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On Earthquake at VCA – The Age

The Age carried this story about the two Australian premieres staged at VCA in October 2013. I directed one of them, It’s an Earthquake in My Heart, created by the students and I after Goat Island. (Note: this photo is from Richard Murphet’s production of Eddie Goes To Poetry City by Richard Foreman).

See more about It’s an Earthquake in My Heart here.

See original article on The Age website here.

Read on for the full article.

VCA premieres new plays

Kate Mazoudier
Published: November 7, 2013 – 4:21PM

In late October two remarkable pieces of contemporary theatre were premiered by the graduating cohort of Acting and Production students from the VCA, under the direction of Richard Murphet and Robert Walton.

Mr Murphet, Honorary Fellow at the VCA and director of Richard Foreman’s Eddie Goes to Poetry City, described the two works as having survival at their core: “They’re essentially about being alive and staying alive in the 21st century,” he says.

Eddie Goes to Poetry City tries to follow the journey of an ordinary man into the dark, magical heart of a city: a city of poetry, dreams, nightmares and inscrutable plots.

The text used in the VCA production was an edit by director Richard Murphet, of two different versions of the play. Mr Murphet, who has spent time in New York with Foreman, has long been passionate about an Australian staging of the work.

“Through a strange combination of humour, mystery and provocation Eddie Goes to Poetry City witnesses the struggle of a man determined to make his own life into a living work of art,” Mr Murphet explains.

“Foreman’s works are often challenging to watch, and they are directed with the specific intention of disorienting the audience and challenging preconceptions about theatre and reality. His work is very rarely staged outside New York and it is an enormous and exciting challenge to direct and perform in Melbourne.”

The second work in the season – It’s an Earthquake in My Heart by Goat Island – was also an Australian premiere, this time under the direction of Associate Head of Theatre, Robert Walton.

Goat Island was a Chicago-based performance group that worked together for 20 years until 2007. The group was known for creating highly physical work that made extreme demands of the performers. One of Goat Island’s maxims was ‘We discovered a performance by making it’. They didn’t begin the creative process with any preconceived notions of what they wanted to ‘say’, nor did they necessarily prescribe meaning to their finished works. Instead they allowed meaning to develop organically through the creation and performance process.

It’s an Earthquake in My Heart was originally devised for four performers and explores the way people cope with catastrophe. Created at the turn of the century, the work toured during the early 2000s and, although the material never changed, took on a radically new meaning post-September 11, 2001.

“This is the first time a group other than Goat Island has ever performed the work,” Mr Walton explains.

“There is no copyright on this work and it doesn’t have a written script. Goat Island’s intention was to hand to future performers the processes for making this theatre, and for those processes in new creative hands to form a new work.

“As a basis for our performance we used a ‘performance document’ left by Goat Island that contains the spoken words, and suggestions for the structure of the show and the physical/movement elements. Goat Island also filmed some of their work which provided us with further clues and suggestions. Beyond this we created something very new, including expanding the work to accommodate a cast of 12 performers,” Mr Walton says.

Goat Island’s explanation of their theatre practice provides perhaps the most compelling introduction for theatregoers.

“We began by studying immobility. We pretended our bodies were cars, and imitated the patterns of a chase and an accident. We pretended we were dancers, and imitated the patterns of a dance. We pretended we were machines, and people learning how to behave like people. We collected words about phantom childhoods. We fashioned a narrow performance space, angled askew, with no parallel in the world: part Chevrolet insignia, part Libeskind passageway (Libeskind is the architect who designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin, comprising voids and empty passageways). We have discovered a performance by making it, with the following ideas at its heart: the construction of memory, the aftermath of historical destruction, the place of nature, the way one might learn to love the world, the way one might say to oneself, “I am not afraid.”

This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/voice/vca-premiers-new-plays-20131107-2x3co.html

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