PIAF

We have booked three events to the Perth International Arts Festival. One dance and two theatre:

We are going to most of the festival films, even driving up to Joondalup Pines in addition to cycling to the Somerville.

I just wish that I had found out about salary packaging sooner. Being able to salary package tickets to the festival, including the films is a great benefit.

first pick of the festival

The launch of the 2010 Perth International Arts Festival Program was celebrated at the Perth Concert Hall with a full-house.

Attendance at the Program launch is a must. From receiving the festival brochure in the morning post, poring over the offerings, attempting to set a budget, confirming and adding more choices during the launch, to meeting up with friends and colleagues that we may not have seen since the last festival.

Our first picks from the brochure were:

After attending the launch celebrations, we would like to add:

Added to that are the Festival Films, Perth Writers Festival, and Visual Arts.

Phew! Now just have to get the money out and book.

The queues were long at the program launch, so having read that we could book online we enjoyed the refreshments and mingled.

I was unsuccessful at booking online as I hoped 😦 I persevered and attempted to work around issues as they arose, but finally hit the Contact Us button to view a HTTP Error 500 – Internal server error. Because friends said that we would not be able to choose our seats, I gave up with H promising that he would go into town to get them first thing in the morning.

the festival has started

The 2009 Perth International Arts Festival programme launch on Wednesday marks the beginning of the festival for me. Not only do we get to experience a glimpse of the festival, but the excitement of the events and activities to come is shared with some enthusiasm.

Throughout the evening, I found myself talking to complete strangers about the festival. Topics included: Welcome To Country, amazing didgeridoo playing, insights into the programme, presentations, and of course what tickets were you going to buy? Like the programme launch last year, BOCs set up terminals so that Friends of the Festival could purchase tickets then and there.

The formal part of the evening was held in the Octagon Theatre and the programme launch party was held in the Somerville Auditorium which was in a huge marquee surrounded by vintage cars, dance floor (with dancers), and live music. Food and wine were plentiful, but because the weather was cold and wet, those that wanted elbow room headed for the perimeter. The waitpersons all wore wigs to suit the theme, so they were easy to spot, but they too experienced difficulty making their way through the crowd.

We received our programme in the mail on the day, so it was already earmarked to take along to the programme launch. I got tickets for all that we planned, but I may get some more having seen the presentations.

Tickets so far:

Festival Films are on from 1 December, so still plenty of time to get our ticket pack to start the season.

March reads

Read four of Mam’s beach novels and The Turning which I got in time for the play (adaption), but only cursorily looked at prior to the performance.

I tried to finish the beach novels before they were required for second-hand bookshops somewhere between Perth and Naxos. The were all quick reads, some more memorable than others.

  • Death in Holy Orders by PD James is a Commander Adam Dalgliesh tale set in an theological college on the East Anglian coast. A student is murdered and the ongoing investigation is helped and heeded by the isolated close-knit community.
  • Not in the Flesh by Ruth Rendell was an intriguing story about the investigation led by Chief Inspector Wexford when a body is found wrapped in a purple cotton sheet. I thought the novel was going to be a straight forward whodunit, but there was bit more to it than that.
  • Piece of My Heart by Peter Robinson was a little more plodding, but the scene of the crime – a rock festival, made it a little more interesting. The threads connecting the present day to aging rock stars is a little tenous though.
  • Exit Music by Ian Rankin is DI John Rebus’s last case in the force. A bit of winding up occurs, as Rebus attempts to pass on/fob off his unsolved cases and business to colleague DS Siobhan Clarke. Some of the jobs are not resolved as one would like.
  • The Turning by Tim Winton I got from The Book Depository which seems all wrong since Winton is a Western Australian author. But it was just too easy and the price was right. I don’t know why books have to cost so much in Australia in comparison to the UK or USA. Anyway, The Turning read and on the bookshelf means that I have all Tim Winton’s books, so far. Having finished it, I wish I had more to read. The book follows three generations of a family, and each chapter/short story is sort of complete, but sort of keeps you hanging. A certain amount of cringe material and rawness as the place and some periods felt familiar to me.

I thought that uni would slow up my reading, which it did in a way but only from a time point of view. I was just too tired at the end of the day from reading scholarly papers to read some more for entertainment. However, I did find that non-fiction was good for a few hours escape.

Friday good

For the first time in years, we have found something to do on the Friday that is part of the Easter public holidays. Usually, everything is closed, dead – nothing happening.

Apart from the relative quiet which is nice because most people have pissed off south or north for the four day holiday, nothing happens in Perth.

Between our picnic and viewing the Perth International Arts Festival films we walked around the UWA grounds and saw a poster for The York Crucifixion, a production by the Happy Dagger Theatre.

I wanted to go just because the poster indicated that bad things would happen to Barbie (TM).

The play was excellent. It was a very hot evening, and while we could fan ourselves with the programme, I felt for the players who in their theatrical costumes were leaving marks of perspiration as they touched the floor.

One of the 14th to 16th Century York Mystery cycle, the play involved five bouffons and their cart which transformed into various pieces of the set. Switching between old style and contemporary text and styles, the play was challenging to both the players and the audience. But I think they wooed the audience – definitely a hit. If anything, got you thinking beyond chocolate bunnies, boiled eggs, and when the pubs were open. It was thoughtful in part, and hilarious in others.

I’m not sure what all the fuss was about considering that at least two women have undergone physical examinations to make sure they are fit for crucifixion. It is a real shame that it was not better attended.

The only difficulty I had with the play is that bad things didn’t happen to Barbie (TM).

The next production is Cyrano de Bergerac, and I would definitely look out for it. The Happy Dagger Theatre company are excellent.

Trad

Amusing but not hiliarous. The Irish accents got in the way for me such that I could not understand some a lot.

I got the gist though, and I enjoyed being in an audience that was obviously enjoying the live theatre. Fortunately, the comedy consisted of snatches of conversation between the main protagonists (Da and Son) that were not heavily prerequisite to understanding subsequent topics for discussion. The fiddle and guitar accompaniments and interludes were pretty cool too.

On the way out I said that I could have done with sub-titles, and remembered that Trad was a captioned performance. Except that captioning is advertised as being for the hearing impaired not the accent challenged, and I may not have been able to sit next to H.

Friends who also went to see Black Watch agreed that captioning to understand the Scottish accents during that performance would have been useful too. We laughed when they said the most often used word was well understood whatever the accent.

Couers

Festival Film ‘Couers’ opened at the Somerville last night.

Directed by Alain Resnais, Private Fears in Public Places (Couers) is adapted from Alan Ayckbourn’s play titled Private Fears in Public Places (2004). It is a film of a play, which provides the opportunity for the audience to see the drama from all angles with some interesting cinematographic effects. For example, the falling snow I felt was effective in making the transition between scenes and added to the atmosphere, and observing people in rooms without ceilings moving from one room to another.

Set in Paris during what appeared to be a snow storm, the drama revolves around six characters, seven if you include Lionel’s bedridden father Arthur who is always a voice in another room. There are some relationships and connections between the characters, but the film is more about six individual stories rather than one main plot with perhaps an underlying theme of looking for love or acceptance.

I was not sure whether there is any resolution for Nicola and Dan (Nicola’s fiance), brother and sister Thierry and Gaëlle, or Lionel (bartender and son of Arthur) and Charlotte (casual carer for Arthur and Thierry’s work collegue at a real estate business). Perhaps more it was a snapshot of ordinary likeable people (except for Arthur) muddling through and find their way through life. It almost had a Thomas Hardy feel about it with regard to fate and chance.

I suspect the French speakers around me got more from the film than I who needed the English subtitles, but I enjoyed its sometimes whimsical feel around what could have been a long drawn out soapy.