Anywhere Fest: Chosen Family

Poets Eleanor Jackson and Betsy Turcot (The Belles of Hell) wowed Brisbane at last year’s Anywhere Fest with She Stole My Every Rock ‘n’ Roll. This year, they’ve got a new poetic dialogue in store: Chosen Family.

Q. Describe your show in under 25 words.
A. Two women trading poetry about the strange, painful-beautiful of family, piecing together a montage of grainy family photographs and giving them a glossy finish. Photoshop for the soul, so to speak.

Q. Anywhere Festival is about making art everywhere. What makes your venue unique?
 The venue (the beautiful back deck of Justice Products) is the perfect place for a Queensland family Christmas, complete with tin roof and timber decking. Spiral Community Hub, which operates Justice Products, is not just a beautiful shop, it’s an amazing community space that runs training, community workshops and supports local people to develop more sustainable lives. Might be a little cold though at night though, so we’ll try to warm you up with some tea. BYO bunny rug if you get chilly!

Chosen Family

Betsy and I are particularly interested in the Anywhere Theatre Festival for the way that it partners performers and community spaces, with great support from venues. It’s why we held She Stole My Every Rock ‘n’ Roll at Jet Black Cat — to support a queer local business, and this time at Spiral/Justice, because it’s got a great local community connection.

Q. If you could have your show run absolutely anywhere in the universe and at any point of history, where would you run it (after West End, of course)?
 Well, There’s no time like the present, so Betsy and I would love to hit the Big Apple where her family could see us perform. Time to start fundraising!

Q. You and Betsy have brought the poetic dialogue to the fore in Brisbane — and perfected it. What does Chosen Family bring to the form?
A. (blush) In writing Chosen Family, we have thought about the simplest and clearest way to create space and connection between people — not by shouting each other down but making space for everyone to whisper. Because sometimes only when it’s quiet can you say true things.

CHOSEN FAMILY runs at Justice Earth Building, 192 Boundary St, West End from 16 to 18 May, 2013.

Anywhere Fest: Gumpoldskirchen

For our second Anywhere Festival Q&A, stellar playwright Bianca Butler gives us the low down on Gumpoldskirchen.

Q. Describe your show/s in under 25 words.
A. Estranged brothers take a rail journey across Europe to collect their father’s ashes. Catching up is funny, painful and more than a little claustrophobic.

Q. What makes your Anywhere venue the perfect fit?
A. Milton ‘Railway’ Park is situated between the Milton and Auchenflower train stations, and even has a kids’ playground in the shape of a steam engine, so the transit theme is strong. This ties in perfectly with Gumpoldskirchen, which is all about journeys, both literal and relational. The majority of the action takes place in train carriages and train stations, and throughout the whole play we see the transitory relationship of the protagonists, who struggle to find common ground. In their journey to become better brothers, they also move toward closure in their troubled relationship with their father. I’m indebted to the clever folks at Underground Productions for sourcing such a unique and thematically appropriate setting.

Gumpoldskirchen — Bianca Butler

Q. If you could stage your play anywhere in time and space (after Milton, of course), where would you choose?
A. It probably sounds boring, but I’m really happy with my play being performed here and now. If I could look a year or two into the future, I would love to see it transfer to main house production with one of Brisbane’s professional theatre companies, like La Boite. I think the play would work really well in the Roundhouse Theatre space. Longer term, I would love to take a touring production to all the towns and cities that feature in the play, starting with the tiny village of Clun, Shropshire, and finishing up in Gumpoldskirchen itself.

Q. Family secrets are exposed in Gumpoldskirchen. Do you have any ancestral skeletons in the closet you could tell us about?
A. That’s a tough question. The play I’m working on now is inspired by something that happened in my dad’s family when he was a boy, but there aren’t really any skeletons there. It’s about how his parents took in American soldiers on R&R leave from the Vietnam War. It’s not very scandalous, but I found the research process fascinating.

Q. Will Poirot be accompanying us on this potentially dangerous train journey?
A. Alas, not including Poirot was my folly! There are a couple of Belgian characters, but sadly they are neither detectives nor cultivators of a handsome moustache. Next time perhaps.

GUMPOLDSKIRCHEN runs at Milton ‘Railway’ Park, Corner Nerida Lane & Milton Road, from 8 to 12 May, 2013.

Anywhere Festival: MaXimal

Anywhere Festival is about to kick off in Brisbane! To celebrate the making of art all over Brisbane — outside, inside, on the airwaves, in the elevator, in the streets, in your pants — OffStreet Arts will feature super-rad Q&As with some of the festival’s most exciting acts. To begin with, I chatted with Scott Sneddon, aka Darkwing Dubs, about his show, MaXimal!

Q. Describe your show/s in under 25 words or fewer.
A. A very stupid idea: pooling together spoken word, hip-hop, songwriting and comedy into an hour of crazy. It’s awesome.

Q. Anywhere Festival is about making art … anywhere. What makes your venue unique?
A. I got a river view, at The Edge — right on Southbank next to the library. With boats n stuff going past. Plus The Edge is awesome and I’d do anything to support them!

MaXimal — Darkwing

Q. If your show were a new My Little Pony, what would it look like? What would its superpower be?
A. It would have a ninja outfit and jump out — like HOOYA — and you would say that it wasn’t a good ninja because you saw it coming but then you would start choking and the My Little Pony Ninja would be like, “Or am I the best ninja ever?” But you’d never get to answer the question cos you’d be dead.

Q. What is maximalist poetry?
A. Maximalism is everything you’re not meant to do in poetry — it’s not earnest, serious or clever. It’s basically a pisstake of the whole thing and heaps of fun and something that tends to make people cry with laughter. Therefore it is my favourite thing ever invented by me.

MaXimal! runs on the lawn, level 3, The Edge (SLQ) from 10 to 11 May, 2013, as part of Anywhere Festival.