A tantrum in triplet

Jane Montgomery Griffiths wrote an article introducing her adaptation and its context prior to the opening night of Antigone, directed by Adena Jacobs at the Malthouse Theatre.  Perhaps too optimistically, she states that: “Creon’s 5th century misogyny has a very different meaning in the 21st century.” Whilst this may be true, it is apparent that critics are all too focused on upholding the authority and structure of the patriarchal male voice, through their defense of the original text and prescription of what an adaptation should be.

The perhaps unconscious attempt to continue the myth of ‘woman who should be feared and silenced’ is not limited to the critique of the play, but extends beyond the theatre to the female playwright who might meddle with a Sophocles.  The critics, namely The Age, Herald Sun and Daily Review, should act as mediators between the theatre and the audience, rather than committing such injustices to the performance and the text. It’s like reading an Amazon book review. For those wishing to read a review and not a rant, see Alison Croggon’s piece for the ABC.

Antigone, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne, 21 August – 13 September 2015.

Antigone, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne
Antigone, Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne

The impossibility of describing Trisha Brown’s ‘Scallops’ (1973) without moving the body

Five bodies stand in a large room.

Standing on blue-grey-speckled linoleum, toe, ball, heels, skin stretched not too tight, weighted.

The toe that rests next to the big toe is longer than the latter.

Equal pressure in, up, out and down

Arms hang

The smallest toe on the right foot is cuddled under its neighbour.
Standing in a line, soft pressure connects bodies along the outer arm from the shoulders to the fingers.

Arms held off the body.

Large curtains conceal most of the east-facing wall of floor-to-ceiling mirrors.

Perhaps canvas, a sort of rubbery or waxed canvas that I could wipe down?




Heavy in the sense that if a figure stood behind it, the form of the figure would be without detail, without nuanced character; would not mould to the body like silk glides onto and over.

The focus is open and soft.

Along the north-facing wall, the figure on the far right of the line up steps right-leg-right. The left steps right across the body, pivoting on the right foot, spinning the figure around 180 degrees.
Like the inner point of a fan or the elbow of a wave, the axis shifts, and the figure on the end moves slightly, slowly.

Maintaining contact along the arm, the group move in unison, semi-circling at different speeds and variable distances to maintain the overall form.

The success of the simplest scallop is the outward awareness of the group. If the leading axis moves too quickly without taking into account the distance travelled by the flanking figures, excess energy is expended to keep up.

The scallop waves, ripples and settles. Still
Rippling, the right leg steps behind into the space, the memory of the right foot of the figure beside. Turning on the left foot, then step left-foot-right.

The scallop waves, ripples and stills.

The room exists, somewhat like a fishbowl.

Trisha Brown, Scallops, 1973. Performers: Trisha Brown, Carmen Beuchat, Caroline Goodden, Sylvia Palacios. Duration: 10 minutes.

Blue grey linoleum floor
Blue-grey linoleum floor

A conversation with Kalinda Vary

The handstand!

Can we talk about that?

We both had a very different approach to that

To the hand stand?


I credit you with getting me to do one
You were strategic about it
I wasn’t I was just trying to do it all at once and failing because of that
Usual practice

Ha! Yes but you would have figured it out at some point
Or gone to some training facility

Eventually hopefully
I was at the stage filming myself standing upright but pretending I was upside down

That’s incredible

I was trying to invent some sort of clothes pulley system that would flip my skirt over my head at the right moment

How did you go?

There’s some pretty ridiculous footage
I don’t think its clear WHAT I was trying to do

That’s amazing

But it’s a good example of my desire to improv with the immediate rather than solve the problems

Problem-solving as inefficiency is something I often fall into
Oh right!

It is? Tell me more
Tell me I’m not alone

Definitely – this kind of circumnavigating, working with what you’ve got. I often make the problem bigger than is necessary
You’re not alone and it’s fun

And do you think the solution to chasing your tail down a rabbit hole is conversation and sharing with others to break the ever-expanding problem?
It’s so fun
I think it’s an act of defiance

I think both are important, knowing when to have a conversation

Yes and free will

Exercising free will in a probably ineffective way
So liberating
A quiet fuck you

It’s a really great exercise or practice. I often feel hopeless though when I feel like I’ve failed
I just did a pivot

And then your boss asks “What sort of art do you make?” and quietly under your breath you say “Fuck you.”

Kalinda Vary, NOW GO OVER THERE AND STAND ON THAT CHAIR, TCB, Melbourne, 6 May – 23 May 2015.

Kalinda Vary, TCB

Kalinda Vary, TCB