Last days of Lipsynch
Monday 6 August
Melbourne - café capital of Australia! We meet Christine Grace from old Gaulier days, now ensconced as a film screenwriter, based here in Melbourne. She has been working on a script about Mesmer and another on the epic story of Chinese immigrants in early days of Victoria state.
We meet in the Arts Centre with the great and good of Melbourne/Tasmania theatre world to chat about process with actors/producers here. Meet up with Michael Kantor who studied at Gaulier with me and his sister Kate in Paris '88/'89. He was only 17/18 then and that period no doubt left an indelible mark on him. He has been director of the Malthouse Theatre here in Melbourne for 7 years and is now making film. Some interesting comments from the assembled group. Some saying they are drawn into show miraculously. How is that achieved? Hans reminds us we are all mic-ed so the quality of the voice is quite intimate – no big straining to fill large spaces we are in. All Robert's shows are like this. The loudness/softness of voice is in fact controlled by technicians. We discuss the nature of an ever present cast and technicians in the process of creating: ie designer is there on day one as is the complete SM team, sound lighting video, other visuals, costume so in fact all can input and respond to material arriving in the room. Very unusual even here in Oz where set and costumes can be fixed before actors even chosen. Of course this is expensive but as Louise the production manager says, this is a choice made to elicit the optimum creative atmosphere and period. And that it yields positive benefits is true.
We have a chance to go see a multi-lingual version of Blood Wedding in the Malthouse. Interesting to see how the Spanish immigrant situation makes it natural for the characters to speak English and Spanish at the same time, as the generations do here in Melbourne. In a talk after with students they are asked how many have grandparents who speak a non-English language. The response is large and it is noted that 60% of the population have non-anglophone grandparents. Cast of the show is made up of Chilean and I think Mexican Spanish speakers, reflecting the highly multi-cultural make up of Melbourne. This is the way the world will go. Though the more global we become the more difficult it seems to get visas to enter. Our tourist visa here in Oz is prohibitively expensive.
Ballarat the coldest spot on earth, the eureka stockade, driving rain and bright sunshine.
Rebecca and Hans do an interview for German radio as there are 200,000 German speakers here in the greater Melbourne area.
Robert arrives to see show. He shows latest edits of 3 short films based on Lipsynch - looking even more beautiful. And photos of The Tempest, the opera by Thomas Ades which he is directing for Met and Quebec opera. Visible at your local HD Live opera showing filmhouse on Nov 10th.
Last shows. The audiences are ecstatic, though numbers haven't picked up on last week, which is put down to the Olympics. All that drama in your own Aussie living room – why would you spend the day in the theatre? At any rate those who are there enjoy it a lot. Many tears at the end of last show. Was it really the last? Given the popular uprising that was the audience at the end, it would be a shame not to do it again.Will Lipsynch never be seen again? Once Robert opens his new theatre space in the Capitol in Quebec City....?