Archive for August, 2010

Platform Paper 24: THE DIGITAL PLAYING FIELDS: New Rulz for Films, Art and Performance


I’ve been carrying this platform paper around with me for a couple of months. It’s only a slim book, so it hasn’t been a great burden. There’s just alot for me to think about… and that’s why I love it.

There’s a row of platform papers in the bookcase in my office. They stand with black or brightly coloured spines in rainbows on my shelf. Regardless of the date on the cover, they are a timeless contribution in my thinking about art, practice and culture. At times I have felt challenged, or confronted by the papers- but mainly engaged and stimulated and I always look forward to seeing what comes next. On this occasion, a paper on Digital storytelling by Dr Shilo McLean. I first met Shilo when I was working at the then NSW Film and Television Office (now Screen NSW – a telling transformation as the industry shifts from “film” to Screen, don’t you think?). I had always considered Shilo’s interests in digital media/effects and my own practice in theatre was utterly opposed. In fact, I found myself cringing, repelled by the idea that the theatre would be usurped by cyborg avatars- Amazonian women and rippling men whose flesh-selves were pale, anti-social, nerds hunched over a mouse or control pad, pecking away at a keyboard as blue light cast shadows of flickering action over a cluttered bedroom. My fear that reality would become substituted for fantasy. That the digital would ultimately be more satisfying to the general public than a live event- lingered as a fear all the time. My life’s passion and work in the theatre trampled by a storm trooping digital boot attached to the impossible thigh of a woman I could never hope to look like. The fear- huge. And upon reading Shilo’s paper- ridiculous. Read more

The Schelling Point | Chester Productions & Tamarama Rock Surfers


The Old Fitzroy Hotel theatre (aka The Fitz) is a much loved Sydney Independent Theatre. Full of its own charms and challenges as a venue- but one of the true champions of new Australian work. Programmed by Leland Keane and with dedicated team of practitioners (Lucinda Gleeson and Phil Spencer- this is a nod in your direction) running the company. There is something grungy, urgent and fun about heading to the theatre… and this year, I think I have attended this theatre more than any other. Primarily because I am keen to support writers- and it is a great space for practitioners to come together and forge new work in front of an audience. There have been excellent Fringe- transplants this year: namely The Chronic Ills of Robert Zimmerman aka etc and Death In Bowengabbie by Caleb Lewis… and a couple of more wild and experimental shows (you know the ones I am talking about). Anyway- it’s a great venue and I am a fan. Read more

Woyzeck| B-Sharp and Arts Radar


Woyzeck by Georg Buchner is one of the best loved German tragedy of the dramatic canon. In particular it is a favourite amongst directors, perhaps because of it’s inherent “tragic story” as a text- it allows itself to be a vehicle for directors keen for new interpretations. Woyzeck was written by Buchner when he was only 23 years old and when he died that year, he left behind an unfinished draft. The script was later adopted by Karl Franzos and finished. Because of this combined authorship- or perhaps the origins of the story as a creative dramatisation inspired by actual events- it seems that directors most keen to make their mark, favour the text as a vehicle for their vision. Read more

Damage a Collection of plays by John Romeril


A fading August afternoon. Wednesday. I’m in my coat. It’s cold. Hands in gloves. Waiting. Standing in the terrace of Nimrod Street.

It’s been a big day. meeting with directors, potential directors, reading scripts submitted by aspiring playwrights, thinking about the Griffin Award.
I had just finished talking to an emerging writer about the director who is interested in working with her on her script, when I arrived for a coffee at the Tropicana. I ring another playwright. She’s lovely and I tell her I love her script. I’ve been reading for three weeks solid. I have started to get emails from playwrights assuming bad news- I delay them with a kind “not yet”. There have been lists of to-do’s. I’ve been spending all my time thinking about playwrights, producing playwrights, directing, dramaturgy. These thoughts swarm. I am simultaneously inspired and honoured by the hugeness of what I don’t know- what I haven’t seen- what I haven’t read of Australian playwriting. And Australia is only two hundred years or so old- at times like these I’m glad I am not Greek. Three thousand years of catching up of playwriting- sheesh! Read more

Why would I be anywhere else? or The Griffin Award 2010


Unlike the recent debacle with the NSW Premier’s Literary award, there was absolutely no problem for a shortlist to be generated by The Griffin Theatre Company.

A beautiful list of writers and some fascinating plays- a grand mix of established and developing writers- an exquisite cross section:

Elise Hearst The Sea Project
Nathaniel Moncrieff Sleepyhead
Caleb Lewis Clinchfield
Lally Katz Return To Earth
Aiden Fennessy Brutopia
Ross Mueller A Beautiful Gesture
Vanessa Bates Porn Cake
Kit Brookman Close
Tom Holloway Faces Look Ugly
Reg Cribb Damned
Alana Valentine The Sugar House
Raimondo Cortese The Dream Life of Butterflies Read more

Alaska | ATYP Under the Wharf & Raw Hide


I braced myself for the blinding white north- snow and fur trimmed hoodies. Actors huffing into their hands and rubbing them to keep them warm… Something overly patriotic from the US perhaps?


Instead, the debut play from a young writer DC Moore whose first production stood on it’s feet Upstairs at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2007. On the opposite side of the world, three years later, ATYP’s Under the Wharf season in conjunction with Raw Hide, houses an intelligent and taut production, crafted by the eye and ear of director Janice Muller. Read more

The Possibilities | Sidetrack Theatre


Fresh out of Drama school, fresh in Sydney. Bright eyed and bushy tailed- four directors (Fiona Hallenan-Barker, Justine Campbell, Marcel Dorney and Travis Green) embark on a Directing Collaborative, pool resources and vision for the challenge of producing Howard Barker’s The Possibilities at the freshly revived Sidetrack Theatre. Read more

Small Seasons of Big Ideas | New Directions: New Theatre & Late Shows: The Old Fitzroy Hotel


Beyond Fringe and short play festivals, there are precious little opportunities for directors to practice their craft on a regular basis. Actors can learn new audition pieces, writers can set themselves exercises, but a director’s work only comes into effect when in a room with actors… and sometimes without an end point, without the pressure of an audience to view the work, director’s can be stuck in endless cycles of workshopping… there is something about the promise of an audience that sharpens a directors focus.

It is this reason which I applaud short seasons of full length plays… Read more

Bronte | atyp Under the Wharf & Illyria Productions


Less than 200 years ago, the Bronte sisters were published under names that were not their own. Charlotte was known as Currer, Emily as Ellis and Ann was known as Acton. For women writers, to be published under a male pseudonym, was fairly common- in fact a letter sent to Charlotte from Robert Southey suggested that “… the daydreams in which you indulge are likely to produce a distempered state of mind … Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life and ought not to be. The more she is engaged in her proper duties the less time she will have for it, even as a recreation.” In the face of this- the three sisters continued to write. Read more

Dirty Butterfly | Flour Sugar Tea, Arts Radar, B-Sharp


Debbie Tucker Green’s Dirty Butterfly is no easy night in the theatre. But then again, not all theatre is written to be easy. At the heart of so many stories are cautionary tales- unimaginable feats of bravery (or stupidity)- often parables wherein instinct (lust, desire) overwhelms logic and duty to disasterous ends. Launguage – sharp. Direct. Poetic. A rhythm that hypnotises through repetition- like a needle stuck skipping over the same black grooves in the vinyl. It feels scratched. The language- the delivery. Is Scratched. Scratchy. Sentences are clipped- but not neatly. Like a pen franticly scratching it’s ink-blood on the back of an opened envelope. It sounds like. Like? It sounds like. The play sounds like rapid fire gunshots. Read more

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Augusta Supple

Sydney-based theatre director, producer and writer. This site is about my long, deep, bright-eyed, ever-hopeful, sometimes difficult, always invigorating, rambunctious, rebellious, dynamic and very personal relationship with Australian Arts and Culture... I reflect on shows, talks, essays, writing, artists that inspire me to say something, and you'll find out what I'm working on, who I'm working with and what inspires me.