In the midst of a socially exhausting calendar and the sensory overload of that treasured season, I was taken to two very contrasting, culture-sating events. The first was at a wonderfully interesting outdoor theatre called Bamboo, the other half of a well-renowned cocktail bar. The stage alone is a terrific, ingenious idea, and one that must be wonderfully good fun to perform on. It mingles the classical Greek amphitheatre with a rather gentle, Balinese-esque place of worship. Although the oriental vibe may come down to the purveyance of bamboo; the name must of course have purpose. Frankly, just being able to see that kind of facility made the night worthwhile. I had been worried about the theme of the performance(s). I tend to shy away from the self-aggrandising, self-interested and self-important performances for which many actors and similar nights are famed. For me the term rather rhymes with bank. (Apologies for hinting at anything untoward.)
And in many respects I was not disappointed on that front. The premise of the evening was an Amnesty International Arts evening. A group of actors, musicians, directors, producers, dancers, choreographers and sound technicians (amongst others no doubt) were given twenty four hours to develop fifteen minute pieces based on the subject of Equality. In all we had six pieces performed before us. With minimal rehearsal time on top of composing a whole piece, the results were impressive. Some a little bankery of course. The problem with collecting a group of very middle-class people and have them try to demonstrate their understanding of and relation to issues such as domestic violence will never work seamlessly. But it was a noble effort. One in particular I thoroughly enjoyed. It was the soliloquy of a university tutor, railing against his apathetic students. He was desperate for debate, passion, life, and it was very funny. I can relate, being the annoyingly vocal member of most of my tutorials as most sit idly by. But perhaps that's how I like it, competition grows dull. I say that as a staunch free-market advocate, mind.
After the thought-provocation at Bamboo, it was to the transporting world of a wealthy German family Christmas in the form of the Nutcracker. I have been incredibly lucky this last year. From Giselle with the ENB to Don Quixote with the WA Ballet. Nothing beats the Nutcracker for pure festive joy. Tchaikovsky composed such lovely music and this production was so charming. By the Graduate College of Dance, the sets belonged to the Australian Ballet at one stage and the costumes were splendid. Having friends perform always adds to the enjoyment of a spectacle. And they cast students of all ages, the miniature gingerbread men were particularly endearing. My favourite fell over as she took a bow, with such grace and poise, such promise! She absolutely made the second act. She looked barely two feet tall on the stage, it was wonderful. We left the elegantly parochial Regal Theatre feeling very much uplifted and full of the spirit of Christmas. In a city where Christmas day currently has a forecast of 38 degrees, I verily need all the help I can get.
To everybody floating about the ether, be you a visitor past or new, admirer or critic, a very happy Christmas to you and yours.