Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Head Space

I’m not in a good head space this day, this week, this month. I’m not coping. I’ve got too much on. I am organising a kids’ play, stage managing another play and trying to improve my health and fitness. Trying to teach dad how to write an essay. Listening to everyone’s problems. I have a pile of books to read, but no time. In addition work is being ‘interesting’, and I’m not sure if I’ve done the ethical thing. I thought that it was the ethical thing when I did it, but in hindsight maybe not. And one of my colleagues seems to have stopped talking to me and is avoiding me. And I’ve gone and let someone annoy me, and this has really really really effected me. Last time this happened I stopped going to the Last Tuesday Society and became a bit of a hermit. I need a high quality hot chocolate (I think the caffeine in coffee is making me worse) and a Good Chat with my Good Friends, and perhaps I also need to get lost in a good book.

I don’t want to give up the plays, because it makes me feel saner when I am involved in plays, and I don’t want to let any one down. My name is Andrew and I'm a doormat. I don’t want to stop my exercise routine because my osteoporosis has improved by about 12% which is, to quote my specialist, ‘bloody fantastic’. She said that in two more years I should be able to stop taking osteoporosis medicine (technically it is not osteoporosis, just the same symptoms – ie pretty shocking bones). A 4% improvement is on the good side of average, and the large change the specialist put down to me exercising.

What can I do?
- I’ve told Julian and Chantell that I’m not feeling 100% at this moment in time, and other important people will read this.
- I’ll either visit Chantell this weekend or go on a reading and coffee drive through Victoria, I might go Geohashing (Yes I did spell that correct) or retro-Geohashing.
- I’ll ask the director if I can always leave early on Monday nights, that way hopefully the rest of my week won’t feel as bad.
- I want to blog every day in November, but that might give me too much stress, so it might be a photo a day, or a quote and I won’t worry if I miss a day. I won’t officially join NaBloPoMo.
- I will eat less biscuits and chocolate and drink less coffee.
- I will eat more fruit, drink more water and remember to have dinner.
- I will clean my car.
- I will put on rubber gloves and search the peke for fleas (If I have time).

And to make matters worse, I don’t think that I can trust my doctor: all of her patients are sick.

Monday, 26 October 2009

The Coffee Club

After one hours sleep I drove into the city. The car’s radio was on SEN1116, and it was an exciting thing to listen to the pre-race build-up as you drive to the starting line. I parked at the Melbourne Exhibition building and caught a taxi to the MCG. There I power-walked to the starting line just in time to hear the national anthem and the Melbourne Marathon contestants start. It was an amazing feeling to cheer the start, cheer these athletes who were setting off to do something that I couldn’t do in a million years. We clapped for three minutes as they all ran across the starting line.

All up $296,842.84 was raised for the Cerebral Palsy Education Centre (the official charity (CPEC)), which was above the goal of $209,000. I ran for CPEC and was decked out in their t-shirt and cap. Other charities had teams competing as well. It was interesting to see the backs of people’s t-shirts, advertising their charity, sporting group, university or workplace. It would have been amazing just to sit down and photograph all the different team’s jerseys. But I had a task. I had to travel 10km. Prove to myself that I could do it.

My event, The Coffee Club 10km was the second race to start. There were so many competitors we left in two waves, the first wave had white bibs and would complete the race in under an hour. The second wave, including me, had black bibs and would take a bit longer to complete.

It was a beautiful morning, clear and crisp, a nice warm 7 degrees Celsius, the perfect temperature for running. We set off, up Batman Avenue, Flinders St, Swanston St, around the Arts Center, Alexandra Av, Linlithgow Av, Birdwood Av, Domain Rd, St Kilda Rd, Birrarung Marr, William Barak Bridge, down Brunton Av and into the Majestic MCG. The Arts Center, St Paul’s, Flinders Street Station and The Shrine of Remembrance all looked so very very beautiful and heroic in the morning’s light.

I ran/jogged until the Arts Center, where I slowed down into a quick walk and enjoyed the stroll (at roughly 7.695km/hr it was a very quick walk). About every three k’s there were water stations which were greatly appreciated. I would grab two bags of water and run on. Water comes in bags!

Monash University had a large running team and a lot of supporters around the track. I was near their runners, and you felt that the supporters were cheering you on as well. Everyone was cheering you on.

I only saw one person from my work, I walked next to her for a couple of hundred meters, however as she was running and I was walking I thought that I might be putting her off, so I slowed down.

The last drink station was on the Princes Bridge, a drink of water, and you knew that you were nearly home. I picked up the pace down Brunton Ave, with more people cheering you on and then entered the MCG, your heart picks up, no longer feel exhausted and I ran around the MCG, the eighth largest stadium in the world, one of the seven wonders of the sporting world, home to cricket, home to the 1956 Olympics and the Spiritual Home of Australian Sport.

I sped up, enjoying the lap. The MCG looked a quarter full, with most of the 10km competitors already finished, and with people who came to support them, and to watch the end of the marathon. And then I readched the finish line. I could sit down and watch the Marathon winners enter the stadium. I did it. I can walk 10km.

Well not exactly. The following day re-measurements showed that the track was actually 9.2km. I had a good laugh, and remember fondly the TV series “The Games” with John Clarke, Gina Riley and Bryan Dawe where the Sydney Olympic 100m track, was not 100 meters. Hehehe.


Andrew’s Official Time: 1 hour 11min 44sec
Average Speed: 7.695km/hr
Overall Position: 4230/4807

The Coffee Club 10km winners:
Mark Tucker 28min 47sec
Sarah Jamieson 30min 17sec

Average time: 58min 30sec
Slowest time: 4hours 13min 25sec

(The half marathon competitors)

St George Melbourne Marathon winners:
Asnake Fekadu 2hr 17min 32sec
Lisa Flint 2hr 34min and 8sec

(Inside the MCG)

Monday, 19 October 2009

Quote of the Day

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
- Aldous Huxley

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Final Scene of Titus

Titus Andronicus is over.


Sam: “Are they creating an I-Phone application of you, so that I can carry you everywhere and ask you what I have to do next?”


I am sitting off stage. Aaron, Lucius and Lusty Goth are on stage. Lucius tells the Goth to hang Aaron, and Aaron is viciously led up a ladder, around where nooses hang from the ceiling.

“And hang the child as well,” Lucius orders. Then I notice that the child, a green doll, is not on stage. The actors are looking like everything is proceeding correctly, but I know better. I look around and see it sitting down near me.

I pick it up and the Goth is looking roughly in my direction and so, after one moment’s hesitation, in one mammoth throw, I send it arching up between lights and hanging plastic, over the entire stage, towards the tall Goth who stretches up her hand and just catches him, ready to hang, ready for Lucius to save him.
And the audience delights at the perfect choreography.


Going to the pub and after parties with the cast, can be very interesting and a lot of fun. I talked to an English linguist who told me that I sound English, but don’t, have an English accent. I thought that that was very interesting.

I have none of the colloquialisms/conjunctions/expressions that can be found in Middlesbrough, or Liverpool, or Coventry, or London, or anywhere else in England. I just sound English.

However there is never enough time to talk to everyone, I wish I had a chance to talk to Lynne, Nell, Julian, Colin, R, A and S. And I think that I didn’t get to talk to N, A, B and R. I’m starting to wonder who I spent all my time talking to…

I guess that is one of the problems with having a large cast. I did have a lovely chat to A, V, V, S, E, and P. And played two games on ‘Guitar Hero’. Note: There are too many people with the same initials, think up different pseudonyms.

“So much of me is made of what I learned from you, You'll be with me like a handprint on my heart. And now whatever way our stories end I know you have re-written mine By being my friend … Who can say if I've been changed for the better? But because I knew you I have been changed for good”
- Stephen Schwartz “For Good” from “Wicked”


But I have to go. I leave at about 3:30am. I have a 10km race to run in the morning. I need to be at the MCG by 6:00am. 5:00am if I want any chance of parking the car. So off I go, I dropped Aniko in Brunswick and head to Clayton and to the Land of Nod.


Act V, Scene III

LUCIUS: Some loving friends convey the Emperor hence,
And give him burial in his father's grave.
My father and Lavinia shall forthwith
Be closed in our household's monument.
As for that ravenous tiger, Tamora,
No funeral rite, nor man in mourning weed,
No mournful bell shall ring her burial;
But throw her forth to beasts and birds to prey.
Her life was beastly and devoid of pity,
And being dead, let birds on her take pity.

- Titus Andronicus (Act V Scene III)

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Titus Andronicus

I think opening night went well!

“I’ll find a day to massacre them all, and raze their faction and their family, the cruel father, and his traitorous sons, to whom I sued for my dear son’s life; And make them know what ‘tis to let a queen kneel in the streets and beg for grace in vain.”

“So pale did shine the moon on Pyramus, When he by night lay bath'd in maiden blood.”

“Poor harmless fly, That with his pretty buzzing melody Came here to make us merry!”

“I say, my lord, that if I were a man,”

“Lord Titus, by your leave, this maid is mine.”

“Revenge, ye heavens, for worn Andronicus!”

“Brothers, help to convey her hence away, And with my sword I'll keep this door safe.”

“She is a woman, therefore may be won; She is Lavinia, therefore must be lov'd.”

“And here's thy hand, in scorn to thee sent back- Thy grief their sports, thy resolution mock'd,”

“Aaron, a thousand deaths, Would I propose to achieve her whom I love.”

“O gentle Aaron, we are all undone! Now help, or woe betide thee evermore!”

“Farewell, Andronicus, my noble father, The woefull'st man that ever liv'd in Rome.”

“Thou canst not come to me- I come to thee”

“O, how this villainy, Doth fat me with the very thoughts of it!”

“And at thy feet I kneel, with tears of joy, Shed on this earth for thy return to Rome.”

“Die, frantic wretch, for this accursed deed!”

Act I, Scene I: Tamora, Lavinia, Mutius and Bassianus
Act II, Scene I: Demetrius and Chiron
Act II, Scene III: Martius and Quintus
Act III, Scene I: Aaron, Messenger and Lucius
Act III, Scene II: Titus, Marcus and Boy
Act IV, Scene II: Nurse
Act V, Scene III: Saturninus

Monday, 5 October 2009

The Beginning of October

The Beginning of October is an Artistic Wonderland... The Beginning of October shows Melbourne’s Artistic Side... Melbourne is Creative in October... Melbourne’s Creativity Shines in October... When the footy’s gone the Artists come out to play...

This is a funny post; it is two tense; current and past. Edited too many times and too long to read. Just read the bit concerning Hamlet (Thursday) if you wish, or any other titbit or topsy-turvy, or look at the coffee (singular, not plural)...


I don’t visit many Art Galleries, I don’t know why. Perhaps I’m lazy. There is a Salvador Dali exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria titled “Liquid Desire” (http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/dali/#id=Dali&num=01). It has been there for three months and is about to close, and I have not yet scene it.

There is a lovely YouTube clip of the show “What’s My Line?” where Dali is a guest and four contestants are blind folded and trying to guess who he is, by asking questions. It is available at: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXT2E9Ccc8A) if you are interested.

The Age columnist Danny Katz, wrote a rather humorous article about attending the Dali Exhibition with his inner Dali. Available at: (http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/dali-makes-an-exhibition-of-himself-20090923-g2m9.html)
''Let me show yoo a proper surrealist exhibition right here in your own city.'' And he led me down to Swanston Street. ''Look! It izz neither for cars nor for people. Thiz izz absurdo road.''
- Danny Katz in The Age – September 24, 2009

Anyway I finished work at Bundoora, drove down Plenty Road, caught a traffic report which listed accidents down three of my fastest routes into the city, made quick adjustments and forty minutes later I was in Melbourne, running the kilometre and a half from my car to the NGV. I had about an hour and a half to see the exhibition before I had to leave, but the line of people was so large, I couldn’t risk entering.

But I did buy a Dali book from a happy retail assistant who seemed happy to be talking to a happy person which will make a good Christmas/Birthday present. That is, the book will make a good present, not the retail assistant – I try not to participate in slavery. I assured the retail assistant that the only reason I was happy at 5:30pm was that I didn’t see any reason not to be unhappy and that I was happy at 9:00 as well, but 5:30am can be a different story. The only downside to the day was not seeing Dali, but I will try again!


Jane has been writing, directing, composing, a play about fashion. Erin is in charge of marketing and I know about a third of the cast. I enjoy Jane’s writing and with excitement I head into the city to watch ‘Retail’. (http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/retail). Having lots of rehearsals for Titus, this is the only day I can make it, and will be joined by Erin, Lynne and possibly the Tamoras. Retail’s tagline is: “The cuntsomer is always right”

The story is set in a street with two shops, one that sells high quality suits and one that sells wedding dresses. An empty mirror frame faces part of the audience which gives you a good view of the action. You sat in rows looking over the performance space and past that windows looking out over the QV square where further action was performed, lines delivered through radio mics.

Jane’s play was amazing. The two hours zoomed by, your emotions and feelings going out to Jennifer, Fleur and Bernadette whilst the play builds up to a dramatic surreal interpretive dance scene. Not everything is resolved, and why should everything get resolved, life doesn’t get resolved. But a humorous epilogue with Jen made the audience content and honoured to see Jane’s story.

TW played Mark and Young Man and did a superb job. TW is a very very pleasant, poetical, intelligent person to talk to and we said “going to the theatre is healing” which is something I tend to forget. I really respect and honour TW’s point of view, he doesn’t dismiss anything as not being worthwhile, his smallest acting parts are just as important as others including listing in his bio “man dressed as poodle in The Stupid Play”. The cliché/saying that belongs here is “there are no small parts, only small actors” sometimes attributed to Milan Kundera and sometimes attributed to Konstantin Stanislavsky. I wish I could have caught up with E2 as well.

It is as fun being Firs in “The Cherry Orchard” as Bad Bart in “How the West was Warped”. I feel with acting, you see your part, no matter what size, as a bit that is essential, that the other parts play off and are made ‘richer’ because of you. Otherwise why would the writer have created your character? Creating something where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Damn clichés, I can’t avoid them.

You feel special when you leave when the director, the actors and the marketer all thank you for coming. And while I went to support them, I left feeling supported (and happy in me).

(hot chocolate at Max Brenner's in QV, because someone arrived a little bit early)


I am not needed at rehearsals for Titus Andronicus. I wonder if Lynne has found another actor to do my part? It would have to be someone tall to fit into the costumes… What a piece of work is man… I’ve lost my Billy Book, and I’m in the middle of Hamlet, which is slightly annoying.

I’ve booked a ticket to see “The Hamlet Apocalypse” (http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/the-hamlet-apocalypse). The play is about a group of actors who are staging Hamlet on the eve of the apocalypse. But to go or not to go that is the question. It can sometimes feel weird, very weird when you go to a play on your own. Especially in such an intimate space as La Mama. And I have been very very tired, To sleep: perchance to dream.

Said Hamlet to Ophelia,
“I’ll do a sketch of thee,
What kind of pencil shall I use,
2B or not 2B?”
- Spike Milligan

I went. And I’m very glad that I went and I’m glad that I’m re-reading Hamlet as it made it easier to tell when the actors were being ‘people’ and when they were performing Hamlet. The performance of Hamlet was brilliant, told within an hour, with six actors.

M - Hamlet
F - Queen Gertrude
M - King Claudius
F - Polonius Laertes
M - Ghost of King Hamlet
F - Ophelia

There was no Rosencrantz and Guildenstern but they were not needed. But they have their own play so I am sure that they wouldn’t have minded missing out.
“Heads” - Tom Stoppard (1966)

It was amazing to see the character’s reaction to the upcoming apocalypse and also their reaction to each other’s reactions “I love you” “that’s not your line” “do the scene properly” “restart”.
The characters breaking in and out of their Hamlet personalities sometimes overflowed, sometimes juxtaposes, sometimes sat alongside, or complemented, or fought against the story of the play.

It was excellent how the Ghost of King Hamlet was present throughout the play, when in Hamlet he is only in small bits throughout. And he was ‘killed’ in the most beautiful manner. He stood in front of the LaMama stair and his brother Claudius standing half way up the stair gently poured sand onto his head. The sand covered him, giving him an unearthly look, and further grains of sand refracted off his head and spiralled around him, catching the light, like fairy dust, and slowly spiralled to the ground.

"My Lord, I have Remembrances of yours,
That I have longed long to redeliver.
I pray you now, receive them"

Early in the play, Ophelia tries to give Hamlet’s love letters back to him which Hamlet refuses to take back. Ophelia sits down and gently folds and turns and twists the papers into flowers, wherefore she smells them and carefully places them around the stage saying:

“There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies, that's for thoughts … There's fennel for you, and columbines. There's rue for you …”
Ophelia - (Act IV Scene V)

She does this, ignoring everything on the stage, dancing through the other scenes, dancing through the dialogue. And as she is walking she is so smoothly picked up by the ghost of the King and is gently, smoothly, spun around until they are both calmly lying on the flour signifying her descent into madness and her death.

It was so beautiful. And there was such beautiful and magnificent imagery and ideas and execution throughout. My words can not do the play justice.

(Melbourne Exhibition Building - when walking home)

(hot chocolate in borders, because someone arrived too early - is there a theme here?)


Julian, Nell and I decided to head off to see Matt and Richard in “The List Operators for Kids”. (http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/the-list-operators-for-kids) This is a show only for kids, however as we generally act our shoe size and not our age, we should have fun. If they don’t let us in, we will kidnap someone… Ewan and Elspeth, are you busy… If Matt or Richard are in a play near you, go and see it – or else… “or else what?”… Or else you will miss out on an entertaining evening (or afternoon).

For my Yarrawongian and Canberrian friends, “The List Operators” make up lists, sometimes with and sometimes without audience participation and have fun doing so. Here is a list that Richard and Matt prepared earlier:

Eight Lesser Known Roald Dahl Books.
1. James and The Medium Sized Peach
2. The Whiches (which which is which?)
3. The MCG
4. Charlie and The Potato Factory
5. The Twitters
6. Bouye
7. Danny Champion of Dingley!
8. George's Perscription Medicine

The show was very good! And we didn’t need to kidnap anyone. We three adults sat at the back and laughed so very hard, I nearly wet myself. “How do you wake Lady Gaga? Poke her face”. “All Nans are ninjas”. I picked up one or two references to Lynne’s Kid’s Shows.

J, N, E and I had Thai for lunch at Lemon something. Lemon Bistro it ended up being called. It was beautiful food and great conversations. I recommend it. Lemon Bistro is on the North side of Little Bourke Street between Swanston and Russel.


"And you ask me why I love her
Through wars, death and despair
She is the constant, we who don't care
And you wonder will I leave her - but how?
I cross over borders but I'm still there now"
- Anthem from Chess, Tim Rice, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson

Julian and I have been singing Anthem from Chess at nearly every rehearsal. I played clarinet in the Healesville town band, and the music is so full of emotion it is beautiful. When I sing it, and play it, I am feeling the notes, the music, swelling up, crescendo-ing, into a huge climax of love and musicality.


“I’ll find a day to massacre them all, and raze their faction and their family, the cruel father, and his traitorous sons, to whom I sued for my dear son’s life; And make them know what ‘tis to let a queen kneel in the streets and beg for grace in vain.”
- Tamora in Titus Andronicus (Act I, Scene I)

With the director busy with other scenes for hours on end, we run through the lines (and actions) once or twice and then stop, and go off track. I would be happy to go through them a thousand times but it seems to me that the others aren’t as fanatical. Home at midnight. Dead!


Missed it. Slept and slept and slept. Read a book about a goblin and tin cans and tyrants. It had a lot of references to Jane Austen and William Shakespeare.


Today is a special day; today there are five time zones in Australia. Rehearsals are due to start at:

11:00 Melbourne Time (Australian Eastern Daylight Saving Time) NSW, VIC and TAS
10:30 South Australia (ACDT)
10:00 Queensland (AEST)
9:30 Northern Territory (ACST)
8:00 Western Australia (AWST)


We started a bit slow and unfortunately on of the Tamoras fainted but we did a run starting at 7:00ish which went well. Which was a huge relief! Titus has a huge role and needs to fix up three little bits and other people have some trouble with other difficult bits, but opening night should be good. I am feeling more and more confident.

For one scene I read Lucius’s lines, which included: “But who comes here with this lusty goth” (Act V, Scene I). I wonder if anyone will notice that it is not one of Shakespeare’s original lines.

Victoria, Nell and I went to get ice-cream and toasted summer. Chocolate, vanilla and butterscotch, yum.

Spring has sprung, the grass was wiz,
I wonder where the birdies iz?
People say the bird is on the wing,
But that’s absurd
Because the wing of cause is on the bird

Afterwards we went to the Groovy Train where I had a coffee. And we found an interesting thing about the play: Chiron and Demetrius change costumes and accents in each of the seven scenes that they are in. Five actresses play Tamora and change costumes, including hats in every scene. Five actresses play Lavinia who also change costumes in every scene. While Nell plays five characters without changing costumes or accent – We enjoy messing with the audience’s mind.

We were talking and something was said which made me think that EK doesn’t hate my guts, which is good as EK is great person. EK said something a while ago which I obviously took the wrong way (and had a good cry about it), but all seems fine now, which is a huge relief.

(Mitch's elbow)


Theatre and songs, remind me of other theatre and songs. Driving home listening to Monty Python and the song “sit on my face and tell me that you love me” came on the CD, which these days always makes me smile as when I did a small monologue there were a number of actors who I had previously seen perform “Richard the Third”, which was the most amazing Shakespeare that I have seen. And we all sang “sit on my face” together.