Melbourne Festival 2015 Part II

This country girl is havin’ a great time in the big city but my time here is about to end.

Acting Stranger scene from
Acting Stranger scene from

If I could stay another day, I would be off to ACMI tomorrow evening at 6pm to Andrew Schneider’s Acting Strangers (in my last blog I raved about YOUARENOWHERE but Keith Gow has put my sentiments into coherent sentences).

Thankfully, the good folk at Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, are showing previews of the filmed encounters as they are edited, today and tomorrow. I saw about 16 or so this afternoon – funny, poignant, straight-out crazy, and very revealing of the human condition.

My Festival experiences of Sunday were at the extremes of scale and once again small was beautiful. Quartetthaus holds only a string quartet on a central ‘lazy Susan’ and 52 patrons in two rows around them – so close you could the sheet music, complete with players personal marks.

The musicians are students of ANAM (Australian National Academy of Music) and each quartet played one piece, in each case a Hayden string quartet followed by a more modern quartet played by a different quartet. On Sunday afternoon it was Shostakovich no 9 in E flat major played by the Beren Quartet of Rollin Zhao and Kyla Matsuura-Millar (violins), Gregory Daniel (viola) and Samuel Payne (cello).  They played with such verve and musicality, and the proximity meant that you could share every note with them.

The music in Desdemona was wonderful too. I’m not so sure about the rest of it. Perhaps one of the problems was that Tino Benko as Desdemona played several parts, speaking to each other. Don’t get me wrong, Tina was wonderful.

It was the heavy script, OK let’s say it – preachy – which had less chance when it wasn’t broken up between different actors. I had trouble keeping up.

And today, David Bowie at ACMI. I was young again and dancing even though the crowds were thick. Remarkable that many were my sort of age. Not only was(is) he a creative genius he had such a beautiful voice.


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