Interview, Summer Nights

Sum Up Summer Nights | Kuda Ndlovu | An Evening of African Poetry | SUMMER NIGHTS 2023

Kuda Ndlovu is one of the co-presenters of An Evening of African Poetry at The Blue Room this Summer Nights 2023. We caught up ahead of the show to find out what it’s all about.

What is your show about?

An Evening of African Poetry and Storytelling (EAPS) is a collection of stories carefully woven to capture the modern-day migrant experience. Sizzling rap, beautiful melodies, and spoken word performances, accompanied by a live band, take you on an endless journey that engulfs 5 oblivious homes. The destination? A sense of belonging.

Favourite part of the show, no spoilers!

We’re honestly most excited to introduce the live experience of the show. This will include a special element that wasn’t possible during the digital presentation of the first-ever iteration of EAPS. Summer Nights will be the first time we get to share the experience with our audience and we can’t wait for the audience to join in for the crowd-friendly portion of the show. Yes. A jam session. The jam session is our favourite part.

How important is the Summer Nights program to the Perth theatre scene?

Hugely important. The journey of independent creators and performers is quite a harrowing experience as it is, even worse when you have limited outlets willing to let you showcase your talents. Speaking from the independent artist experience, as well as the CaLD community experience, we are simply finding our feet in the space. It’s hard to find opportunities to develop as artists while gaining industry insight and soft skills along the way. What The Blue Room Theatre has achieved with the Summer Nights program is making that impossible burden, a reality. They’ve intentionally sought out independent and emerging artists and provided a platform for them to shine. More importantly, what the general public doesn’t see in the background is the amazing support The Blue Room Theatre provides, elevating our industry preparation in the process. We can’t thank them enough for the opportunity.

What inspired you to create this work?

A very real lived and shared experience. The Outsiders was formed as a result of a university assignment callout gone horribly right. Outsiders co-founder Mohammed ‘Ayo Busari’ put a callout for a university assignment titled ‘Afro Lookbook’, meeting fellow Outsiders co-founders Lisa Watson and ‘Kuda Mic’ Ndlovu, as well as TAB Family lead vocalist Ayuba SOQS whom he had briefly met on a few different occasions while at university in the UK. Since that day, the group has never looked back. In getting to know each other during the process of developing and curating numerous shows, exhibitions and events, there was a growing understanding of our shared experience. We all originated from different parts of Africa, yet adopted temporary homes, before finally landing here, in Boorloo (Perth, Western Australia) where we undoubtedly met each other for a purpose. We are unique because of our experiences, yet we share an inexplicable connection through them. Having experienced the joy of building up a community of BIPOC creatives through our various projects, we felt it was only right to present a theme that we believe is fundamental to the strengthening of bonds in the African diaspora community. It starts with an introspective look into what ‘home’ means and an acceptance of the individual’s role in building their new village.

Describe your show in 3 words:

Captivating. Stirring. Togetherness.

You can catch the energetic evening of African poetry at The Blue Room Theatre until 4th February 2023. TICKETS

Keep up with The Fourth Wall on Facebook and @fourth_wall_media on Instagram to see what we’re up to in 2023.

The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.

on now, Review, Summer Nights

SUMMER NIGHTS 2023 | 600 Seconds | HIIT | 4 Stars

Review | Laura Money

HIIT or High Intensity Interval Theatre is a fully immersive night of fast-paced theatre that will keep you in the edge of your seat. Each artist had 10 minutes to present their story – just 600 seconds. The result? Five emotionally distilled works that give us a glimpse into the lives of the writers.

There’s Hero by Simeon Neo which sees Will (David Vickman) unable to leave his parent’s home after 10 years of video gaming. Vickman puts the right amount of heart into the role, even if he’s only onstage for a small amount of time. Bolstered by Ramiah Alcantara who plays one of his game characters turned imaginary friend he attempts to get out of his funk only to be brought down again. My only criticism is that female characters only exist to serve Will – Alcantara is literally his cheerleader and it is the ex-girlfriend’s second rejection that spirals him down again. Will was literally only going to go out because he felt entitled to her – when she was no longer available he was no longer interested.

Hadal Zone by Sophie Minissale is a darkly hilarious monologue performed by Daniela Da Costa about the dangers of the unknown parts of the ocean. It’s funny and thought-provoking and played with just the right amount of paranoia to stop it sounding like a presentation. Minissale’s writing is strong, and you can see where her mind wanders, only to come crashing back to shore like a wave. Next is CRUSH by Benjamin Quirk – a charming one man piece about crushing really hard on a guy only to find out he’s straight. Quirk’s exuberance is infectious, he brings a fun camp energy to the piece that becomes melodramatic – we literally see Quirk’s emotions on show.

(the entire happy birthday song at half speed) is written and performed by Laura Liu and is the story of her grandparents meeting. Framed around looking at old pictures, Liu’s style is fresh and ancient at once. Her constant refrain – that a character would die just however many weeks/months later hearkens to the best narrators. It has a similar tone to MAUS – warts and all – and is not to be missed. Finally there is Call Me Mother by Scarlet Rose. It’s a funny yet heartbreaking exploration of birth trauma and identity. The stage is filled with washing and the detritus of life with a baby that has become integrated into the story – where does Scarlet’s identity split from that of her baby? Is it her queerness? It can’t be. Is it how her body works? Is it all of those things? You’ll have to see it to find out.

You can catch HIIT at The Blue Room Theatre as part of Summer Nights until 28th January 2023. TICKETS

Keep up with The Fourth Wall on Facebook and @fourth_wall_media on Instagram to see what we’re up to in 2023.

The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.

Interview, on now, Summer Nights

Sum Up Summer Nights | 600 Seconds crew | SUMMER NIGHTS 2023

600 Seconds is a hot new program playing at The Blue Room Theatre as part of Summer Nights 2023. We caught up with the creative folks running the program to find out what it’s all about.

What is 600 SECONDS?

600 SECONDS are short works programs that run throughout The Blue Room Theatre’s Summer Nights. These programs are a training ground for performance that puts makers through their paces to create and present a 10-minute short work.

There’ll be five shorts in each 600 SECONDS program, and there’s three programs to choose from: storytelling and theatre in HIIT (High Intensity Interval Theatre), dance with MOVEMOVEMOVE, and experimental late-night spots in AFTER HOURS. Each week of Summer Nights will have a new program.

Favourite part of the show, no spoilers!

The variety! A 600 SECONDS program is like seeing five shows in one. Plus, each program is going to be so unique as they span different artforms and practices. I’m also excited to see what our program curators and mentors bring to the experience – poet & theatre maker Andrew Sutherland (HIIT), dancer Janine Oxenham (MOVEMOVEMOVE), and performance artist legend Ash Baroque (AFTER HOURS). They not only curated the line-ups but have been working closely with our 600 SECONDS artists to turn their ideas into a 10-minute performance piece.

How important is the Summer Nights program to the Perth theatre scene?

Perth comes alive during the summer festival season and it’s a good time for a little spontaneity. For audiences, Summer Nights and particularly 600 SECONDS is a welcoming and warm way to experience live performance and get to know The Blue Room Theatre. For artists, being in a festival line-up means they can develop new audiences, reveal something new to their existing following, and connect with other artists. 

What inspired this program?

We wanted to offer a low-stakes platform for veterans of our stages to try a whacky new idea and for fresh faces who want a chance to shine. Our program artists have the opportunity to test out the nugget of an idea, work with a brilliant mentor, turn their idea into a 10-minute performance piece, be part of a five-show line-up, and from there … who knows! We produce and tech 600 SECONDS in-house, which means the artists can focus on being creative – not admin. 600 SECONDS also exists for audiences who can’t decide what to see during the busy summer festival season. This sort of tasting plate of performance is appealing and adds a lot of energy to Summer Nights.

Describe your show in 3 words:

Fresh, Energetic, Assortment

You can catch all of the 600 SECONDS shows throughout Summer Nights finishing on 11th February 2023. TICKETS

Keep up with The Fourth Wall on Facebook and @fourth_wall_media on Instagram to see what we’re up to in 2023.

The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.

Review

REVIEW | You’re So Brave | Health and political upheaval explored

Review | Laura Money

You’re So Brave is writer/performer Georgi Ivers‘ memoir performance piece reflecting on her time as a Youth Ambassador to Hong Kong and how chronic pain and disease has affected her homecoming. Recounting her experiences from diagnosis to travel, and finding her place in the world, Ivers takes us on a nonlinear journey through her most intimate feelings. Accompanied by an intricate and clever set designed by Adelaide Harney, Ivers bends and shifts her memories into funny anecdotes and heartbreaking vignettes that reflect the huge feelings circulating a semi-broken body.

Bamboo themes permeate this work – from the silk and bamboo structure housing projections and providing a little intimacy for Georgi, (she reveals so much of herself it feels too formal to refer to her by surname) to the condition she suffers – bamboo spine. Georgi’s gentle nod to the condition that is always present through clever reminders is subtly and intelligently achieved. Vacillating between memory and motion, Georgi traces her personal history of pain and intertwines it with the political upheaval of her contemporaries in Hong Kong. As she struggled with her body attacking her, her counterparts struggled against authoritarian bodies. For Georgi, finding her feet meant finding the pole – enrolling in pole dancing classes, Georgi transcends the pain and moves elegantly and freely. Gifting the audience with a lesson in pole, Georgi’s life experiences culminate in the getting of wisdom – in acceptance and love of one’s flaws. She is every bit the fighter, which ironically makes her so brave.

Georgi Ivers gives a brave performance – she displays her bravery by exposing herself and baring her soul. It’s a delightful show that proves age is nothing compared to experience.

You’re So Brave is on at The Blue Room Theatre until 29th October 2022. TICKETS

The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.

Keep up with The Fourth Wall on Facebook and @fourth_wall_media on Instagram to see what we’re up to in 2022.

Review

REVIEW | Homeward Bound | Exploring inner space and isolation

Review | Laura Money

Have you ever looked at migratory birds and wondered how they know how to do it – like really know how to fly halfway across the world and then get back home to the exact same spot? The notion of homing and drifting is explored alongside isolation and humanity in Isaac Diamond‘s Homeward Bound. Diamond takes his fascination for ‘the incredible intelligence of animals and the awesome absurdity of people’ and creates a show where these elements merge and assist each other in a symbiosis of thoughts. Deeply philosophical, at once human and primal, Homeward Bound is a moving work that examines the importance of community in human identity.

Featuring a strikingly simple set designed by James McMillan in collaboration with lighting designer Rhiannon Petersen, The Blue Room Theatre‘s Main Space is transformed into a space ship. Strips of light form a hull as they are activated representing energy surges and create a visual frame for the action. Petersen’s lighting works in concert with a pared back, futuristic soundscape by composer and sound designer Rachael Dease. When Diamond wakes up from deep sleep alone and must navigate his newfound isolation with very little hope of ever seeing Earth again, the lights pulse and throb around him. As he enters strange dream-like hallucinations where he reimagines his past a surreal soundtrack and weak lighting contribute to this disturbia. But Diamond isn’t really alone. Kylie Bywaters plays the personification of the ship’s computer and does so with an infectious cheerfulness and humanity not usually present in AI.

Diamond’s unravelling is perfection. He vacillates between upbeat and energetic to morose and paranoid. Each time he lapses into a past memory, it behaves like a lucid dream. Twisting and turning in slow motion, Diamond embodies the very birds he needs to channel in order to discover the secret to going home. These moments display his mental breakdown but also his only hope of rescue – morphing and changing in a body horror-stricken dance symbolising the next stage of human evolution. Diamond’s script proves that all human ingenuity has its roots in nature. We learn from animals and each time we use a technology derived from them (velcro for example) we strengthen the bond between us and the rest of the animal kingdom. In this case, the technology that allows for hibernation makes us closer to animals, and the computer technology that Bywaters represents pulls her closer to Diamond. Bywaters plays it factual and robotic, yet there is a warmth and humanity that shines through. Diamond’s Perry receives more kindness and love from her than his dream mother – which is a bold statement on what humans need for comfort.

Homeward Bound is a down to earth play about humanity and community. It may feel like this story is detached but dig a little deeper at its philosophies of interconnectedness and identity. With a strong team of brilliant theatre-makers behind it, this show hits home.

Homeward Bound is playing at The Blue Room Theatre until 22nd October 2022. TICKETS

The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.

Keep up with The Fourth Wall on Facebook and @fourth_wall_media on Instagram to see what we’re up to in 2022.