I’m back in Melbourne and planning for “I could be you”" my next show to premier at Melbourne Fringe Festival starting 23rd September 2010. Below is the promotional blurb:
SHIREEN an Indian international student ends up in Maribrynong detention centre. Trapped with ANIA and CON her only visitor is HUONG her Vietnamese-Australian lawyer. It is enough to drive her mad…or is she? Based on true stories and the history of the Maribrynong Detention site, I COULD BE YOU will make you think twice about immigration in Australia.
Starring Shalini Akhil, Susan Doel , Shane Lee, and Diana Nguyen
Dramaturg: Melanie Beddie Sound design: Simon Charles
Production: Amber Hart and Canada White Director: Hoa Pham
Season: Thu 23rd – Sat 25th Sept at 8.30pm, Tue 5th – Sat 9th Oct at 7.00pm
Price: $25 Full / $20 Conc. / $15 Groups
Please note: Friday 24th September’s performance is a fundraiser for The Greens Victoria, tix will be $30/$25 with $5 from each ticket sale will go to the Greens. Tuesday 5th October tix will be $20 with $5 per ticket will go to the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre, the largest asylum seeker aid, health and advocacy centre in Australia.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
Hope to see some of you there!
Tickets go on sale on September 1 from Theatreworks and Melbourne Fringe Festival
I met with my agent yesterday in London and had dinner with him and his wife the Chinese writer Xinran. We had some very interesting discussions about the world literary scenes in different countries, and he made some observations about my current fiction writing and how to make it more palatable to the Western publishing market. I am still digesting this- so will write more about it when I’ve decided how to use his feedback in my work. Xinran and I had a fascinating conversation about writing from an Asian perspective to a Western audience and she asked me what I found most challenging about doing this. I said at the time that it was challenging for me to have to explain certain concepts and deeper meanings in my work- but I think having to articulate myself so often makes me reflect on what I’m doing and gain more insight into my process and bicultural background.
Being in London has given me the opportunity to see a lot of theatre and art which has really fed my muse. I have found myself responding the most to Surrealism and Impressionism in the exhibitions I have seen here. It has engaged my attention and I’ve realised that the aesthetics i want to achieve in my work are twofold- to capture the wonder of the world (mindfulness) and also to depict madness with its vividness and shock. I want my words to bleed off the page- and I also want to be able to conjure up the magic of it too. In my fiction at the moment I’m trying to depict mindfulness- and with the help of Simon Charles my artistic collaborator on “I could be you” the play we will be depicting madness through text, music and live feed video multimedia.
In other news as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival I will be mentored by a theatre director to realise our vision for the play.
I also will be giving a talk at Melbourne Girls Grammar on the 25th August about “Culture and Identity” and how it affects me as an artist and its influences on my work. I will put the speech on this blog once I’ve written it.
the greens have just released a poster “Playing politics with people’s lives is ugly” which stands up for refugee rights for the Melbourne campaign. They are the only party to stand up for asylum seekers which is why I am a member of the greens for the last six years. Even if you are not in a marginal seat voting green for the federal election will help the greens get the balance of power and make the government more accountable.
Just had my portrait painted by Elizabeth Greisman – a Canadian artist. There is a lovely bunch of women artists here for my last week at Tyrone Guthrie who have great energy around them. They include Juliette Bressan, a YA writer and doctor, and Michelle Jackson her collaborator on a book “What women know”which will be published by Hachette Ireland in September 2010. and Jacinta O’Reilly who does abstract landscapes. Unfortunately I cannot take pictures of their art but hopefully will get their websites when I leave on Friday.
“I could be you” the play is unfortunately becoming more topical. I cannot believe a woman PM Julia Gillard would pander to xenophobia by building a detention centre in East Timor. I’m disappointed, angry and depressed about this.
I have been meditating with Janet Pierce and this has restored my peace. Annagmarkerrig itself with the lake is a nurturing place for any artist to visit.
Here is a poem for my last week- which is on display in an open studio at Tyrone Guthrie Centre.
- for the women I met here
Women’s spirit infuses bright colours
Invoking landscape, trees and grasses
From home and other lands
Buoys up the emptiness
Sharing souls with wine
Flowering the divine
Glowing fertility and rain
Brings forth life and renews
I capture in the palms of my hands
My heart, and hope to bring myself home again.
I’ve settled back in at tyrone guthrie after going to Donegal to see Moya Brennan (Clannad) and friends sing at Leo’s Tavern. The atmosphere is very convivial here there is a mix of writers, visual artists, musicians and the occassional film maker passing through. Having been here for three weeks with a week to go I have met dozens of people- and I hope to remain in contact with a few of them. It is interesting to hear about irish literary culture and the problems of publishing here- which are similar to the constraints in Australia (small market- unimaginative publishers etc). I have been to a gallery opening of janet pierce who is an Irish artist who spends a lot of time in India, and we have evening soirees where people share their work- poetry, prose and the singing of songs. I have met too many artists to mention, but have samples of poetry to take home along with good memories. I definitely recommend my fellow Australian artists to apply to the Australia Council to come here.
An article on mental health by me was published in the Age yesterday.
And there is a short video showing highlights from Silence from ABC Radio Vietnam.