012

Fabulous/Glamorous Videos

I Do Mean Fabulous, Sexy, Arty and Beautiful!!
Ray Raz
Israeli director, photographer and DJ.
The Videos of Roy Raz https://vimeo.com/royraz
The Irrepressibles
Ten Member Orchestral Ensemble. They also have videos by Roy Raz
The Irrepressibles on Facebook
Once again a stunning visual video from the boys from the Ukraine.
The Uncensored Videos - http://www.andrewchristian.com/socialvideos/tagme/
Almost Naked Blog http://www.andrewchristianblog.com/
Anuik Studio
Tuomo Railo
Glims & Gloms dance company Videos
The beautiful work of Hernan Gimenez Betancourt
Hernan Gimenez was born in Caracas, Venezuela, on January 6, 1964. He studied music, fine arts, architecture, graphic design, photography, contemporary dance and ballet. Professionally he worked as a designer for ballet, graphic and photographer.

04 June 2012

The Magic Flute and Julie Taymor

The Magic Flute
At the end of May I attended this wonderful production of Mozart's 'Die Zauberflote' by Opera Australia here in Brisbane. Julie Taymor originally produced this for Maggio Musicale in Florence. It subsequently became part of the repertoire of The Metropolitan Opera in New York and also Opera Australia. Quite outstanding was the joyful exuberance and resonating baritone voice of Andrew Jones as Papageno. Also as The Queen of The Night, Milica Illic was perhaps the best I have ever experienced live. Her two terrifyingly difficult arias came off pitch perfect.
A sample from the Opera Australia production with Emma Pearson

Julie Taymor
This woman behind this production had become the first woman to win a Tony Award for directing a musical. The Lion King on Broadway won her awards for direction and costumes (above). I have been fond of this woman for a few years because of her wonderful films 'Titus', 'Frida', 'Across The Universe', and 'The Tempest'. All of these I have in my collection.

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