University of Sydney
The Rogue Less Travelled: Finding and Following Your “Rogue Voice” When Writing for Performance
The process of writing for performance can be a fraught and fragile endeavour, occasionally tapping into a darkness that may be both entirely unexpected and deeply unsettling for a writer. Indeed, a particular process of creative writing may be that which evokes such darkness, subsequently taking a piece of writing for performance in a completely different direction to that which the writer had assumed at the outset. Amidst this dark and disturbing deviation, however, may reside seedlings of hope and the promise of progress and sociopolitical change – that is, perhaps we need to say hello to the darkness before we can say goodbye to it. Accordingly, this paper explores one such particular process of writing for performance, namely that which was developed and is taught by Dr. Sue Woolfe and Dr. Stephen Sewell within the Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Performance at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and that utilises a dualistic creative writing methodology comprised of “loose construing” (Kelly, 1955; Stevens, 1999; Woolfe, 2007) and “the Lull” (Martindale, 1995; Woolfe, 2007; Sewell, 2017). Moreover, as a result of undertaking said course in 2018 myself and henceforth stumbling upon a domineering and deeply disturbing curiosity in my own creative writing – a phenomenon that Woolfe (2013, pp. 286-294) refers to as “the rogue” – this paper is also an attempt to further the academic discussion she initiated in her essay entitled ‘Rogues: A Speculation.’ For without Woolfe’s speculative discourse on “the rogue” – a liminal force that having now experienced its power I believe should be equally feared and revered – I would have been veritably stranded in the toxic purgatorial abyss of my own writing for performance practice rather than being encouraged and emboldened as I was, once I had found my “rogue voice,” to follow it through the darkness and back into the light.
Adam Moulds began his career in the performing arts as a stand-up comedian, regularly appearing at the Comedy Store in Sydney, Australia, and also performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. He then went on to train as a professional actor at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) from 2001-2003. Upon graduation Adam was cast in the Channel 9 program ‘Comedy Inc.,’ appearing in the sketch comedy show from 2004-2006. He then moved into performing arts education completing a Grad Dip Ed at the University of Notre Dame Australia and subsequently working as a drama teacher at The King’s School from 2007-2017. In 2018 Adam returned to NIDA to undertake the MFA in Writing for Performance. Currently a D.Arts candidate at the University of Sydney, Adam is aiming to build upon the research and the correlative creative project he developed during the MFA at NIDA – that is, a one-man-show entitled ‘Spoken in Jest’ in which a stand-up comedian goes “rogue” before his audience.
Alison Currie and David Cross
De-Limit by Alison Currie and David Cross
Delimit is a dance/visual art work that examines the relationship between menial, process-driven labour and performance. Playing with ideas of staging and set making, the work seeks to interrogate how the making of an art installation offers a frame in which to understand dance and its assorted modalities in different ways. The collaboration between visual artist David Cross and choreographer Alison Currie has been developed through a long-term appreciation of each other’s practice and a realisation that despite their work appearing very different, their conceptual interests are closely linked. Delimit slips between functional and abstract, exploring live action as an unstable liminal space between labour and performance. This paper will reflect on the making of De-Limit with a specific focus on its reception in the 2020 Keir Choreographic Awards where the work was selected for inclusion in the finals at Carriageworks. In particular it will examine thinking around labour and boredom and how this latter category serves as a productive modality/affective state in which to investigate the relationship between dance and everyday life. It will argue following Walter Benjamin that boredom or, the prefacing of menial action played out over time,’ is the threshold to great deeds’.
David Cross is a Melbourne-based artist, curator and writer. His practice extends across performance, installation, sculpture, public art and video. Known for his examination of risk, pleasure and participation, Cross often utilises inflatable structures to negotiate interpersonal exchange. He has performed in international live art festivals in Poland and Croatia and was selected as a representative at the 2011 and 2015 Prague Quadrennials. His work Hold was selected for inclusion in Liveworks at Performance Space, Sydney in 2010 and at Arts House for the Melbourne International Festival in October 2012. More recently he has examined the connection between sport, performance and community in public art projects for Scape 7 in Christchurch (2013), L’Entorse, France (2016) and Temporary Democracies: A Project for Campbelltown Arts Centre (2014). He is Professor of Visual Arts at Deakin University.
Alison Currie holds a Masters in Choreography and Performance (2015) and a Bachelor of Dance Performance (2003). The primary focus of Currie’s practice is the connection between inanimate forms and performers. Her works engage audiences, performers and objects or sculptural forms in various ways in theatres, galleries and site-specific live performance and video. Her first major work 42a premiered in Adelaide (2008) and toured to three states of Australia (2010). Recently Currie premiered three new works Creatures with The Human Arts Movement at the Samstag Museum of Art, Close Company at Goodman Arts Centre in Singapore and OzAsia Festival Adelaide, and Concrete Impermanence at Adelaide Festival Centre. Concrete Impermanence went on the be performed at The Substation (2018) and Dancehouse (2019) for Dance Massive. De-Limit co-directed by Alison and David Cross was a finalist at the Keir Choreographic Award (2020).
University of Sydney
From Palace to People to the World: A ‘Rana playwright’ Fighting Against ‘Rana Oligarchy’
Rana rulers of Nepal who ruled for one hundred and four years (from 1846 A.D. to 1951 A.D.) did not allow people to read and write. They feared that if people are literate, they will revolt against their totalitarian regime. For their entertainment, they built “Greco-Roman’ styled palaces and magnificent exclusive theatre halls inside their palaces. They emulated Western theatrical traditions copying the royal courts in India. They brought Persian theatrical and musical traditions inside the palaces at a time when people were dying of hunger and diseases let alone going to the theatre. Inside the palaces they enjoyed the ‘imported’ performances sitting according to their ranks, with family members and officials watching actors, musicians, singers, dancers and a variety of other performers. However, the birth of Balakrishna Sama, grandson of Dambar Shambar Rana, an aid-de-camp of Rana Prime minister Bir Shamsher Rana sowed the seed of the end of Rana oligarchy. It is said that Sama, who grew up to be known as the doyen of Nepali theatre, was born during the performance of a play in his home theatre. He ultimately revolted against his family lineage, shunned ‘Rana’ title (Balkrishna Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana) and preferred to be called Balakrishna Sama (equal), wrote plays and used theatre as a vehicle for social and political change. So, in this paper, I will talk about the Nepali theatre in time of Rana oligarchy by bringing Sama’s plays into discussion and evince how he contributed to bring theatre down to people from palace and finally to the world. In addition to drawing upon the story of Nepal’s theatre in brief, this paper will focus on how Nepali theatre was/is a powerful medium to convey the ‘political messages’ to the ‘illiterate people’.
Jiva Nath Lamsal is PhD candidate and causal academic at the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Sydney. Before joining the University of Sydney to pursue his PhD study, he worked as a lecturer at the Central Department of English, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal, where he completed his MA and M.Phil. degrees in Literary Studies. He has published his research in Literary Studies, Cross-Currents: A Journal of Language, Literature and Literary Theory, The Journal of Ritual Studies and Indian Theatre Journal. His research articles “Ritual, Resistance and Social Transformation: Politics and Poetics of Gaijatra Festival” is forthcoming (in press-Journal of Ritual Studies published by the University of Pittsburgh Press, USA). He is a member of the Literary Association of Nepal (LAN), Folklore Society of Nepal, Linguistic Society of Nepal, Nepal English Language Teachers Association (NELTA). His areas of scholarly interest are Anthropological approach to theatre and Performance, Asian Theatre, Intercultural theatre, Postcolonial theatre, Theatre history and Performance Theories, Performance and Rhetoric; Folklore, Globalization and Indigenous cultures, Socio-Political Implications of Rituals and Cultures; South Asian Studies, Law and Literature.