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2007 sydney festival

all in good time

keith gallasch & virginia baxter on the festival’s best


Time, not merely as content (reflections, memories, forgettings, prophecies) but as form (temporal distortions and suspensions), figured frequently as we engaged with the traps of human intimacy and technological ingenuity, death and a welter of separation anxieties and fears about our future.
Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Zero Degrees Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Zero Degrees
photo Trent O’Donnell
Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui: zero degrees

Two men walk downstage, sit and address us lucidly in absolute unison of voice, gesture and mood. We see and hear them as one. In several episodes across the performance they tell us a first person story about travelling through India. There's a border crossing, the man's passport taken away briefly by the authorities unleashing fear and humiliation, followed by suspicion he may have overreacted. In a later episode, an old male train passenger dies and the subject of the story is advised not to help the screaming wife with the body, lest he be implicated in the death—“That's the way it is in India.” After each telling a sustained movement passage unfolds, triggered by the idiosyncratic dance language of one of performers, the other following suit in his own way. However, as the metaphysical angst intensifies, the single being splits, each man turning to a humanoid dummy (created by sculptor Antony Gormley) which he manipulates, like a child, to fondle and assault him, to substitute for an absent other, or to use like a voodoo doll. Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui kicks the dummy and Akram Khan's body convulses.

The story-telling becomes ragged, desperate and single-voiced, the dancing and its evasions more driven until the symbiosis exhausts the pair, one of them seemingly destroyed and carried offstage by the survivor. Zero Degrees is an intense drama of separation anxiety, of the push and pull of like but different bodies and cultures. The dance moves from intimate entwinement of intricate hand and arm patterning (perhaps stemming from Khan's Kathak tradition and the vocabulary Cherkaoui has developed from everyday gesture) to rapid dervish twirling, to Kahn's synthesis of Indian and contemporary Western dance and Cherkaoui's elegant fusion of yoga, break-dance, martial arts and North African dance. These are displayed and shared. They trigger the music which is integral to them rather than the other way round, but the music stands on its own when Cherkaoui sings an exquisitely sad song.

In his program notes, Akram Khan writes about the way bodies are never truly still—breathing is constant and in death the body actively decomposes: zero degrees he defines as the point between life and death, stillness and movement, between merging and separation. Zero Degrees expresses all the pain and beauty of such a notion, with an almost insurmountable sense of loss at the piece's end compounded by Nitin Sawhney's elegiac composition for violin and cello. There's no catharsis here, simply a meditative state sustained long after the performance's conclusion.

batsheva dance company: telophaza

A company of some 40 dancers suggests all kinds of possibilities. By and large what we are delivered is a mass of movement and colour, the company intermittently breaking into very brief solos and mutliple duets and predominantly left to right waves of dancers crossing the stage. The effect was often of an abstracted chorus line, emphasised by uniform if multifariously coloured unitards. The look of the show is postmodern multimedia, the dancers' faces initially looming large over the stage on four screens from cameras they themselves manipulate. The one memorable scene has a female dancer upstage directing a camera in extreme close-up to the foot on which her body balances and contorts but also offering a rear view of other dancers entering the space. We see the curl of the toes, the flexing of the foot, the sense of bones, then two feet working together accompanied by a thunderous, cracking soundtrack. A dance party scene with four cameras facing in as the dancers circle and take turns at soloing to a soaring rock guitar promises more point of view pleasures but rewards us with none and some indifferent dancing. In a strange ending, two members of company are caught naked upstage on camera, faces and hands in intimate contact. Another dancer steps her way across the stage lined with chairs while the male dancer from the coupling cavorts wildly around the stage to some ineffectual strobing as if to suggest that suddenly out of the mass of anonymity that the show has largely represented there has been some indecent personal moment or sleazy surveillance of it. Overall there was always something to look at in Telophaza but in terms of surveillance and the desiring gaze this was always a show in which as a last resort there was always someone to look at if never for long enough. The rule of thumb seems to be that the bigger the dance company the more limited and cliched the relationship with technology.

the holy body tattoo: our brief eternity

After an aural prelude taken from the soundtrack of Blade Runner (“Have you ever retired a human by mistake?”), Our Brief Eternity opens (and later closes) with the projected words “Somehow, continue…”, and the company cites Marshall McLuhan in their program notes—“The new integral electronic culture creates a crisis of identity, a vacuum of the self which generates tremendous violence.” You know where you are, but it doesn't prepare you for the ear blistering steam-hissing industrial punk or the vision of compulsive machinic bodies in an ultra disciplined type of moshing and with a constant sense of impending mayhem. The dance is a kind of punk minimalism delivered by three dancers first working from flat out on the floor with rigorous single handstands and rapid rolling. Later they stand, pumping as if hydraulically driven. Rare moments of intimacy look more like manipulation and threat. The three bodies perform identical movements, often with one slipping in and out of pattern—no room for error. A film of the company dancing the same work (premiered in 2006 at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Arts) acts like a kind of mirror, but the relationship between stage and screen is not dynamic. Movement and text suggest a world on the edge of apocalypse or, more likely, rapid entropy, the latter evident not only in the choreography but in the weariness of the real dancing bodies and a certain sameness after a while. How much more can you say about the machinic body? Interesting nonetheless.
 Lucy Guerin Inc, Structure and Sadness Lucy Guerin Inc, Structure and Sadness
photo Jeff Busby
lucy guerin inc: structure and sadness

Midway through Structure and Sadness, Lucy Guerin does something very bold and it unleashes great emotion. Having created an abstract world of construction and its tensions in both the bodies of her dancers and in the creation they have just finished building, she suddenly literalises it. A woman in black listens to the radio as she washes dishes at an imagined sink. She sings along to a pop song, Crimson and Clover, which switches between tinny radio sound and full amplification, as if we are moving in and out of her head. Behind her, two other women also in black set up a wailing chorus to the song while balanced on a pliant bridge. The music is interrupted by a news broadcast and women and audience are plunged into the facticity of the 1970 collapse of Melbourne's Westgate Bridge. Pop becomes a grieving cry, the long black dresses evoke the funereal dress of many cultures (and in the look and movement not a little of the potency of a Martha Graham dance drama). The woman sways, nearly falling, the male dancers in grey, heads hanging low, appear as if among the dead (35 men were killed). The dead weight of the men literally bears down on the women.

Structure and Sadness concludes with a long, consoling, almost courtly dance between the dead and the living, commencing palm to palm in a movement motif we've seen from almost the beginning of the work, in a duet where bodies test each other for weight, tension and pliability. In the first part the dancers move on to build a structure from tiny components and then larger and larger ones—into a veritable house of cards. They also balance unevenly on a large seesawing plank under which a living body lies, as if testing for endurance. This image returns in the show's coda: four of the dancers become inert bodies with the plank laid across them. Another dancer crosses pushing down on those below, reminding us that this bridge rests on the bodies of the dead.

Structure and Sadness is a major Australian dance work (certainly punching at greater weight than its “About an Hour” festival programming) with the courage to think big and ambitiously about work, death and the traps of human ingenuity. The totality of its choreographic and theatrical vision encompasses adventurous design by Bluebottle and media (Michaela French) built into the very body of the work, the dancers, and a musical score that works through and with tension, building on the twang and buzz of wires stretched and relaxed, distorted and at the end resolving to a comforting lyrical guitar played nevertheless over a fast still twanging pulse. Perhaps there's room for some tightening of the work in the first half and perhaps a closer view is needed for the audience of the initially small work of the dancers as they build, but Structure and Sadness deserves a long and successful life with its frank countenancing of death and grieving.
Graham Valentine, Seemanslieder Graham Valentine, Seemanslieder
photo Phile Deprez
zthollandia/ntgent: seemanslieder

In his appreciation of the work of Christoph Marthaler, the great Swiss theatre and opera director, Benedict Andrews wrote in RealTime 76 about how “his theatre slows time to a standstill”, creating “ a time between. A time of waiting, of remaindered thoughts, leftover people and once forgotten songs.” Seemanslieder, performed by Belgium-based NTGent and ZTHollandia in a Belgian-Dutch collaboration, epitomised the Marthaler vision.

Time, space and personality are all mutable in this world; songs, narrative fragments and monologues evoking very different periods and attitudes to the sea in a small coastal community over hundreds of years. Tales of fishing, pirating, executions, drownings and yearnings, preaching and drunkenness (especially drunkenness), wives and mothers at home, men at sea, sons in fear of it, drift out into the auditorium from a stage populated by strange characters, familiar yet alien, like the drowned rising up to speak, so much of their business unfinished, wounds still open, lives drifting, memories floating, free associating, coming to the surface. There are also curious inversions—a woman sings an erotic song of seduction to another woman, a song a sailor longing for a woman would sing. Anna Viebrock and her fellow designers' set looks totally lived in, replete with ceiling, incredibly solid, very real but oddly transcendent, phasing between terminus, ship's deck, bar and the deep as men flip like fish across its floor. The timber wall at the back looks like an ageing dock or an old hulk from which a pipe pumps bilge.

In this floating world, amplifying the sense of it ghostliness, time frequently slows for song, solos and sotto voice choral works, folk songs, torch songs and lieder gloriously acquitted. Eruptions of farcical action intrude, sight gags out of burlesque, silly but relentlessy persistent—pratfalls, toupee jokes, a clever routine of being swept along by an umbrella in a windstorm. Sometimes the two modes merge: in a haunting rendition of a song from Ravel's Sheherazade suite sung close to silent by the company, the drum kit player (in an unlikely accompaniment to glorious piano playing) crawls across the floor playing his sticks against it (this kind of crawling and rolling and crabbing one of the show's swimming motifs), while a sailor taps out the beat on his rubber boot. The company all sing beautifully, their faces expressing reverie, indifference, boredom. One way or another the songs possess them.

Characterisations only slowly accumulate as you get to know these people, their quirks and obsessions like the tall Scot who looks like he's about to sexually assault a woman (“I want…I want…I want!”) only to be rejected or assaulted in turn and then thank her for her company before disappearing into his room. Later, he surprises us with a long, grotesquely beautiful rendition of “Lowlands”, his wanting now illuminated in a very different way.

Despite death's insistent presence in tales and songs, the universe of Seemanslieder is essentlally comic, and like most comedy rooted in hysteria and melancholia, a reminder of Marthaler's Le Coq training. The ship's barmaid, for example, is a kind of dramaturgical glue, serving the drinks, keeping the customers in order until she herself has too much, loses her shoes and, struggling to slip into them without using her hands, reveals herself to be quite a contortionist; her agony has all the pathos, obsessiveness and vulnerability of a drunk. This is the comedy of recurrent accidents, helpless compulsion and incapacity, which always require skill to play, everything predicated on the worst possible chain of cause and effect. It's a world of farce—of two toilet doors through which people constantly disappear, get trapped, vomit into or or use to conceal shipboard liaisons. And of slapstick. Or the surreal—the useless bicycle that descends from above. It's the comedy of escape from pain through alcohol or morose religiosity in hymns that pray for Jesus' unlikely succour.

Compared with Marthaler's Stunde Null (London International Festival of Theatre, 1997), the director's grimly comic account of the conversion of Nazis into democratic politicians, and the only other work of his we've seen, Seemanslieder is a delirious reverie, an adroit cut and paste of the songs, tales and anxieties of European sea-going cultures of other times and no time in particular into an absorbing totality with its own sad comic logic.

gate theatre beckett season

In Beckett's Eh Joe, Charles Dance (substituting for Michael Gambon) in dressing gown in a small dim room, closes the curtains over windows, cupboard and door and sits in profile to the audience. His face appears, gigantic and slowly growing, on the scrim between us, every detail of his face writ large as a female voice begins its litany of accusations—in his head, or filtering through the floorboards, in the air between us. Dance distributes the changes in his expression sparely, initially with glowering intensity and then a weakening into vulnerability as the truth, or whatever it is it, hits home and a tear falls at the end of the half hour performance. If Krapp worries at his own earlier recorded and often forgotten utterances, at least the voice is his own. Joe is like a man haunted and rendered speechless, or is the voice his own ventriloquism, the only way he can admit his doubts and crimes? Directed by Atom Egoyan, the screen device with its double view of Dance, apart and face-to-face with us, worked strongly both emotionally and as an easily accommodated theatre-cinema hybrid.

By contrast, Ralph Fienne's performance of the novella First Love adapted for the stage was a pretty straightforward piece of telling, but I'll Go On with Barry McGovern, a master Beckett performer, was a venture for actor and audience deep into the writer's concerns about life, death and especially language. The selections (made with Beckett's approval) ranged from passages of relatively broad situational humour from Molloy and Malone Dies to The Unnameable's nightmare of our entrapment by words—never quite any speaker's own and here delivered at terrifying pace, the essential poetry of the prose awesomely intact. In the earlier, garrulous excerpts McGovern is garbed in long black coat he reveals to be lined with The Times, while in The Unnameable he is almost naked, laid out it would seem in a mortuary.

The Beckett series was, of course, a festival hit, even though no substantial master work was included, rather an adaptation, selections and the eerie Eh Joe, and some notable star actors. Three short works on separate nights, although I'll Go On was relatively more generous. Luxury theatre. Since the Beckett film series associated with The Gate (out of which Egoyan's Eh Joe came) and the centenary of 2006, and perhaps something to do with the nature of the times (there was a noticeably high turnout of politicians), Beckett has regained an audience. But this series was more than a sideshow for a missing main event: Dance was courageous and subtle and McGovern's performance was a revelatory reminder of the powerhouse that Beckett is: inherently theatrical, deeply Irish and with a glorious love-hate passion for the word.

maly drama theatre of st petersburg: uncle vanya

The Sydney audience, still bubbling with post Christmas and New Year cheer, had some difficulty settling down to this almost exhausting dose of Russian ennui. The actors play it and live it for what it is, and in very real time. Characters are just as likely to think before they speak as erupt into action. Entrances can be languorous, characters placing themselves precisely across the large stage or in small tight clusters before engaging, or moving almost farcically fast through the many doors that frame the low-walled set. As with Venia himself, so Chekov's Uncle Vanya requires patience, which is richly rewarded.

One of the greatest pleasures of this Uncle Vanya was to be able to hear it in Russian (as it was too with the guttural, watery western-European languages of Seemanslieder), read the surtitles (good ones and the pace mostly manageable) and not infrequently register subtleties of interpretation (if still behind the Russians in the audience). To see Chekhov spoken in Russian is a double pleasure, witnessing words delivered from time to time with large gestures and intense facial expressions that yet never yielded to melodrama. There are likewise surprising moments of physical intimacy: Elena and her husband professor at odds but entwined. This heightened sense of familiarity and intimacy makes the potential for tragedy all the more felt, and the acuity of Chekhov's quietly comic vision of lives desiring but resisting change all the more sad. As director Lev Dodin, in Sydney with his company, has argued, for all their sense of loss, failure and ennui, the characters “take up the struggle for life with vigour….here everyone wants to live.” As much as they complain, they still make a go of looking for love or, like the doctor, to saving a depleted, neglected environment. In this respect the play's observations about feminism, environmentalism and the challenges of rural life feel contemporary in a production that, unusually for the Maly Theatre, is conventionally presented.

However, as well as the careful choreographing of the action ('blocking' cannot do it justice), there are aspects of the production that subtly counter the traditional costuming. Suspended over the stage on a metal grid are three huge haystacks (“chasing dreams while the hay rots”). In the last scene of the play as Vanya and Sonya work at their desks, having committed to the farm forever, the stacks are slowly lowered around them. Elsewhere a single set of french windows provides a motif for temporary relief and escape, rain pouring down them and, when opened, releasing a very loud post shower plip plop which underscores the action like a demented metronome for a very long time. The playing too was fascinating in its blend of understatement and passion, sometimes declarative—delivered to the audience without overtly acknowledging our presence—sometimes interior, always intimate and at its best in the socially uncomfortable Vanya (Sergey Kuryshev)—obsessed, distracted, out of kilter.

meryl tankard & taikoz: kaidan, a ghost story

Kaidan is a work of great beauty if little else. It is exhaustingly Japanese in style, from the story to its music (by Ian Cleworth for Taikoz, Riley Lee on shakuhachi) and its kabuki and bunraku influenced staging and movement. Looking like a fashion cross between Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette and an upper class Japanese matron, a woman (a perfectly cast Sarah-Jane Howard) rids herself of a mirror not realising that it's tantamount to throwing out her soul, with dire consequences for herself and her community. The storyline is fuzzy in the $8 program, if you bothered to get one, and even less tangible on stage. What begins with a narrative flourish or two becomes increasingly opaque.

Regis Lansac's projections commence with a widescreen black and white misty riverside scene through which we glimpse the woman's ghost (before she takes sudden flight in one of the show's aerial routines) and progress through a series of exquisite, richy coloured natural images of ever changing proportions, presented Rorschach-style. In themselves these are beautiful but in the end add to a superfluity of effect. The treatment of the woman as a bunraku puppet lacks the precision of the original form (and of Theatre du Soleil's Flood Drummers), nor is it a sustained device. The woman's final mad dance is well executed by Howard with the requisite passion, but as elsewhere the choreography seems indeterminate.

circa: the space between

The Space Between is an exquisite physical theatre miniature focused on a series of mutating physical relationships in duos and trios with occasional solos. Bodies tangle, wrestle, caress and mutually manipulate each other well beyond the range of normal touch, but tell us much about ourselves. The show is built on close observation and fine detail and not on spectacle, comedy or sex or even conventional routines. The gravity that has to be overcome in this physical theatre is the weight of human dependency and the desire to intensify or to escape it. Every possible permutation of entanglement is entered into and every ounce of concentration is devoted to keeping that relationship balanced—always a tense, tentative affair but the drive is to do it again and again. Circa don't rush, they enter these states slowly therefore often face more tortuous demands than usual on muscles and the sense of balance. This stress reaches a critical intensity in a late scene where all three bodies clamber up and over each other in a fluid knotting and unknotting of arms and legs.

While occasionally scenes appear perfunctory or oddly placed, and the musical selection is taxingly various (a through-composed score please!), The Space Between is a work which often demands and rewards careful attention, revealing how little real, unoccupied space there is between human bodies.

adt: devolution

Never act with children or animals. You could be tempted to add 'or dance with robots' after seeing Devolution. But somehow the fascinating anthropomorphic machines that so demand our attention here share a world with the humans they, and likewise we, watch with curiosity, and who are, in Devolution's most alarming scene, becoming like them. The first bodies we see are Gina Czarnecki's naked human apparitions floating hugely before us on a downstage scrim, twisting and turning against each other in a fluid cluster, and then in more and more clusters. multiplying into a universe of these organisms. They then fade to the live action of Devolution—leather-clad ferals peopling the stage with furious energy in brief virtuosic turns, sudden damage free Euro-crash clashes and, most striking, a recurrent creature-like clustering—heads appearing at odd angles, limbs rippling out like tentacles. Devolution offers little of the comforts of individualism.

What we witness is an ecosystem at work where humans and machines co-exist—there's no obvious conflict, no working relationship. If the humans here once invented these robots they certainly have no control over them now and make no such attempt. They simply occupy a space with a kind of ritualistic fervour observed by the curious machine giants who appear to scan the humans, even bend down and peer at their couplings and tusslings or, in smaller versions, scurry between them like insects.

The robots too dance, in their way: the giant 'scanner” running on a grid above reshapes its component parts with surprising variety; a row of tall robots across the back of the space undulate with a kind of showgirl finesse; two peering giants each clomp about on their four feet; a worm-like creature unfolds from above and sways about inspecting its domain. All have bright headlight eyes, some have heads that swivel, but there are no limbs that could reach out to, touch or manipulate a human body: their evolution presumably has not required it. The humans are evolving too, into machines (or have they been unwillingly co-opted?)—with horrendous long, mechanical tendrils that whip out from chests and backs. If human and tendril appear to be one organism, the issue of agency however is never clear—which part is in control? Moreover these new humans look like dangerous loners.

In an intensely dramatic passage of near contact, robots and humans move dangerously close to each other before returning to their respective stillnesses and clusterings. How long their ecological mutualism will last is an open question—the merging has begun and the meaning of the final projected image of one cluster of humans disappearing into the distance is clear enough. Obviously, director and choreographer Garry Stewart worries that what we are setting in train with technological development is regressive, a de-evolution, a departure from what it means to be human. However, with roboticist Louis-Philippe Demers, he does it with passion, precision and an escalating inventiveness that, ironically, pushes the robot cause forward with a kind of Robocop, Terminator, Mad Max fascination. It's a reminder, too, that the work's form is itself somewhat regressive, looking back to older forms of sci-fi, most recently reinvigorated by the Steam Punk genre evoked here in the heavy duty industrial sound score and the wonderful hydraulics of the robots. In his choreography Stewart textures his trademark high speed dance acrobatics with quivering balletic touches, suggesting finer human things too face loss. The work will tour Europe this year.

lou reed: berlin

Except for cultists, Berlin is not an album that many people, even some Lou Reed fans, seem to know. This sell-out concert version, doubtless destined for CD and DVD, will change that. It was a joyful discovery of a grim song cycle about the decline and death of a female junkie and mother in Berlin that the 1970s found unpalatable. The spare lyrics and stark compositions that foreground Reed as performance poet narrator, the shockingly disinterested observer of disaster, still hit home, the original Bob Ezrin orchestrations updated with a pervasive minimalist pulse but always with the capacity to pull back just to the voice and a lone guitar. The remarkable Steve Hunter, who appeared on the original album, shared lead playing with a very able Reed in a strong band plus a chorus (from the Australian Youth Choir) led by Antony and Sharon Jones, and three brass and three string players, these add-ons all dressed in pastel blue and placed beneath a trademark Julian Schnabel wallpaper cut and paste and a real, suspended lounge with a single strip of white paint banded across it. Less than convincing video projections of someone playing the album's subject mingled with the imagery. The real power of Berlin was simply in the music, performed with commitment and precision but never departing from the rawness that makes it work. It sounded a lot better to me than the original. Its frankness still shocks.
Simon Laherty & Genevieve Morris, Small Metal Objects Simon Laherty & Genevieve Morris, Small Metal Objects
photo Prudence Upton
back to back

In the 2007 Sydney Festival Geelong's Back to Back Theatre's Small Metal Objects was a standout amidst standouts. Like Seemanslieder, like Structure and Sadness, Eh Joe and Uncle Vanya, Small Metal Objects took its audience into a very different time and a very different place. As with those others, the production requires a certain surrender, a giving of yourself to the time world of the subjects, here to the slow, thoughtful exchanges between two drug dealers Steve and Gary (Simon Laherty, Allan V Watt). Steve is deep in thought, paralysed with anxiety about his sexuality and his friend's health. This state is pitched against the cajoling and panic of their bourgeois customers (Jim Russell, Genevive Morris). Other time worlds drift or hurry by as people pass or enter the Circular Quay terminal, and our head-phoned surveillance superiority makes for its own uneasy sense of displacement in this simply scripted but complexly conceived and subtly produced and finely performed work.

the big picture

Inching towards the Melbourne International Art Festival's current pre-eminence (and likewise eschewing ballets, operas and symphonies) the 2007 Sydney Festival at last showed that it could offer more than two or three exceptional works in a program. What's more, Sydney audiences went for it with record box office takings. And politicians past and present, mostly federal, were out in force—Whitlam, Turnbull, Coonan, Hawke, Debus and more. Let's hope the Minister for Water made it to Seemanslieder.

A vital addition to the festival was The CarriageWorks, the new contemporary performing arts centre in Redfern which opened the festival and was in turn opened by it. Temporary seating problems aside, the venue proved remarkably attractive, the vast foyer a great meeting place. Its presence and its performance spaces also signal a great opportunity for the Sydney Festival to do what Melbourne has done ever since the Robyn Archer directorship—celebrate the art of the city, particularly Sydney's contemporary performance and dance.

Les Ballets C De La B and Akram Khan Company, Zero Degrees, dancers Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, composer Nitin Sawhney, sculptor Antony Gormley, musicians Tim Blake, Coordt Linke, Faheem Mazhar, Alies Christina Sluiter, dramaturg Guy Cools; The CarriageWorks, Redfern, Sydney, Jan 5-8

Telophaza, Batsheva Dance Company; choreographer Ohad Naharin; costume design Rakefet Levi; dramaturgy, sound design Ohad Fishof, Capitol Theatre, Jan 6-10

The Holy Body Tattoo, Our Brief Eternity, choreography, concept and direction Noam Gagnon, Dana Gringas, performers Susan Elliott, Noam Gagnon, Dana Gingras, Music Jean-Yves Thériault, film direction William Morrison; Playhouse, Sydney Opera House, Jan 8-12

Lucy Guerin Inc, Structure and Sadness, choreographer Lucy Guerin, dancers Fiona Cameron, Antony Hamilton, Lina Limosani, Alisdair Macindoe, Kirstie McCracken, Byron Perry, composer Gerald Mair, motion graphics Michaela French, set and lighting design Bluebottle (Ben Cobham, Andrew Livingston); Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House, Jan 9-12

NTGent, ZTHollandia, Seemanslieder, director Christoph Marthaler, musical dramaturgy and singing coach Christoph Homberger, design Anna Viebrock, Duri Vischoff, Frieda Schneider, costumes Sarah Schittek; Syndey Theatre, Jan 10-13

Gate Theatre Dublin, Samuel Beckett Series: First Love, director Michael Colgan, performer Ralph Fiennes; Eh Joe, director Atom Egoyan, performer Charles Dance, voice Penelope Wilton; I'll Go On, director Colm O'Briain, performer Barry McGovern; Parade Theatre, NIDA, Jan 10-22

Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg, Uncle Vanya, writer Anton Chekhov, director Lev Dodin, designer David Borosky; Sydney Theatre, Jan 22-27

Kaidan, A Ghost Story, direction, choreography and design Meryl Tankard, musical direction Ian Cleworth, illuminations Regis Lansac, music Taikoz, Riley Lee; Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House, Jan 18-27

Circa, The Space Between, direction, concept, lighting Yaron Lifschitz, performers Darcy grant, James Kingsford-Smith, Chelsea McGuffin; The Playhouse, Sydney Opera House, Jan 23-27

Australian Dance Theatre, Devolution, direction Garry Stewart, robotics Louis-Philippe Demers, projections Gina Czarnecki, costumes Georg Meyer-Wiel; CarriageWorks Bay 17, Redfern, Sydney, 24-27. See also RT72, p32

Berlin, music and lyrics Lou Reid, music producers Bob Ezrin, Hal Wilner, direction & design Julian Schnabel; State Theatre, Syndney, Jan 18-20

Back to Back Theatre, Small Metal Objects, directed and devised by Bruce Gladwin, performers Simon Laherty, Allan V Wall, Jim Russell, Genevieve Morris, sound design Hugh Covill, Customs House forecourt, Circular Quay, Sydney, Jan 8-25

2007 Sydney Festival,

RealTime issue #77 Feb-March 2007 pg. 39

© Keith Gallasch & Virginia Baxter; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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