Every year there comes a time when the two major theatre companies will battle to get your subscription. One will win and one will lose and sometimes both will win and you’re left broke. Here are my picks for 2013 for better or worse.
After boring me to death in 2012 (except for Top Girls – loved it!), MTC I forgive you because you have won me over this year. This is all Thanks to Brett Sheehy, MTC’s new artistic director who seems to be selecting great work, not just profit-making vanity projects. How can I resist David Wenham in The Crucible? I can hear Abbey and her Salem posse cry witch and I get goose bumps. How can I also resist Pamela Rabe in a bath full of cherries in Simon Stone’s The Cherry Orchard? Stone and his controversial adaptations are the new fad that everyone loves to hate. The only thing better would be an original work that Stone writes instead of borrows, but whether he is a genius or a copy-cat is besidethe point; he’s hot and we all want a piece of him. And then there’s Rupert: what happens when Australia’s most well-known playwright, David Williamson, and Australia’s most well-known media tycoon meet? Your guess would be as good as mine, but let’s hope this is the gutsy, thought-provoking, Removalist Williamson writing, not the cheesy sell-out Williamson who let’s the sun shine through all over Melbourne as well as regional Victoria. Finally, I cannot help but add Zeitgeist, just because the company has not selected what this show will be and the anticipation is already making me anxiously excited. The best show to sell is clearly the one that hasn’t been made yet.
After making me both inspired as well as needing to perform a spell while running to the nearest bar (take a branch and hit your friends on the head and this will ensure the bad theatre spirits never come back again), The Malthouse is always cooking up something interesting and fashionable for the cool, skinny-legged-jean-and-beard brigade (I do wear skinny legged jeans, but have struggled to grow a beard). Following the adaptation trend is the critically-acclaimed Persona. Everyone saw this at Theatreworks last year and raved on and on about how amazing it was, so here’s our second chance to see Adena Jacobs and her Fraught Outfit company go at it with Bergman’s classic tale. Once I’ve seen what I missed last year, I will definitely see White Rabbit, Red Rabbit as I hope that Nassim Soleimanpour is the type of writer I’ve been waiting for all my life: unafraid to discuss issues outside of western culture and completely absurd all at the same time. And our favourite absurdist, Lally Katz is back with Stories I want to tell you in person. She is breaking two cardinal playwright rules: 1. Don’t star in your own play 2. Don’t just use your experiences. It will be a hit or a flop and either way, I look forward to singing its praises or mourning its losses. I also could not possibly miss Laser Beak Man the new show by Back to Back Theatre whose Ganesh Versus the Third Reith is currently wowing audiences around the world. One fears what will happen to the Malthouse when Marion Potts goes as artistic director. Don’t go Potts! Put on my play and then go.