Kicking off tonight and running for 17 days, the 2014 Melbourne Festival comes alive with a program that features almost 100 events including 15 world premieres; 21 Australian premieres, and 6 specially commissioned works; occupying more than 30 venues and featuring 1000 artists from 23 different countries.
Arts Review takes a look at ten events worth checking out:
From Montreal’s masters of the circus arts, Cirque Éloize, comes a bewitching new award-winning show visually inspired by Fritz Lang’s legendary film Metropolis. Bursting with stylish, spellbinding visuals, Cirkopolis is an astounding feast of gravity-defying acts, sinuous movement and transporting original music – a joyous blend of spectacle, creativity and skill from some of the best circus performers on the planet.
Complexity of Belonging
Uniting the potent choreography of Chunky Move Artistic Director Anouk van Dijk and the text and direction of Falk Richter, Complexity of Belonging seamlessly integrates text, movement and music to create a work of theatre that is in and of its time. A darkly humorous exploration of identity in the age of social media, peer into the lives of nine interconnected individuals as they grapple with an essential question: how and where do I belong? Nationality, gender, sexuality and history collide in this audacious, theatrical exposé of the daily trials of surviving in a hyper-connected, globalised society.
Golden Mirror Carousel
Artist Carsten Höller works to turn reality on its head, creating situations through which we can reimagine how we move through the world and reconsider our place in it. Drawing on social spaces outside the museum, such as the amusement park, zoo, or playground, the interactions that Höller proposes through objects and situations open up a range of new and unexpected sensory revelations in art.
World-renowned circus innovators Circa have formed a rare collaboration with the Debussy Quartet, one of France’s most esteemed string groups, to create the internationally acclaimed Opus, a work of exceptional beauty and power. Blending the lyrical majesty of Dmitri Shostakovich’s quartets with the intense physicality of Circa’s acrobats, Opus is a marvel – one that, rather than quarantining the quartet away from the performance, draws them intimately into the action, weaving them into a blaze of acrobatics and choreography.
Six eerie beings dance out a ferocious drama amid the foreboding rumblings of an icy alien landscape. Winter fades, and spring blooms in violence. Dynamic young Italian artists’ collective Dewey Dell have joined forces with manga artist Yuichi Yokoyama and Kuro Tanino, Artistic Director of Japanese theatre company Niwagekidan Penino, to create Marzo, an impeccably stylized dance work with a stunning visual aesthetic – eccentric and fantastical.
My Lovers’ Bones
An Aboriginal man stumbles down a Melbourne laneway, pursued by an ancient, malevolent force. As he runs, he can feel the creature’s eyes burning through him – but is he fleeing from the fiend itself, or from the monster he fears he might become? A modern-day reimagining of the bunyip legend, My Lovers’ Bones is a spine-chilling new theatrical work from acclaimed Indigenous storytellers Brown Cab Productions. A fusion of theatre, poetry, physical movement, digital projection and visceral soundscape, My Lovers’ Bones offers a hauntingly beautiful take on a myth both fearsome and misunderstood – the hunter of those who would forget the laws of the land.
Since I Suppose
Come on a journey through a city made unfamiliar. A guided tour through the hidden secrets and invisible forces that lurk within the place you call home. Winding your way through the streets of Melbourne, you become observer and judge in a tale stolen from Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. The device sitting in your palm leads you through a dizzying web of video, audio, site-specific happenings and unexpected, real life one-on-one encounters, as you prowl the city’s thoroughfares and byways. Keep your eyes open and be ready for anything – this is theatre as you have never experienced it before.
The Trouble with Harry
Harry Crawford and his wife Annie seem ordinary enough; together they lead quiet, unexceptional lives in the suburbs of 1920s Sydney, working and raising a child. But when a strange girl arrives at the door, it sets in train a series of events that will result in an astounding revelation – and, ultimately, sow the seeds of bloody murder. Award-winning playwright Lachlan Philpott probes ideas of gender identity, perversion and complicity with this new work, based on the extraordinary true story of the ‘Man-Woman’ murder that shocked turn-of-the-century Sydney.
In a multi-screen kaleidoscope of interactive exhibits, never-before-seen archival footage, storytelling and mixed-media artworks, Vault offers a unique insight into the personalities and performances that have shaped one of our greatest performing companies, Circus Oz. Drawing on the incredible resources of the recently launched Circus Oz Living Archive, this is a one of- a-kind portrait of a company whose dedication, skill and playful irreverence have come to define what we know as Australian circus today.
When the Mountain changed it’s clothing
A captivating blend of dance, spoken word and song – spanning traditional choral works to indie pop, this is an epic-scale production featuring 40 young singers from world-renowned Vocal Theatre Carmina Slovenica, and offers a remarkable meditation on the transition from youth to adulthood, an enigmatic vision of the end of innocence. Under the guidance of one of the true living legends of the European artistic landscape, Heiner Goebbels.
The Melbourne Festival runs from Friday 10 October to Sunday 26 October. For more information and complete program, visit: www.melbournefestival.com.au for details.
Image: The Trouble with Harry – photo by Sarah Walker