The Hearth: Masquerade

The Hearth is quickly becoming a fixture of the South Australian spoken word scene. Here at Tulpa we’re no strangers to The Hearth, or the incredibly supportive platform they provide for Adelaide’s writing community. The Hearth’s approach to creative readings is unique, with equal focus placed on work and the creative process.

Tuesday’s ‘Masquerade’ theme did not disappoint, with readers approaching the subject from entirely different angles that both delighted and fascinated the audience. First up was Amy T. Matthews, a Senior Lecturer at Flinders University and award winning novelist. Amy shared an extract from one of her romance novels, admitted her embarrassment at some of the tropes it covered and shared her experiences dealing with publishers in Australia and abroad.

The second reader of the night was CJ McLean who treated us not only to a discussion of queer identity and persona in literary history but also donned a wig and performed a cheeky musical number. Needless to say, the audience had a great time clapping along.

Next up was Tulpa’s own Taeghan Buggy, a writer, poet and creative writing Honours student. Taeghan’s poetry gave a modern touch to a few mythological deviants. Who doesn’t like to hear about Puck as a high school delinquent or about Loki’s modern expressions of queerness?

After a brief bar break we were treated to an essay on Billy Joel and the changing definitions of ‘cool’, courtesy of Quart Short collective co-facilitator, playwright and essayist Ben Brooker. Ben’s creative process included printing his piece off at OfficeWorks right before the show.

The final reader of the night was social media poet Katie Keys who combined wit with photography for a performance that was equal parts poignant and hysterically funny. Katie’s dedication to her medium has made her tweet a daily poem on social media for nearly a decade.

Every Hearth night ends with something special- a chance for the audience to ask the performers questions. The Q&A is a great opportunity for the audience to learn from, and engage with, the performers, their work and their creative process.

I would recommend The Hearth to all writers of every experience level. Whether you go as a performer or a listener there is no doubt that you will get something out of these extraordinary reading nights.


Words by Lisandra Linde

For more information on The Hearth and upcoming events check out their Facebook page. You can also learn more about The Hearth collective and its performers on their website

In Conversation with: Porch Governor Sharni Honor

Tulpa writer Liam McNally sat down with Porch Governor Sharni Honor in the wonderful surrounds of Glenelg’s Seafaring Fools, to talk music in Adelaide, how Porch Sessions got its start, and the journey from beginning to award and success!

How did Porch Sessions start out? Was it initially your idea or did you have collaborators from the start?

It started out as a tiny idea in my brain. I’ve always been a passionate follower of music and it was a response to an assignment, of all things, while I was studying at Music SA. At the end of the year, they were like ‘put all your skills in one little box and see if you can put on an event and make it happen’. I remember looking back at my big journal and on the second page I’d scribbled ‘porch sessions’. And then I had the first gig in my parent’s front garden and threw it all together. I had no idea what I was doing. There’s no manual on how to put [a gig] on in someone’s house. A lot of it was straight-in-the-deep-end, flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants. After doing the first one, the response was massive. It was sold out, 150 people. Timberwolf played our first show, who’s now killing it. The headliner was Benjalu, which is now one half of Boo Seeka who are also doing great things interstate. I guess after that first show, it was, ‘this is great, when’s the next one?’ And then it hit me, ‘I can’t just have gigs at my parents’ house for the rest of time, how’s this thing going to grow?’ Then the travelling element came up.

Where was the second gig?

It was actually a punter who came to the first gig. My yoga teacher at the time, straight after the show, she was like ‘I’m having the next one!’ Realistically, now, the house was a little bit of a tricky space to work in. We had two shows back-to-back there and a guy named Stu Larsen who is now one of our favourite artists played two sold out shows there and that kicked things into full motion.

Where did the idea for Porchland come up?

I guess the cool thing about Porch Sessions is that it ultimately started as a travelling backyard music festival is now a brand that represents nice times, amazing experiences, and unique spaces. The idea around Porchland is that as we have so many intimate shows that can be fifty people in a tiny space and [from that] we bring together everyone from these tiny gigs to have a dance and celebrate. We bring it all together in one space.

Have you branched out into pubs and other different things?

We’ve dabbled with curating music in spaces but we’re pretty diligent on the reason for which we exist. We don’t exist in venues, and that’s kind of our point of difference. That said, we do curate music in spaces and help people out in that sense. I guess to take music out of that and create venues where venues don’t exist is our biggest passion.

Do you ever do a gig in the city?

Not really. We have done Tram Sessions. That was a concept that originated in Melbourne. We’re good mates with the guys who run that and we toured it to Adelaide. We pick a tram stop, everyone jumps on and we play like five songs. People get on. People get off. It’s uncomfortable. It’s amazing. That’s the main thing we do in the city.

So, taking music to the audience, rather than the audience coming to the music?

A thousand percent. It’s amazing how much can be said for creating that atmosphere and setting the tone before the music even starts. When you design the architecture of a space, it can dictate how the night goes. When venues get in that stale space and become sometimes more about the bar and making money and surviving, which is what they have to do, the music becomes secondary to them surviving, ultimately.

DSC05040
Porchland Festival pic by Harley Vincent.

On the subject of surviving, how do you find surviving in the Adelaide arts scene?

It’s hard. Very, very hard. The thing about Porch Sessions is that we pride ourselves on having super high quality across the board. High quality music, first and foremost. And we pay for it. We have some of the highest artist fees across South Australia for the music we book. For some reason a lot of people assume, ‘that’s a nice thing, it must be like a volunteer thing’. No way. We pay our artists really quite well, and all of our staff and photographers, and videographers. All the content that comes out of our shows is really valued and we’re pretty diligent about that. It takes a long time to balance all of that while trying to stay afloat and put bread on the table. It’s really tricky.

It is concentrated for a lot of people into one month. I know a lot of us who do this as a full-time job are very quick to wipe our hands clean of March and just step away from it because we slog our guts out for the rest of the year. It’s easy to be disheartened by it.

I suppose it’s a bit of a case of people building up all year for Fringe season and they just own that one month.

It’s exciting and people are pumped but we’ve got to look after the people who maintain our arts scene year-round. I guess, for people like us who live and breathe the industry, it never stops. It’s quite hard to get on the level of those who do dip in and out. It’s quite hard to be in those shoes sometimes but that’s reality. It’s really hard to keep on top of when things are happening. It’s work for people to go to shows and to find out about things. We have to remember that as curators.

Is that why you have Porchland, as your big event, about as far away from March as you possibly can?

For sure. It’s taken time. I guess the beautiful thing about Porch is that by moving really slowly, we’ve developed a really strong following and a lot of our shows do sell out. When we do have shows 45 minutes from Adelaide, to pull 180 people to a space is really quite cool. That takes a really long time to build and generate.

Is the advertising you do, like the coasters and posters here [Seafaring Fools], really just for Porchland, rather than the Sessions?

We’ve been pretty underground with our marketing for Porch Sessions. Social media is huge for us; mailing lists, word of mouth, the artists themselves. That sells the shows without us having to put up posters. Also, with such a turnaround of shows – we probably run over thirty events in a given year – if we were to put out marketing for every show, it’d be work that wouldn’t need to exist. I guess that’s the cool thing about Porchland, we can get people who’ve never heard of what we do to this one big event.

The Sessions themselves just build by word-of-mouth, then? I don’t think I’ve ever seen any advertising for a Porch Session.

I guess it’s that there is a kind of ‘beautiful secret’ element to it, and being in residential houses, we just publicise the suburb [rather than address] and put out the line-up. There isn’t much of a need for it. The next three shows, in the summer series, are all sold out, which is super cool. There isn’t much of a need for marketing. It’s an amazing privilege to have in Adelaide.

You’ve built to the point where you have a major social media following and you won the award Best Music Event/Festival at the SA Music Awards, beating out even Womad.

It was so unexpected. Everything at that festival [Womad], I go to, and admire, and get inspired by. That was mindblowing. Unbelievable.

As wonderful as Womad is, it must have been something to see someone other than them win anyway.

We were at the back, drinking beers and we were like ‘that’s not Womad – oh my God, this is not a drill!’ It was bizarre. To be considered on the same level is cool in itself but to actually take that [award] out, is very cool.

How’s that affected things? Is it just in the industry or externally as well?

I think actually across the board. It’s amazing how many people have heard about it. It lifts us into a new bracket. It attaches a new professionalism to what we do and nationally it’s been really well recognised.

How many sessions do you have ready in advance at any given time?

We’re always forward-programming. We’re still pulling into place the rest of this season that runs up until the start of May. We have another three shows we’re going to release over the next couple of weeks and that’ll be the season done. Then we start on the winter shows. We also have Porch Session on Tour where we pack up five caravans and travel between Queensland and South Australia. It’s full-on and fast-paced but it’s the best. We’re already starting to plan for that next year.


Tulpa Magazine thanks Sharni Honor for her time, Jack Fenby for the Porch Sessions feature photo, and Harley Vincent for the photo from Porchland.

The Poetry Slam: An Insider’s View

When I say Slam Poetry, what do you think of? Beatniks in black turtlenecks and clicking hipsters? Or maybe you think of Neil Hilborn’s “OCD” – the spoken word poem that made the rounds on the internet circa 2013. Slam poetry – or spoken word poetry if you like – is experiencing something of a resurgence and for a good reason. If you’ve ever listened to a spoken word poem, then you know that it is a powerful gut-punch of a storytelling medium. More than that, it’s a highly diverse form as well; the content and structure of spoken word is open wide to innovation and interpretation. Highly personalised or highly politicised, spoken word is a glimmering oyster of diverse styles and poets, which makes it a pleasure to listen to every time. It also makes it highly enjoyable to write and to read – because above all, spoken word poetry is designed to be read aloud and heard. There are few better places for this than the ubiquitous poetry slam and it’s sister, the open mic poetry night. As a person who’s performed in several poetry slams, I can tell you the nitty-gritty of what it is like to be involved in one.

I’m going to be real with you for a second. Getting on stage and performing your work to a crowd of strangers is nerve-wracking, especially when there are judges in the crowd who are giving points for your work. But at the same time, it’s also deeply satisfying to know that they’re sitting before you specially to hear slam. Here’s a fact; slam communities want new blood, specifically yours. If you’ve got a poem and a voice to tell it with, they want to hear you say it. They will even approach you afterwards to say they liked your work. It’s humbling and gratifying all at once. If you can get up there to read your poems, you have my respect as a fellow poet, especially if it’s your first time.

At my first poetry slam, I didn’t actually read any of my work. I wanted to suss out how it worked and then ghost out of there after enjoying a night of poetry. Instead I got randomly selected to be a judge (all the judges are randomly selected from the audience). No problem, I thought to myself. Except I had no clue about the standard of work to be expected at a poetry slam competition. Cue me scoring the first two people exceptionally harshly by mistake – I soon wised up, but not without escaping un-called-out. Poetry slams are friendly places with a great deal of camaraderie – expect call outs to people in the audience and call outs about judges who are overly harsh, as I had soon discovered.

My second poetry slam was the one I first performed at and, fortunately, I didn’t make a giant hash of it. I got up on stage, didn’t fall off the edge of it, spoke my piece without squealing feedback from the mic, and then got off the stage. All in all, a success. Since then, I’ve performed in a few and I’ve got ‘performing at a poetry slam’ down to a fine art.

Here’s how it goes:
I rock up to the event a good five minutes before the signup even opens (the signup usually opens about half-an-hour before the slam starts). I then hover like a vulture so I can be first, or second, or third to write my name down on the list. This ensures I’m definitely going to perform at the slam.If the slam is abiding by Australian Poetry Slam rules, there’s a maximum of 20 competitors. The first fifteen names on the signup sheet are guaranteed to be in – any number of people past that go into a lottery to see if they’re competing that night. This is the reason for the vulturing; when there’s a captive audience, I like to
know that they’re going to be my captive audience.

Once I’ve got my name down on the list, I buy myself a cider and claim a seat for myself and whoever has come with me. Some people come in a posse, others with one or two friends or family members. From there it’s only a matter of waiting somewhat nervously while I enjoy the other poets who are slamming that night. While I do this, I usually gnaw my fingers a bit wondering if I’m the next poet up or not – all of the performers are called up in a randomly drawn order, so you never know when you’re up next. I’ve got the luck of a mildly cursed witch; I’m almost always one of the last people to perform, and when I’m not, I’m definitely the first called up. This is what happened at the last slam I was in and I was not expecting it at all.

When I do get called up, I take myself and my poem up to the mic. Sometimes I memorise my poem, but you don’t have to. For poetry slams, the timer starts from the first word so intros aren’t particularly wise. Also, take this advice from someone who knows; pay attention to that timer. For Australian poetry slams, two minutes is your absolute maximum and if you go over, you lose one point every thirty seconds. Poem went for two minutes and ten seconds? That sweet little score of 9.3 has dropped to an 8.3, and with it your chance at placing. Am I speaking from bitter experience? Well, kinda. I’m not particularly bitter. Poetry slam judging is fair even if it’s reasonably unpredictable. There’s five judges, who are randomly selected, and the top and bottom scores are removed. Favouritism is pretty well eliminated but there’s an added element of unpredictability. Once I’ve been given my score, I sit back, drink cider, and enjoy the other poems before waiting to hear the final results. A round of applause to the victors and it’s all done and dusted.

Whether you’re up on the mic or in the audience, poetry slams are always a good time and they happen almost everywhere. If you’re unsure about where to start, a quick google or Facebook search will be able to point you in the direction of your local poetry slam event. If you’re in Adelaide, the Adelaide Poetry Gig Guide on Facebook has an updated list of regular open mic’s, slams, and one off events.

I’ll leave you with this pro tip I’ve learned from experience: don’t perform a poem about someone who’s in the audience unless you really want them to hear it. Otherwise, have fun and if you see me around in Adelaide’s slams, come and say hi.


Words by Taeghan Buggy 

Taeghan Buggy is a writer, a poet, and a performer. Her work tends towards emotional gut punches and dangerous words. Taeghan’s immersion within ‘Arts Culture’ includes the New Wave Audio Theatre project, Flinders’ Speakeasy Creative Readings, and Adelaide’s open-mic poetry scene.

 

‘We Are Born, Then Manufactured’- Poems by Leeza von Alpen

We are born, then manufactured

how peculiar it is

that magazines tell me

how I should be a woman

when I was not born

with crossed legs

and hairless arms

and cherry lips

and peculiar still

is that these magazines

never think to mention

how much money

we would all save

(and corporations would lose)

if we all decided

not to starve ourselves

to fatten another’s wallet

if we all decided

we were our own

definition of beautiful

yes

how peculiar

it is to me

that we are born

and then manufactured

and made to be

each other’s

competition

rather than sisters;

how peculiar still

it is to me

that in the animal kingdom

males attract the females

with bright colours

and dances

and the females

are with choice

but in our world

these decisions are reversed

despite that we

are still animals

when it comes to

clawing at our

imperfections

and to be found appealing

I must paint myself

and preen myself

to even get a second glance

because when people look

at you

they do not see

your beautiful mind

or your hard work

or your won battles

or your laughter;

they see skin and

they do not see a soul

and this is what

they are told

to look for

and I will forever find it peculiar

that magazines tell me

how I should,

as a woman,

dress in my own skin.

____

I’ll wear the words on my skin

 

I’ll wear the words on my skin

in my honeyed smile

through the gentle graze

of my fingertips

against your skin;

tracing the veins on your wrist

in a meek attempt

to hint at hand-holding.

in my creased eyes

and open arms.

I’ll wear the words on my skin

because I tremble at the thought

of voicing the phrase aloud too often;

of wearing out the syllables;

fraying its fabric,

like my favourite jumper

holey and faded

from being worn countless times;

so I’ll wear them on my skin

like peaceful war paint

to show that I’ll fight for you

oh, yes

I’ll wear them until

I wear them out

because what we do

speaks louder

than anything

we could ever say

  I love you —

 


Words by Leeza von Alpen

Leeza HeadshotLeeza is a writer and poet (both written and slam), and an English and History high school teacher. In her spare time, she treks through rainforests and star watches. She loves paperbacks, Hayao Miyazaki movies with milkless tea, and puns. You can follow her on Twitter@leezajayde and Instagram @leezajaydepoetry

‘Free Light’- By Karen Smart

_

The Runner stared into the cloth sack, feeling the weight of it in his hand. ‘I don’t do no favours for chicken feed.’

Please, it’s all I have. We have to be on this ship.’

You ain’t getting on the fuckin’ ship if I say you ain’t. And ya ain’t.’ The Runner sneered as I turned to walk away, but not before the glint of silver at my throat had betrayed me.

But I’m a reasonable man, see?’ He called after me. ‘Willin’ to negotiate. For the right price.’

I reached slowly for the chain around my neck. ‘You don’t understand. It’s the only thing I have left of my—’

Don’t matter to me none, a’course,’ the Runner said, looking at the back of his dirty knuckles with an exaggerated air. ‘But if ya want to get home I suggest ya hand the trinket over.’

Please,’ I begged. ‘There has to be something else I can do — I can earn the rest of my passage.’

The Runner laughed. ‘Hand it o’er. My woman could do with a piece o’ bling. And I ain’t seen nothin’ so pretty in years, not out here.’

That was it then; there was nothing more to be done. The chain was unclasped, the ring tossed into the sack, and the Runner stood aside.

Sir,’ he mocked, as he gestured to the hatch. ‘Thisaway, if ya please.’

I climbed the steps with a heavy heart. Behind me, buried beneath the earth in a secret place, lay my dead wife.

And at my chest, wrapped tightly in discarded medical cloth and hessian, was my sleeping infant daughter, her umbilical cord still drying.

____

The Stitcher looked at us carefully.

This says you’ve completed your allocated pregnancy,’ he said, indicating the portable scanner on his wrist. ‘If you’ve completed your cycle….’ he trailed off, confused.

I looked at my wife, placed my hand over her gently swelling belly, and smiled faintly to reassure her. ‘It was a natural conception.’

Impossible,’ the Stitcher spat out. ‘There hasn’t been a Natural in this sector in at least twenty-five years. I should know. I damn well delivered it.’

Miri was stricken. ‘Please — we have no idea how this happened. You have to help us.’

The Stitcher shot her a sharp look but didn’t respond. Instead, he continued with his own questions. ‘And your completed cycle?’ he asked me, ignoring Miri.

A boy. Carried and birthed normally, in Sector 9.’

And where is the child now?’

Dead. Cortola virus, aged two years.’

Ah, that’s too bad.’ The Stitcher looked again at the scanner. ‘But it doesn’t explain this. It’s impossible to conceive without registration – there are procedures that have to be followed. The genus samples need to be purified and screened before implantation, for a start. And, even supposing you’ve managed to cheat decades of Command policy and population control, the sterilisation protocols would have taken effect at the age of five, along with the rest of the female population. I’m sorry, but there must be a mistake.’

There’s no mistake.’

The Stitcher sighed. ‘Okay, fine. Lay down on the table and I’ll check you over. Maybe then you’ll come to your senses.’

The makeshift examination table was spread with a new cloth, and I helped Miri up onto it.

It’ll be okay. Just hold on.’ I told her.

The sector hospital was nothing more than a few rooms in an abandoned house on the edge of town. It had a roof that leaked, no running water, and electricity only when fuel could be salvaged for the ancient generator. It had no permanent staff, just the Stitcher, who set bones, and cut bullets out — but he was our only option.

The transducer was thirty years old, patched with scrap, and ran on precious generator power, but the Stitcher turned it on and ran the wand slowly over Miri’s stomach, just below her navel. The heartbeat was obvious and strong.

Well I’ll be damned.’

The Stitcher looked quickly between us, crossing the room to lock the door and draw the blinds. The fewer people who knew about the reason for our visit, the better.

Do you know what they’d do to you if they ever found out? What they’d do to me for helping you? You know it’s illegal for citizens to circumvent the cycle protocols. If any Command agent even suspected it had occurred—,’ the Stitcher hesitated, exhaling slowly with forced calm. ‘By law I’m required to notify the Militants immediately.’ He nodded toward the door. ‘Did anyone see you come in?’

I shook my head. We had been careful.

We can still rectify things then. I’m going to need you to wait outside while the elimination takes place. Maybe no-one needs to know.’

I was at the Stitcher’s side in a second, my hand around his wrist.

I can’t let you do that. We intend to complete this cycle.’

You are crazy.’

Probably. But we heard that you had helped others in the past. We need to travel to the Free State. And we need to do it now, before she gets any bigger.’

The Stitcher crossed his arms in front of his body and stepped away from me.

Oh no. Not a chance. You’ll die a hundred times before you even get to the border!’ he spat. ‘Those others — that was a long time ago, and for very different reasons. We were smuggling food rations, not people, and I paid a heavy price. They torched my home. I watched the people I’d been trying to save starve anyway. And then I spent four years in prison. There’s no way you’re going to make it before she delivers — you may as well kill her now.’

We have to try. We’ve already lost one child. We can’t lose another.’

What you’re asking me to do is treason. They won’t just execute me. They’ll execute every single person I ever knew. Don’t you understand? They’ll tear open your wife’s body and excise the child, then dash its head against the rocks, and they’ll do it right in front of you, laughing.’

Miri had risen, silently crossing the room to where we stood. She reached out and took the Stitcher’s calloused hand in her own and brought it to her navel, holding it against the small bump.

The Stitcher stared at her.

Please.’ Miri whispered.

____

The Stitcher, it seemed, found sympathy with our plight. He offered us a room in the hospital basement, and we hid there, quiet and still, for nearly five months. It took some time, but the Stitcher made contact with people from his past, recalling great favours, even applying a touch of violence when needed, but it was eventually arranged. We had with us a little money — not much, but enough to keep the captain interested. We would leave the sector in three days’ time, when the moon was high and the circling of the patrol ships was closest to the Command station, and furthest from land. We would fly low, invisible.

Miri had grown plump and round while we waited. She held the child, this miracle, differently in her belly; it grew in her, sustaining us both. And as each month faded into the next, we even dared to hope for the life that was promised to us in the Free State. There would be no medical restrictions. No scanners. We could raise this child in safety. We would survive.

The night before our departure, as we slept on our mattress on the cramped floor of the basement, I dreamed of the sea. I watched a small girl-child dance in the waves. Look Miri, I called to my wife, who stood by the water, her back to me. We have a daughter. But Miri did not turn around. She walked into the water until the waves lapped first at her knees, then at her waist, and finally her neck, until she slipped below the water like a ghost.

I woke with a start. My dream world refused to leave me; I still felt the wetness surrounding me, engulfing me, smothering me. I turned to Miri, but she was sitting upright, staring between her legs. The sea of my dreams was crimson.

Isaiah—’ she whispered, pale and shaking.

In the hours that followed, we breathed together in raspy bursts as the pains gripped her; we screamed together as our daughter arrived into the light; and I wept, alone, as my wife drowned in her crimson sea.

The Stitcher cut the sinewy life cord, and placed the tiny girl in my arms.

Elana. Our light.


Words by Karen Smart

Art by Rhianna Carr

Karen is a university student and renegade semi-colon over-user who isn’t afraid to use a hefty expletive if the situation calls for it. She hopes to spend the rest of her days reading, writing, and somehow finding a way to be paid for both.

You can find her wallowing on Twitter.

‘We Are Quiet & The Bed is Warm.’ – Poems by Taeghan Buggy

Moon-eyed stars eye hushed sheets;

white temple tents draped over slumber.

Thoughts rise then fall forgotten;

subsumed by cottony breaths tracing skin soft paths.

 

We Are Quiet & The Bed is Warm.

 

Moon-eyed stars eye hushed sheets;

white temple tents draped over slumber.

Thoughts rise then fall forgotten;

subsumed by cottony breaths tracing skin soft paths.

Sleep’s undertow strokes quiescence between heart-seconds,

pulling sighs on open air.

Bodies shift on the shores of each other – solemn, easy –

sure of welcome; unconscious beckoning.

Stretched hours hold off morning-tide,

hold off parting,

hold off time.

Night creeps past grey streets;

ghosting watcher unseen,

unfelt,

unheeded.

_________

 

(When I Don’t Feel Like Loving)

 

Eight hands clawed into the meat;

hearts clenched between teeth.

Bonfires in bone marrow – smokeless, hungering.

Ecstasies of wild eyed supplicants in full-throated fervour;

snarling dervishes under sheets

casting hex laden breaths on lightning winds.

Spines bent under lips, dipped into night hollows,

bent to high arches above skating touches.

Mouth shaped skin bruises

pulling at flesh – peach soft juices under tongue.

Pitiless bodies – eater, offering –

twined, bloodied;

one.

 


Words by Taeghan Buggy

tiggy

Taeghan Buggy is a writer, a poet, and a performer. Her work tends towards emotional gut punches and dangerous words. Taeghan’s immersion within ‘Arts Culture’ includes the New Wave Audio Theatre project, Flinders’ Speakeasy Creative Readings, and Adelaide’s open-mic poetry scene.

 

‘Moving Earth’ by Riana Kinlough

 

You feel the low thunder of moving earth and remember a blow like a lightning strike on your temple. Light appears as the dirt vanishes. Your bones strain upwards, anxious to meet the sun. Your rebirth is breach. Small hands pause at the unexpected hardness of your ankle. Tenderly, with new purpose, they uncover all the tiny bones of your foot and continue upwards. As they unearth your left femur, you remember with a pang the heavy boots that shattered it. You were a runner once.

Slowly, every inch revealing another small act of violence on your poor body, the Earth lets you go. The hands that freed you belong to a woman. Her skin and clothes are dark with something more than earth. You wonder, only for a moment, what she was burying when she found you.

 


IMG_2080

Words by Riana Kinlough

Riana is an Adelaide-based writer, whose primary interests include murderous women and keeping her cat off the keyboard long enough to write. You can see her work in the CRUSH anthology.

Artwork by Rhianna Carr. You can find more of Rhianna’s art on Facebook @RhiannaCarrART or on Instagram

New Wave Audio Theatre Episode One: Between

New Wave is a podcast series in which writers and actors work together to present the listener with three unique pieces of audio theatre. This is an excellent opportunity for Adelaide creatives to share their talents and also for people from all walks of life to indulge in theatre performance, despite not having the time or money to get to a physical theatre.

Episode One: Beyond, presents the audience with three short plays. Alys Messenger’s Hurt Money, Taeghan Buggy’s Stateline’s, and Anita Sanders Limbo. Working together with director Connor Reidy and actors Cat Galligani, David Hampton, Kieran Drost, Nicola O’Farrell, Hannah Hilbig, and Max Kowalick, these plays are performed through voice acting, without compromising the audience experience.

Alys Messenger’s Hurt Money follows the story of Lucia (Cat Galligani) and Anthony’s (David Hampton) sibling conflict in face of their mother’s illness. Lucia and Anthony have been estranged since their father died and Anthony convinced his mother to sell the house and invest in a ‘luxury retirement village for rich wankers on the Gold Coast’. But the investment still hasn’t paid off, and, as Anthony admits, it might not have been such a great idea after all. With his honesty and Lucia’s need for someone to care for and about, it seems like they might just be able to push aside their problems and share a nostalgic meal of dumplings from their favourite restaurant.

Taeghan Buggy’s Stateline’s follows the story of Sarah and Ria who accidently board the same bus to Victoria, old friends who haven’t seen each other in years. But what could have been a simple, innocent conversation turns into both girls spilling their guts and sharing their problems. Sarah is pregnant with Tom’s child. She’s going to Melbourne to get an abortion, against Tom’s wishes. In doing so she’s risking Tom’s wrath—but how can she keep a baby when he’s too afraid to commit to their relationship? Ria’s life isn’t going much better. She’s headed to Geelong to attend her great uncle’s funeral, but this uncle is the one who outed her to the entire family, causing her estrangement and the shunning of her girlfriend, Kate. Going against Kate’s wishes, Ria is ‘swimming back to her homophobic family’, desperately wanting to give them a chance. The girls use the bus trip to offer each other much needed support and encouragement to do what they think is right.

Anita Sanders’ Limbo follows a male and female character who are stuck in limbo and discussing their future potential—limbo being one of the only places they can stand in one place. The man questions why people must be perpetually moving forward while the woman, who has recently arrived, questions the bus to the future. They are both nostalgic for the past and resent their pre-planned futures, relishing the opportunity to stand still instead of perpetually moving forward— ‘Every decision was made in a hurry, hoping for a future that would be brighter than the past’. The future is a fog, a mystery waiting to be uncovered, yet unless they embrace the future they will be consumed by the dark—the dark which has already claimed Sammy. The piece shows the importance of moving forward and maintaining connections and relationships.

All three of these pieces allow the audience to enjoy, dissect, and consider the messages presented. The audio effects used serve only to enhance the audience experience while the pieces themselves call for a reflection on the various relationships that exist and are maintained throughout our lives. I would highly recommend this free audio theatre experience as a way to embrace theatre and support locally produced art. I look forward to hearing the second instalment, Algorithm, which is due to be released on December 7.


Words by Kayla Gaskell

See more from New Wave Audio Theatre at: https://newwaveaudiotheatre.com/

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/

 

 

 

‘You and I’ by Tanner Muller

You’re standing outside your friend’s apartment building, your body soaking, your phone without a percentage. You lift your handbag over your head and begin to walk. It doesn’t take long for you to slip and fall onto the pavement. You cry, but the tears are hidden amid the rain that falls onto your face. Now, more than ever, is the opportunity to reveal myself to you. I lower the car window and speak to you for the very first time.

‘Do you need some help, miss? You look hurt,’ I say.

Your head turns sharply to face me. ‘Well, you must be a genius,’ you say as you examine my appearance, ‘Do I know you?’

I think, of course you do. I’m your future lover. You just don’t know it yet.

‘Unless you recognise me from Thursday quiz nights at The Lodge, I wouldn’t think so.’

You stare at me, bewildered. You’re clearly not amused.

‘Would you like a ride home?’ I say to break the awkward tension—hoping, praying, that you’ll accept my offer.

‘Give me a good enough reason as to why I should. For all I know, you could be a murderer.’

‘Well, I—’

‘Is this how you pick up chicks?’ you interrupt. ‘Prowling the streets in search for some girl who’s in dire need of assistance?’

‘Did it work?’ I say in my final attempt at getting you into my car. I’ve been anticipating this very moment since I first laid eyes on you. Now, my future with you all depends on these three words. You’ll either tell me to get lost, and refer to me as that maniac who tried to kidnap you on the street that night, or you…laugh. You laugh. I wouldn’t consider it to be my finest moment, but it’s enough for you to take a risk and put your trust into me. You step into the car.

You drench the leather seat covers, but I’m not bothered because I finally have you close to me; close enough to touch you, to smell you. Your sweet peachy fragrance lingers inside the vehicle. This was, of course, despite your soaking body. I could only imagine this scent from outside the window of your apartment, but now it fills my nose with delight.

As we pull away from the curb, I notice how gentle you appear to be from the corner of my eyes. You’re like a priceless family heirloom or an ancient glass vase, look—but don’t touch. And your legs are smooth, as though they were manufactured and shaped like a Barbie doll. I’m resisting the temptation to meaninglessly graze my hand across your knee. Heck, I’m resisting the temptation to pull over the car and penetrate you gently and fill your body with nothing but love. But I don’t. Of course I don’t. I must be patient.

‘What’s your address?’ I ask, though I know perfectly well where you live.

‘Why do you want to know that? So you can stalk me?’

You make the environment uncomfortable again, as though you’re teasing me, playing mind games to analyse my reaction.

You chuckle before continuing, ‘I’ll just tell you where to go from here.’

We’re a few more blocks away, but there is no conversation. Instead, you sit there politely with your hands folded into your lap, providing me directions to your building: right, left, left, right, left, right.

‘So, what were your plans for tonight?’ I say to interject the monotony.

‘Well, before I was drenched in rain, I was drenched in my friend’s tears,’ you say sarcastically, as though you didn’t want to be there. ‘Every time she has something troubling her, she expects me to pick up the pieces.’

‘That must put a lot of pressure on you.’

‘You want to know something? It does. I’ve never been able to say it out loud before, but it’s exhausting.’

‘So, why do you do it then?’

‘I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps I’ve become used to it—going out of my way to help others. Now listen, are you sure you’re alright with this? I feel as though I need to repay you in some way—’

‘Tell me more,’ I interrupt. ‘How does this person make you feel?’

‘Honestly,’ you pause for a moment, your mind lost in thought, ‘I dislike her, immensely. But I keep disregarding the importance of my feelings towards her, because I’ve convinced myself that it’s wrong to think that way. I place her at the forefront of my life, but have been shown nothing in return. She doesn’t care for me. She—’

You’re wanting to speak more, but you resist and fight to keep the words back.

We approach your apartment building, but I leave the engine running. You turn and stare at me with a polite grin.

‘Thanks for the ride, mister,’ you say.

‘The pleasure was all mine.’

It was in that moment I thought, you like me, don’t you? Even if you won’t admit it to yourself, you trust me already. I gave you my undivided attention and listened to your problems. In this short car ride, I’ve managed to begin chipping away at your walls of doubt and unhappiness. No one else in your life has been able to achieve this. I’ve exposed you to the emotions you were hiding. All you could see were limitations, stops signs. You were trapped and blinded by what you feared most: the truth, the correct truth, the truth you’re meant to be feeling. Through my extensive observations of you, I’ve been able to examine your behaviour, even in your most vulnerable states. So now it becomes clear that you want me. As a matter of fact, you need me.

‘I almost forgot to ask for your name,’ you say.

‘Derek,’ I respond, lying.

‘I’m Valerie.’

‘Nice to meet you, Valerie.’

You exit the vehicle and we wave each other goodbye. I wait as you enter your apartment building before driving away. Your peachy scent continues to linger under my nose on the ride home. I’ll be back soon. No doubt about that.


Photo 6-7-17, 20 40 04

Tanner is an emerging writer living and exploring in Adelaide. His work has been published in Glam Adelaide, Mind Shave, Verse Magazine and the Piping Shrike anthology series, among other places.

Website: https://tannermullercreative.com

Instagram: @tanner.muller

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tannermullercreative/


Art by Rhianna Carr. You can find more of Rhianna’s art on Facebook @RhiannaCarrART or on Instagram