Thank you everyone for your support this year.
2016 was an interesting veer towards the other side of the rehearsal room. I directed two shows. It had been years since I waved my director's wand, and I was ready to get back in the director's chair and have a go. A lot of the skills I had learned from my early days directing came back to me over time, and I enjoyed the process of helping actors get the most out of themselves and creating new theatre together with writers, musicians and designers.
One show I was involved in was a Polish Yiddish Cabaret. Cabaret in Melbourne is starting to pick up in popularity with the recent evolution of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival, yet cabaret has always been a passion of mine. Mainly because the boundaries are so loosely defined. Music, stories and almost anything else come together and become a cabaret! Mix in some circus, politics, comedy, audience participation and whatever else you like and you're good to go! This entertainment with a message and random tricks appeals to a Jill of all trades like me.
Cabaret began in France where writers and performers would meet to share their work and there was no paying audience. This gives cabaret its edgy and experimental feel. "The Ghetto Cabaret" produced by Kadimah and the Jewish Holocaust Centre in 2017, and written by myself also has that at its core.
After singing French songs for five year I went to visit France. My friend, Odile, hosted me in Paris for five days. I fell in love instantly. The culture, buildings and absence of advertising billboards was a utopia for me. I was most impressed by the desire to make every little functional object (water fountain, street lamp) radiantly beautiful.
The reverence for music and theatre was also heartwarming. The French seem to have a different and far more appealing view about life and art and were respectful of their artists and creative people. Performers of all ages were writing and working in theatres big and small across all styles. And there are a lot of theatres! The Paris gig guide is not something you can read in five minutes. Once you discount the Moulin Rouge and Lido as my Parisian host did for being too touristy, there are hundreds of shows every night. We found ourselves in a small cabaret in Montmatre with a young handsome man playing guitar and a fantastic female singer (whose 25 year old daughter was in the audience) perform a cabaret of new songs they had composed together about Brittany, the region of France. The ageist in me could not believe the pairing and I quickly gave myself a slap on the wrist and enjoyed the show.
It would be a great day in Australia when I told people what my work was and they didn't think it was a failure that I haven't appeared on "Neighbours". (I have nothing against Neighbours or the actors that did work for the show).
Here is a link to the story featured in the Mornington News about our show: