Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Another Day in the Culture Factory

An eclectic week as usual - the sublime to the audacious. Start off with the annual PAU school shows, several hundred budding musicians with recorders at the ready for a soul stirring, mass rendition of Scarborough Fair. Doesn't it make you proud?

I only operated the Banksia Concert of the 2006 Festival of Instrumental Music but I am always impressed with the degree of organisation and coordination it takes to wrangle several hundred primary school children in and out of rehearsals and performances without turning the place into a giant chaotic playground. The show was of course, beautifully lit by Dave who can and does do the whole thing blind.

After my ears had recovered from the descant and trebles my next gig was back at the Studio and the fbi 94.5 Radio Play. (I missed out on Dame Kiri Te Kanawa who made a lightning visit to the Concert Hall and who reportedly sang beautifully but whose serious operatic repetoire seemed to go right over the heads of many of the audience who were hanging out for something from My Fair Lady.)

The best part of the Radio Play - besides the seriously talented actors of course - is the Sound Effects table with sticks of Celery, coconut shells (for the horses of course), wind machines, broken glass, metal bits and pieces and a bin full of 'vomit'. The third and final episode is on next Sunday so I had to make sure I was operating it so I can find out what happens to Plantanganet and his battle against Charton Heston and the Russel Crowe clones.

The week ended with a performance in the smallest set I have ever seen.
A Large Attendance in the Antechamber is one of those off the edge performances you're not really sure about but which is oddly compelling. Brian Lipson plays Sir Francis Galton – "perhaps the most brilliant, charming and eccentric example of Victorian genius. A great man of science, he was Darwin’s cousin and an exponent of social Darwinism through his founding of Eugenics". The SMH gave this 90 min one-man show a good review -"This oddball gem of a show is highly recommended" - and the usually small audience always gives a rousing applause at the end.

The lighting is minimalist - most of it is done with period candle and gas light supplemented by a few 10 degree profiles from the front, never above 50%. The props used are mostly authentic 19th Century parephenalia including a marvelous magic latern with "portable" battery which was reputably bought from a relative of Darwin for a scant few pounds.

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