Haiku #352 (City Stroll)

He openly sneezed

And I felt the spray on my 

Legs. Halcyon days.

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Project Five, Volume Eight

 

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Image source: Darling Quarter.com

As if it held the heartbeat of the city, Darling Harbour pulses with life. The night shimmers over the water in the warm spring breeze, and the Village Green is abuzz with festivities. Project Five (Volume Eight) brings to us it’s month-long celebration of community and the arts. This annual exhibition runs through October, showcasing talent from aMBUSH Gallery.

 

Project Five is Australia’s longest running street-art project and has raised over $100 000 dollars for Australian not-for-profit organisations.

 

The exhibition is open to all in Sydney, and is expected to draw big crowds, as the exhibition boils down to an auction at the end of the month, which raises money for charity. This year’s nominated charity is the Monkey Baa Theatre Company in the Darling Quarter, a fantastic cause that shines a spotlight on creative endeavours in drama and musical theatre for young people.

 

This is such a vibrant celebration of the arts, with a charity cause that warms the heart. What I admire most is that the exhibition is interactive too, engaging the community by holding art workshops for kids, and by live-painting demonstrations of some of the artworks that will be displayed for auction. Watching the artists paint life-sized images of the surreal, the imaginary and the abstract was just a real treat. And the buzz around the event felt like an inspiring environment in which to let creative juices flow.

 

Contemporary street artists Georgia Hill, Brett Chan, Kaff-eine and Shida painted their respective artworks to the beats dropped by a live DJ, and the crowd had a real energy about it. One of the paintings on the opening night was covered in children adding to the painting and making it theirs. I think this is a great initiative. The exhibition offers free kids workshops that run throughout the school holidays and for the rest of the month. I’d be interested to head down to the auction at the end and see what other creative touches have been added to the exhibtion.
What a truly wonderful celebration of the arts! For more information on registering for workshops, visit Project Five’s website.

The Frogs

UTS Backstage presents the Australian premiere of ‘The Frogs’, a musical adapted by Steven Sondheim and Burt Shevelove, based on the play be Aristophanes. The musical follows Dionysus on his way into Hades to bring his literary idol, George Bernard Shaw, back from the dead. Backstage’s performance of this musical had great production value and was presented as a cohesive team effort. As a comedy, this play had both a light and dark side. The dynamic cast was entertaining in their quick repartee and comic timing. Their slapstick humour helped create a vibrant atmosphere and as a Sondheim the dialogue was heavy with wit and the lyrics were pregnant with meaning.

The second half of the show saw the musical come to a crescendo in a heated debate between George Bernard Shaw and Shakespeare, with the God of Drama and Wine, Dionysus, moderating. For me, the building of tension, the sharp dialogue and the commitment of the lead cast made this scene the highlight of the performance. The energetic cast gave relevance to Aristophanes’ classic Greek play, creating a social commentary that criticises modern apathy and slacktivism.

Commendations to the set design (set designer, Emily Burke), for being innovative with their use of space of the Monkey Baa, Darling Harbour. As an epic Greek quest, there were many costume and set changes that were central to the plot, and these were achieved by sourcing props, for example Charon’s boat (through the Styx) from Opera Australia. Their attention to detail added to the atmosphere as well, for instance the shining of a light through a clear bucket of water created a more realistic sense of travelling down the river to Hades.

Further credits go to Chris McKay as this was his first musical as Director, and his team. The dance numbers and sneaky acrobatic sequences, choreographed by Emily Newberry, were well placed and provided a visual break from the gag-laden dialogue. As with any live performance, there can be technical issues on the night in terms of audio balancing. However, I was impressed by the cast’s excellent resilience as they acted professionally and without distraction. Commendations to the actors for performing with integrity and dignity- chorus and leads respectively.

Backstage’s production of ‘The Frogs’ is an entertaining night out and a great achievement, really capturing the satirical nature of Sondheim’s adaptation of a Greek classic.

For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/UTSBackstage

Photographer: Stephen Godfrey
Photographer: Stephen Godfrey