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brisbane festival

flying high, and under the radar

the 2008 brisbane festival’s theatrical riches

The 2008 Brisbane Festival includes in its potent line-up of performances, new works such as Elision ensemble’s production of Liza Lim’s new opera, The Navigator, directed by Barrie Kosky, alongside classics re-visited like Macbeth in the Contemporary Legend Theatre of Taiwan’s The Kingdom of Desire, replete with 22 performers, 15 musicians, Chinese opera and acrobatic fights and set in ancient China, and the British company Cheek by Jowl’s all Russian cast version of Chekhov’s Three Sisters, performed in Russian and directed by Declan Donnellan.

Peter Brook directs a monologue performed by long-time associate Bruce Myers in The Grand Inquisitor. Christ returns to Earth in Seville during the Spanish Inquisition, performs miracles and is, of course, judged a heretic. The Grand Inquistor is adapted by Marie-Hélène Estienne from Dostoyevsky’sThe Brothers Karamazov, and has not a little resonance with our own increasingly censorious times. The Queensland Theatre Company will premiere The August Moon about the impact of 2006’s Cyclone Larry. Within days of the disaster, playwrights Adam Grossetti and Jean-Marc Russ ventured north to witness the aftermath of the cyclone, documenting personal accounts of the trauma including tales of injustice which provided the material for their dramatisation.

A unique dance offering comes in the form of bODY_rEMIX/gOLDBERG_vARIATIONS, a ballet in two 45-minute acts featuring ten dancers from Marie Chouinard’s company which was founded in Montreal in 1990 and constantly travels the world’s arts festivals. The choreographer’s distinctive approach entails dancers working onstage with ballet barres, crutches, pointe shoes, harnesses and ski poles, adding a surreal prosthetic dimension to dance, extending reach and reshaping bodies.

Brisbane sound artist Joel Stern and “engineer, sculptor and self-confessed tinkerer” Beh Wattenberg come together to create The Swell String: “an obscured portal emits thunderous rumbles, metallic shimmering, pure tones and beautiful harmonic drones.” This experimental sculpture can be experienced at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts.

More audience engagement comes in the form of an interactive work by leading UK media artist Gina Czarnecki, resident in Australian in recent years where she worked with Australian Dance Theatre on Devolution. The festival will premiere her latest creation, Contagion, at QUT’s Creative Industries Precinct: “Participants explore ideas of biological infection and the spread of information, knowledge, rumour and myth in society...”

In an interesting and distinctive move, initiated in 2006, the festival established its own curated fringe, titled Under the Radar, featuring in 2008 Black Curtain Theatre Movement of South Africa, The Lonesome Buckwhips of New Zealand, Legs on the Wall, Queensland’s Sandro Colarelli and provocative new works from emerging performers around Australia. RT

2008 Brisbane Festival, artistic director Lyndon Terracini; Brisbane, July 18-Aug 3;
See page 27 for another Brisbane Festival media arts venture, Big Square Eye.

RealTime issue #85 June-July 2008 pg. 10

© RealTime ; for permission to reproduce apply to [email protected]

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