In Conversation With: New Wave Audio Theatre

Tulpa Magazine  recently sat down with the cast and crew of the New Wave Audio Theatre to discuss their forthcoming full-cast audio plays. This new venture is headlined by a talented group of young creatives seeking to bring the products of the arts community to more people and show the works of unheralded artists. We were joined by writers Taeghan Buggy and Alys Messenger, actors Cat Galligani and David Hampton, director Connor Reidy, and project manager Anita Sanders.

What the New Wave Audio Theatre team have produced is characterised by their collaborative nature. The impression one has when sitting down with this team is one of cohesion and mutual pride in their work.

new wave

Pictured (Left to right): Taeghan Buggy, Alys Messenger, Cat Galligani, David Hampton, Connor Reidy, and Anita Sanders.

The first thing we asked them is why they chose podcasts as their medium of choice. Anita explained that the dual benefits inherent to this format are the cost-effective nature of production and the ability for a podcast to transcend your surroundings. With the ability to put in your headphones and listen wherever you might be, the convenience of the format is greater than most. Anita also offered her view on the effect audio has on an actor’s performance as the actor cannot use gestures or hide behind costumes – they must ensure all their effort is put towards the use of their voice.

Actor David Hampton explained that learning to focus his performance through his voice, when he is used to working with posture, positioning, costume, and action, was an interesting experience. He recalls director Connor Reidy approaching him at an early recording to tell him ‘I can see you acting it but I can’t hear you acting it’. He had to shift his mindset from how he was previously taught to act.

The accessibility of the format is an important part of New Wave. It has none of the demands or barriers of more traditional theatre such as cost and set times. With a podcast, the theatre comes to you. It enables the listener to access emerging artists’ work without the investment of an entire evening. This not only benefits the artists involved but also the viewer. New Wave brings theatre to all levels of society, including those who have neither time nor money to spare on traditional theatre.

Director Connor Reidy  found working with writers and actors a rewarding experience, enabling him to see what each party sought to achieve. It was unlike anything Connor had done before.

The larger number of people in the workshop environment of the scripting process made for more variety in ideas and had plans go in unexpected directions, writer Taeghan Buggy said. Three or four people would be in a room together working from the initial ideas and themes, teasing out a concept from these beginnings. Alys Messenger recalls that on one occasion, the team created a mind map following the development of ideas, and eventually they ended up in a place they had never expected.

Anita was key in looking for the writers to bring in to the project. Her priorities were in finding writers with a passion for the performing arts as this project was not just about the writing but also the performance itself. Anita chose Taeghan for her interest in poetry, which she felt would translate well to audio plays. Connor recalls the poetic nature of the opening of one play (episode three) and how effective this was.

Connor Reidy was largely responsible for finding actors, knowing more actors and having the more available networks, being in the final degree of a performing arts degree. Actor Cat Galligani explains that she had worked on a project with Connor at the beginning of the year and that he was able to bring three or four actors over from that project.

According to Connor, what they wanted to achieve in pursuing this project was showcasing artists’ voices. Adding that in Adelaide, we are lucky to have quite a large network of creative people but unfortunately there are limited opportunities. This project gives listeners the chance to sample the talent of the Adelaide arts community and reach out and support them. Connor said that while the arts are heavily supported during February and March, it filters off through the rest of the year. New Wave Audio Theatre coming at the end of the year gives them a good opportunity to connect with audiences before they are flooded with mad March.

Taeghan said that from her perspective as a writer, her goals focused more on capturing the attention of the audience by providing something that drew them in and made them want to keep listening.

Writer Alys Messenger, who tends to focus on directing, refocused on writing for this project. With a background in drama, she offers a different perspective again. For her, the goal was to look into the dynamics of relationships, because that’s where she feels a lot of drama lies, in that point of butting heads between two people. Though, she added, not necessarily people, as you’ll find out in one of them.

It’s surely the business of a writer to pique the curiosity of their audience, after all.

From an actor’s perspective, Cat Galligani said that she hopes the plays offer an escape. Whether that be from something going on in the listener’s life, or simply boredom, that wherever they should be, they hear someone else’s problems, someone else’s dynamic, and they get a new experience.

Looking back at their experiences, all expressed having enjoyed their time. Connor said that working in a form that was solely voice was interesting and enabled the development of new skills. Cat’s experiences seem to be similar as she explained she found the focus on voice, and the development of an entire character using just voice, to be a good experience, enabling her to try things she had not previously attempted, such as new accents.

Taeghan found the process very free. The method of telling the story (all audio, a set time) was constrained but within that, there was great freedom in what they could tell. Taeghan said Anita told them she felt their work felt fresh. It is something of a departure from larger theatre where they choose the plays they know to be a success and thus restrict themselves from fresher and younger voices. Getting a younger voice out there in a medium accessible for younger people is a goal one feels is held with universal importance by the New Wave team.

For Alys, the workshop environment and the nature of generating ideas within that was a worthy experience. Harking back to Connor’s comment of limited opportunities, Alys said she feels that it is often necessary to create opportunities, just as they have done with New Wave.

David described the New Wave experience as being akin to a ‘creative pallet-cleanser’ – working with a group almost entirely new to him, he felt he had to rethink approaches to character.

For Cat the scripts she worked on with New Wave were some of the easiest scripts she has performed because of how well they were written. One such script, Hurt Money, by Alys Messenger was one of the first scripts she had picked up and felt certain what her character was about, her background and motivation.

Anita stressed the importance of providing channels of distribution for artists as not enough exist to take the amount of art produced in Adelaide. That by setting about creating and distributing art, they were able to show the ‘amazing talent’ already present in Adelaide that just needed to be seen. They sought to create a positive environment of growth that would enable artists to be acknowledged both in the industry and by the general public.

What of the future? The chorus of approval for more New Wave Audio Theatre is absolute. Everyone expressed a desire to do more should the opportunity arise.


Words by Liam McNally

Photography by Lisandra Linde

With thanks to Anita Sanders, Alys Messenger, Taeghan Buggy, David Hampton, and Cat Galligani.

New Wave Audio Theatre’s first episode is to be released on 30th November. Be sure to check back on Tulpa for the review on Wednesday.

Check New Wave Audio Theatre out at their site: https://newwaveaudiotheatre.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

CRUSH- Stories about love

Confession: I do not often read romance but when I do I usually enjoy it.

Crush is an anthology of romance stories which centres around the concept of the word ‘Crush’. The term itself has multiple definitions, these definitions are used to divide the book into four distinct sections:

  1. An intense infatuation
  2. To cease or crumple by pressure
  3. To hug or embrace tightly
  4. A crowd of people pressed together.

In each of these sections are stories which explore the ideas of each definition. In doing this, the reader can choose a story more suited to what they feel like reading at the time.

There is a stigma surrounding romance fiction, which claims it has little to no literary merit. It’s usually dismissed as ‘chick-lit’. The stories collected in Crush demonstrate a wide range of writing styles and genres blended with romance. There is fiction which is clearly for everyone, for the LGBTQ+ community, for people who like experimental writing, and for those who prefer the literary variety. There is a diversity to this anthology which brokers an appeal to a wide audience. Romance is a part of almost everyone’s lives to some degree or another. When it comes to real life we don’t dismiss it. You don’t have to be a certain age or gender to experience it, just as you don’t have to be a certain age or gender to enjoy romance fiction, and you certainly don’t have to be ashamed of showing your support for the local, emerging artists who have contributed to this book.

Crush brings together a variety of talented writers who are both local and international. Quite a few Flinders current and past students are also featured in the anthology. Recent Hons. Graduate Simone Corletto and PhD Candidate Jess M. Miller worked with Amy T. Matthews (chair of the 2016 ‘Ain’t Love Grand’ conference in Adelaide), and Midnight Sun’s Lynette Washington to compile and edit the book. With a wide range of both local and international contributors, Crush is a must read for anyone involved in the Adelaide writing community.

With stories that verge on traditional, literary, and experimental, Crush has something to appeal to everyone. Women loving women, women loving men, men loving women, and men loving men. Relationships beginning and relationships ending. Good dates and bad dates. A wide variety of experiences tied together by the central exploration of love.

I’m not going to try and pick a favourite story in the anthology because they are all fantastic in their own way. Full of passion and wit, they offer both warmth and scepticism where it’s needed most.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, love forms a big part of our lives. The writers of Crush have interrogated this in their stories. We see people just like you and me fumbling through life searching for the thing that will make them feel valid and loved.

This is a potentially perfect book for those of you looking to escape into the world of fiction without the hassle of committing to a full novel. While romance is not normally my cup of tea, Crush provides something for everyone so why pick up a local anthology and read the both online and from local retailers.

As a special treat, selected authors will be sharing their work at The Jade on Thursday 16th November. Come along to The Jade, 142-160 Flinders Street, for a chance to meet Michelle Fairbarn, J. R. Koop, Michelle Oglivy, and C.J. McLean, hear them read, and show your support for local writers.


Words by Kayla Gaskell

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Crush is available in stores now. At the special reading event at The Jade on the 16th of November copies of Crush will be available for the special price of $25. For more information check the Facebook page.

 

 

Literary Papercuts: Reflecting on the Australian Short Story Festival

Neil Gaiman once wrote that short stories are journeys you can make to the other side of the universe and still be back in time for tea. Short stories are bold. They are shameless. They deserve to be celebrated. And on November 3-5, at the University of South Australia, they were.

A collaboration between Margaret River Press and MidnightSun Publishing, the Australian Short Story Festival (ASSF) is an annual celebration of short story writing, of the brief but poignant, the tiny and the fierce. Debuting in Perth in 2015, it approached its second programme with the tagline ‘good things come in short packages’. This turned into a vast understatement.

After a day of workshops on Friday, the festival was officially opened with an earnest and hilarious address from Tony Birch, winner of the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award  for Indigenous Writing. The good humour continued to flow right across the weekend, in discussions of genre, comedy, love and absurdity. Even in panels dealing with trauma, medical ethics, closure, and dark speculative fiction, the passion writers held for the short form was clear, and their audiences absorbed it all. Questions were asked thoughtfully and intelligently and answered in kind. Fun was had. Coffee was inhaled. Words were shared and considered and loved.

Lucy Durneen was the festival’s international guest, reading from her highly acclaimed short story collection Wild Gestures. This book shared the pop-up Dymocks table with an impressive list of names—Roanna Gonsalves’ The Permanent Resident was available to buy, as was Melanie Cheng’s Australia Day, Sean Williams’ Have Sword, Will Travel, Tony Birch’s Common People, and Lisa L. Hannett’s Bluegrass Symphony, amongst so many others. These titles were snatched up with glee and sold out fast.

Perhaps the overarching optimism of the ASSF can best be described by how it looked to the future—how it welcomed as well as reflected. Both days ended with the launch of a new collection, the first being Lynette Washington’s short story cycle Plane Tree Drive, a portrait of suburban isolation which has already garnered accolades and will be featured in an upcoming Tulpa review.   

After an empowering closing address by Rebekah Clarkson, focusing on the legacy of Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery’ and the enduring attraction of short fiction, Australian literary darling Carmel Bird launched her eBook collection, The Dead Aviatrix. Reflecting on themes the festival had explored, Carmel noted that the word ‘subversion’ was a common thread, and without further ado announced that her launch would be a subversive one.

So we did what we’d expected not to do. We clung with sticky fingers to raffle tickets, and we won jelly, and when lyric sheets were passed around we didn’t think twice about belting out the Aeroplane Jelly theme in time with a live cello/trumpet duo.

And the whole time, all I could think was, what a great short story this would make.  

Because, at the end of the day, the Australian Short Story Festival—any festival, really—is designed to inspire. To provoke, to elicit, to prod everyone in the vicinity until someone picks up a pen and starts writing. I named this review ‘Literary Papercuts’ because I think that this is as good a metaphor as any—because the short story, after all, is characteristically small, humble, sometimes unnoticed. But it can hit infinitely more nerves across a shorter distance. And it can come from nowhere.

I walked away from the Australian Short Story Festival holding a notebook positively dripping with the ink of new ideas. These scribbles might become journeys to the other side of the universe. They might become bold or shameless. Subversive. They might become papercuts. Or they might stay scribbles.

But that potential—that glimmering maybe in something small—surely that is what short stories are all about.


Words by Jess M. Miller

The Death of Stalin

‘I know the drill. Smile, shake hands, and try not to call them cunts.’

The Death of Stalin is thoroughly stamped with the unique talent and style of Armando Ianucci, the creator of the UK’s The Thick of It, and subsequently the US’s Veep. The film is based upon a graphic novel but the final product feels unmistakably Ianucci’s.

The film follows the political manoeuvres of soviet leaders in the wake of, surprisingly enough, Stalin’s death. It features a sizeable host of respected actors from both Britain and the United States with not one of them bothering with even a motion in the direction of a Russian accent – some even seem to go quite the other way.

This cavalcade of stars is headed by sterling performances from Steve Buscemi as Nikita Khrushchev (‘I’m the peacemaker and I’ll fuck over anyone who gets in my way’), Jason Isaacs as Georgy Zhukov (‘I took Germany, I think I can take a flesh lump in a waistcoat’), and Jeffrey Tambor as Georgy Malenkov (‘I have no idea what is going on’).

It surely seems a tough ask to find humour in such a dark time in human history but the balance is found by never turning the humour on the suffering but simply on the perverse and absurd scramble for power. In this respect, the same style present in The Thick of It and Veep can be found. Also present, and surely a necessity of an Ianucci script is the liberal use of coarse language. Peter Capaldi (Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It) may not present to lend his masterful swearing to the film but the rest of the cast certainly picks up the slack.

If the film has an antagonist, it is surely Beria, who is played in suitably grotesque and monstrous fashion by Simon Russell Beale. The head of the NKVD, instrumental in Stalin’s lengthy death lists, sexual predator, and ‘sneaky little shit’, Beria is set aside from other characters for being several measures more assured in his manipulation of the political system and being more inclined to violence. While a few jokes do go Beria’s way, he is always suitably menacing and cunning.

The film acknowledges the broad strokes of history but plays fast and loose with the smaller details. It’s not an advisable choice for historical research as it is unlikely General Zhukov ever asked Malenkov if Coco Chanel had taken a shit on his head but on the other hand, I know of no historical document that can disprove that.

Ultimately, The Death of Stalin finds its best moments in the absurdity of political manoeuvring, the awkwardness of officialdom, and the stupidity of tradition. In these respects it has a very similar tone to The Thick of It and Veep and finds even in the most serious of situations, most people, like Comrade Malenkov, ‘have no idea what is going on.’


Words by Liam McNally.

Best of the Best: Modern Australian Short Stories

This powerful book encompassing 25 short stories written by the crème de la crème of Australian literary talent is worth a visit. The editor, Barry Oakley, was the literary editor of the Australian Newspaper between 1988 and 1997. Barry Oakley is a prolific Australian playwright, novelist and short story writer, and by-the-by was encouraged by the publishers to include his own futuristic dystopian peace at the tail end of this impressive body of writing.

 

Mr Oakley handpicked these 25 stories from a list of over 167 short stories he edited for Five Mile Press volumes. Most of these stories were written in the decade leading up to 2009, while his selection was based on the writers’ abilities to ‘replace our world with theirs’. Therefore, he avoids what Patrick White terms the ‘dreary, dun-coloured offspring of journalistic realism’ often encountered in shorter, year-specific collections. The result is a confluence of compelling dramas, magic realisms, and teased-out situations.

 

The Australian short story has long been linked to Australia’s isolated geography. This trend continues: coping with fears, grief and sudden change are certain features of this geography.

 

Mr Oakley has grouped the short stories under themes to assist the reader’s appreciation: Childhoods: a place where innocence is threatened; Fabulations: see myths and magic merge; Impositions: where difficulties are encountered; Letting Go: when strings are cut or should be; On the Margins: out of town; Desperations: when crimes are committed; Resolutions: in one’s family. Threads of racism, violence, multiculturalism, horror, and so forth, are equally stitched.

 

Matthew Condon’s The Sandfly Man is a story about the ghostly spirit of a caravan park that haunts a young boy: ‘If I closed my eyes I could see the Sandfly Man, coming for me through that swirling mist, moving slowly forward, his boots crunching on the dirt laneways.’ David Malouf’s Blacksoil Country examines a terrible chain reaction set off between two cultures: ‘The whole country had a new light over it. I had to look at it in a new way. What I saw in it now was hiding-places.’ Julie Gittus’s Driving the Inland Road shows relationships fraying on a bush-block in paradise: ‘At Gunnedah my headlights shine on a billboard beside a stone church. Have faith. He loves you. But I keep driving south into the night.’

 

Cate Kennedy’s Habit is about an elderly woman who attempts to pass through Customs with cocaine in tow. Carmel Bird’s The Hair and The Teeth tells of the emotional toll carried by a woman whose house was burgled. Tim Winton’s Commission begins when a son goes in search of his father at his mother’s request in the West Australian outback.

 

A majority of the stories’ POVs are written in the first person, some in the third person. Most of the plots tend to follow the traditional linear path, with or without flashbacks, with about a third circling the main issue. One jumbles its timeframes.

 

The themes in these stories should appeal to a wide variety of readers. They satisfy my personal tastes. There are an equal number of male and female characters albeit a slight majority of POVs are male-centric. Each story feels like an emotional canvas: when you least expect it, the porcelain breaks. It never once felt like any two stories covered the same ground. I give this collection 4.5 stars out of 5 stars. Worth reading with tea and chocolates.


Best of the Best: Modern Australian Short Stories

Edited by Barry Oakley

Stories from Tim Winton, David Malouf, Thea Astley, Cate Kennedy, Peter Goldsworthy, Margo Lanagan, and Others

RRP: A$24.95

ISBN 9781742117454 (pbk.)

320 pages

Printed 2009, 1st Edition, Five Mile Press, Victoria


Words by Dane Miller.

Dane Miller is an established writer and poet from South Australia.

Loving Vincent

Every frame of Loving Vincent is hand painted, making this film truly unique and visually stunning. The entire film comprises of some 65,000 frames, each hand painted by one of 125 painters. The pay-off is massive, with every individual scene appearing as lifelike as possible while also surreal. The accompanying music, by Clint Mansell, only adds to the overall effect of the film. The soundtrack is truly stunning and perfectly attuned to the tone of each scene. This film is definitely an experience, a feast of both audio and visual delicacy. But Loving Vincent isn’t a wonderful film solely because of its artistic beauty. Its story is intimate, heartfelt, and deeply engaging.

Set a year after the death of artist Vincent van Gogh, this film explores Vincent’s life and death through the people who knew him. We see all of these individual stories unfold through the eyes of Armand Roulin, the son of postman Joseph Roulin. Tasked with delivering one of Vincent’s letters to his younger brother Theo van Gogh, Armand finds himself becoming more and more intrigued by the artist’s death. The end result is an engaging story that challenges the viewer to look at van Gogh through the perspectives of several very different individuals, all of whom viewed him in manners both flattering and damning.

What makes this story truly stunning is that the characters we meet along the way, as well as Armand himself, are all people Vincent van Gogh painted during his lifetime. With an incredible attention to detail, the film recreates famous paintings and reveals each character as they appeared in portraits by the artist. These characters all work together to create an intimate portrait of van Gogh, each of their stories giving the viewer a deeper understanding of the artist, his work, and his humanity.

Although this film covers a lot of dark subject matter, it treats its characters with respect and tenderness. While it would have been easy to portray van Gogh as deeply disturbed and suicidal, this film tries to dig beneath the surface of van Gogh’s infamous struggle with mental illness. What emerges is a more complex character of a man who felt deeply about the world around him, the effects of this feeling leading him to both despair and joy. Too often popular culture treats issues of mental illness with an overly simplistic attitude of pity or disgust, but this film does neither. Instead, it makes the viewer sympathetic to the very human suffering of van Gogh while also showing him existing beyond his illness.

You don’t need to be a lover of art history to appreciate this film. It has so much to offer in terms of its beauty, its heartfelt story and its complex and loveable characters. More than anything, it’s a film that challenges the viewer to think about the stories we tell about people and how they can act to create differing portraits. Vincent van Gogh is an artist whose life is still the subject of discussion. Was he a madman? A genius? A lonely depressed man? Or someone who lived for the beauty in the everyday world around him? This film asks you to consider just who Vincent van Gogh was and, ultimately, what his life can teach each of us about our own.

 


Words by Lisandra Linde

Lisandra Linde is an editor, writer and Hons. student. She is currently working on her thesis on women’s writing and mental illness at Flinders University. She can often be found performing at spoken word events around Adelaide. You can follow her on Twitter @KrestianLullaby.

Thor: Ragnarok

In Thor: Ragnarok, the third and final instalment of the franchise, we meet Thor (Chris Hemsworth) at the tail end of an intergalactic quest to stop Ragnarok and the subsequent destruction of Asgard. But it’s not long before a new villain emerges in the form of Thor’s banished sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett) the goddess of death, who quickly makes her way to Asgard to plot her conquest of the universe and generally wreak havoc. These events find Thor hammerless and stranded on a junkyard planet ruled by the half-tyrant, half-gameshow host Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and launches the film into a wonderfully colourful sci-fi adventure.

This film is unabashedly fun. It’s refreshing to see a superhero movie with such a sincere sense of humour and it’s not hard to see the influence of director Taika Waititi, well-known for independent comedies like What We Do in the Shadows (2014) and Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016). No one is exempt from this comedic touch—even the sombre Odin (Anthony Hopkins) has some great lines (‘Are you the god of hammers?’ he asks Thor at one point.) Waititi himself shines as Korg, an alien made of rock whose attempt at revolution was thwarted by a shortage of pamphlets. Even in the relatively minor role of Topaz, the Grandmaster’s right-hand-woman, Rachel House gives a wonderful comedic performance and delivers a reference to The Castle that many Australian fans are sure to enjoy. All of the cast give solid performances and, vitally important for a comedy, they clearly have a lot of fun while doing it.

While many of Marvel’s offerings have been fairly serious action flicks with a smattering of jokes dropped in at the last minute, Thor: Ragnarok is almost the polar opposite. Yet the humour is never hammy or parodic—it’s balanced well with a number of beautifully shot and, put simply, cool action sequences. There is of course the hotly anticipated battle between Thor and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) that’s been featured in the trailers, but some of the best moments come from scrapper, drunkard and former elite Asgardian warrior, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson).

The vibrant cinematography combines with a nostalgic soundtrack of 70s and 80s synths and rock to create some truly awe-inspiring moments. I’m not sure I’ll ever forget the image of Thor facing off against a tower of undead enemies while Led Zepplin’s ‘Immigrant Song’ roars through the cinema speakers.

With delightful humour and seriously cool action, Thor: Ragnarok is a movie that knows exactly what it is and revels in it.


Words by Justina Ashman

The Hearth: Of the Night

In the last few years the creative writing community has retaken the night with a range of creative reading and poetry events popping up all around Adelaide. The Hearth is one such event, run by Flinders University Alumni Melanie Pryor, Alicia Carter, Lauren Butterworth, and Emma Maguire.

Words by Kayla Gaskell

In the last few years the creative writing community has retaken the night with a range of creative reading and poetry events popping up all around Adelaide. The Hearth is one such event, run by Flinders University Alumni Melanie Pryor, Alicia Carter, Lauren Butterworth, and Emma Maguire. Providing an outlet for creatives to share their work, The Hearth runs four themed events each year. The final event of 2017 was themed ‘Of the Night’, allowing several writers the opportunity to respond creatively to this theme.

The Jade has proven an excellent choice in venue with friendly staff and a stage for readers to present their work. While Thursday’s event was delayed due to another event having run before The Hearth, there was an excellent turn out of people wanting to support their writing community.

Readers for ‘Of the Night’ included: JV Birch, Marina Deller, Andy Lee, Lisandra Linde and Melanie Pryor.Music was provided by Dee Trawartha leading up to the readings, and between sets. The readers presented a mixture of poetry, personal essay, creative non-fiction, and fiction all with the common theme of ‘night’. This diversity in creative writing was excellent to see and kept the audience engaged throughout.

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The Hearth Collective: Alicia Carter, Lauren Butterworth, Emma Maguire and Melanie Pryor, Photo: Brendan Davies

Lisandra Linde was the first reader; a creative writing honours student at Flinders University with a background in forensic archaeology. Lisandra presented a creative non-fiction piece dealing with her thoughts about her own mortality and her first experience confronted with death—encountering a corpse in her previous field of study.

Andy Lee, an environment student at Flinders, shared three of his poems, all written for performance. His work is heavy with naturalistic imagery and considers the world around him, how he views it, and how others view it. Drawing on his studies he is a able to bring in environmental concepts such as the twenty-ninth day in order to promote environmental awareness.

Marina Deller is one assignment away from finishing her degree and presented a moving personal essay about finding herself again after a terrible period in her life. Marina is a highly engaging speaker and held the audience captive as she spoke about her life experiences and how losing her friend and, shortly after, her mother changed her outlook on life.

 

Melanie Pryor, a PhD candidate, presented a piece crafted from three memories given to her in a previous project in 2013. These memories, together with some haunting music, inspired the story of a boy whose neighbour’s little girl disappeared. A captivating story, Melanie used the memories of people living with dementia and turned them into a story of her own.

JV Birch is a poet who moved to Adelaide from London five years ago. She claims to have the concentration span of a goldfish and says that is why her poetry is so short, although it seems more likely that she dislikes excessive verbiage. JV presented six short poems each revolving around the moon.

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Q&A Panel at the Hearth, Photo: Lauren Butterworth

The Hearth, as well as providing a place for writers to share their work, also invites audience engagement with a Q & A session following the readings. In the Q & A, the audience, as well as the presenters, are able to ask questions about the writing process and the pieces and ideas presented.

The Hearth was involved in the 2017 Adelaide Fringe Festival and has just announced their continued involvement in 2018. The theme for their next event, this coming March, is Masquerade, and they will soon be on the lookout for pitches.


For more information on The Hearth and upcoming events check out their Facebook page. Tulpa would like to thank The Hearth Collective for providing the photos used in this review. 

Photos by Lauren Butterworth and Brendan Davies

Review by Kayla Gaskell

 

Justin Townes Earle at The Crown and Anchor

Adelaideans have long lamented the number of international acts we miss out on from year to year. Not so with Justin Townes Earle, who not only includes our fine little town in his tour itinerary, but also plays intimate pub gigs instead of overpriced stadiums. Supported by local country rockers The Bitter Darlings, and fellow Southerner Joshua Hedley, Justin Townes Earle dropped by the Cranka for a mid-week special, backed up by the inimitable Paul Niehaus on lap steel and guitar.

Setting the tone for a soulful evening in the Cranka’s well-loved ballroom, front man for The Bitter Darlings, Marcello Cole, let his soul do the talking, embracing the crowd with his vocals, rough edged and rich. Bandmate Nicholas Cioffi provided a perfect counterpoint with his superb guitar work, winding intricate harmonies around lyrics that immortalise South Australian towns and highways. The duo dressed the part in cowboy shirts and boots, and left the punters dreaming of their next hit of Tex Perkins magnetism and Johnny Cash tenderness. Country rock and blues to the bone, these boys did Adelaide proud.

Joshua Hedley is Nashville through and through. He wears a big hat, a big belt buckle, and a big attitude. And he don’t take no mess, having to silence rude punters with good grace and humour not once but twice throughout his set. With a voice smoother than molasses and twice as sweet, the crowd were transported from our little pub to the Grand Ole Opry. Joshua Hedley is a prolific singer-songwriter, taking the opportunity to treat us to three songs he had written while staying in Adelaide, as well as a Willie Nelson cover, and the classic love song ‘Sweet Memories’. While the accent and the outfit saw quite a number of fans swooning – he even had crisp line pressed into the front of his trousers- what will stay with me is the craftsmanship of a country superstar on the rise. One to watch.

The main drawcard approached the stage through the crowd in his usual manner; humble, warm, understated. Justin Townes Earle wore triple denim and spectacles, unassuming as he approached the microphone. Sexy as hell and with a wicked sense of humour, Justin has always been a darling with Australian audiences. Treating us to no less than nineteen tunes, and peppering his set with anecdotes and the odd dirty joke, this gig was yet another triumph for the rebel kid made good. Standout songs included Townes Earle’s tribute to Billie Holiday, ‘White Gardenias’, and crowd favourite, ‘Mama’s Eyes’, but the eclectic set also included a Paul Simon cover.

Played through the Cranka’s bass-loving stacks, Justin Townes Earle was in fine voice, while Paul Niehaus provided faultless support vocals and lap steel accompaniment. Vocal harmonies enriched Townes Earle’s ordinarily solitary compositions, and by the end of the set the punters were feeling sentimental and softly singing along. We filed into the cool spring twilight singing the ‘Harlem River Blues’. Adelaide may not draw all the big names, but I’d take a pub gig over a stadium any day. Where else can you share a joke with the headliner on the side of the road? A show like this promises to stay with you and keep you warm on lonely nights. Unforgettable.

Words by Heather McGinn.