UPDATE 29th July 2009
The Dentist’s Chair was our biggest show to date and as we reflected on another huge year, we made a commitment to replenish ourselves creatively before embarking on a new project. In late 2008, Justin attended a workshop with John Bolton (he’s the guy that got us hooked on mask in the first place) in the wilds of Canberra. Justin came back with the germ of an idea for a new show. A solo show, with Jacob, performed in people’s lounges. It was a longing to get back to that intimate connection with the audience; the kind of intimacy that creates an imaginative space for people to enter into. It also seemed an ideal response to the hardening economic times: if people are going to stop going to the theatre, we’ll bring it to them.
2009, then, has been a year of renewal. We’ve concentrated on breathing rather than gasping. The benefits have been extraordinary. We took a fresh look at the film adaptation of Krishnan’s Dairy we’ve been working on and did a complete rewrite and suddenly it’s starting to breath too.
We’re working on a collaboration with Capital E: The National Children’s theatre on a new theatre show aimed at 3-6 year olds. We’ll create it, Capital E will produce it. We’ll share the load and, hopefully, breathe easier as a result. Of course, the idea of holding the attention of that age group tends to take one's breath away.
May 2009 saw the return of Indian Ink to the Festival Centre in Adelaide, this time with The Candlestickmaker. Critics and audiences loved the show but beyond that, it’s great to continue having a presence in these Australian cities and continue to build relationships with the venues.
June 2009 saw us heading off to even warmer climes. Justin followed some leads in Singapore in terms of potential future collaborators and made some useful contacts.
We then embarked on the highlight of the year. With the aid of Creative New Zealand and Asia New Zealand we spent two weeks exploring the use of mask in Bali. We took part in intensive mask dance classes. 2 hours a day of having our knees splayed open and fingers bent back. Sweat dripping off us – the temperature was in the late 20s. Slapped when we got things wrong, mocked by the rest of the household who gathered to watch - we loved it. We saw mask performance, we observed traditional mask carvers, attended gamelan concerts and met a fantastic exponent and innovator of shadow puppetry. Bali is truly a magical place. Their theatre is immersed in a rich cultural and spiritual context. We hope some of that magic will rub off on the work to come. To that end, we’ve had six new wooden masks made by traditional carvers over there - a valuable addition to our bag of tricks.
The learning continued almost immediately after our return. A workshop in Wellington on Vaudeville run by John Bolton was another opportunity for Justin and Jacob to fill up. It was exhilarating to be thrown into the insanity and chaos of that world of crazy entertainment and such a pleasure to be taught by a master.
So, with something in the tank, we are proceeding in earnest on our new solo show. The working title is Punchkin. We have a story and the characters are taking shape. Keep an eye on the website for developments, In the meantime, clear out some space in your lounge.
Krishnan’s Dairy celebrates its 12th extraordinary year of live with a brief season at the Going West Festival, August 26-29th, Glen Eden Playhouse, Waitakere City. Tickets through www.ticketmaster.co.nz
When the curtain comes down in Waitakere we put everything in a box and send it to Phoenix, Arizona. We’re doing a 15 minute excerpt of Krishnan’s Dairy for the Western Arts Alliance. WAA is an affiliation of venues on the West Coast of America that annually host this prestigious arts market. We were honoured to be invited and hope it’s an opportunity to set up our corner shop in that corner of the world.