Dear Calliope, I am not all that keen
To finish up this long account
And serve as a meal not fit for a queen.
So from my high horse I dismount
And warily survey the scene,
An open mind is paramount,
(Not confused with an empty mind)
To precisely process the heard and seen
Within the Kingdom of the Blind,
Where prejudice wears its dark niqab,
To seek and strive to know and find
And learn to understand the drab
Along with the decorous gem –
So come on, then: let’s have a stab.
Before we set out to condemn,
Congratulate ourselves for good,
Gloom is not our stratagem
And Gusto is our neighbourhood.
We reject Favour; laugh at Fear,
But flee from the misunderstood.
So Melpomene, start with King Lear;
With Geoffrey Rush as the senile King,
Playing in Sydney at New Year.
Rush is a star but the play’s the thing
And we will be there, upon the Eve
When mummers aren’t delivering
For, you wouldn’t just believe,
They cancelled the performance
On New Years; the party’s not to leave.
‘Tis probably against romance –
To stage this bleak and chilly tale
Mid the happy harbour’s elegance.
While the yachts enjoy full sail
And the pyrotechnics flare
Shakespeare has the World bewail.
We’ll leave our views up in the air
And evaluate the recent past,
If you disagree, then please still share.
Terpsichore, be not aghast,
Dance is not our strongest suit,
In fact, our ignorance is vast.
So we’re slow to start dispute
With physical theatre’s opaque charm
And kindergarten overshoot.
“A blindfold and a broken arm”,
Writhing – shrieking – furious grins,
None strong theme shall come to harm.
Take the Seven Deadly Sins,
(Brisbane Playhouse, Expressions Dance)
No theme for these disciplines
Of sin and drama, circumstance,
Air-chopping ‘Greed’ and Sinuous ‘Lust’,
Can only resonate by chance.
All other tropes fast turn to dust,
In NYX a big children’s tantrum
Leaves the onlookers nonplussed.
So it goes, from High to Humdrum
Despite Cry Jailolo and the like
We’re served an array to benumb.
There’s something, now, of a gallery spike
Which we honour, and applaud,
From MONA to Albury, lots to like
Or not but it must needs be explored.
Whether Russell Drysdale or a poo machine,
If you’re live you are never bored.
We won’t touch on, to vent our spleen
The art market and its gnostic laws.
It is a Tad too easy to demean –
Robert Hughes exposed the flaws
In the market’s taste, where a flashy nude
Will see gnashed teeth and nibbled paws.
From painted greed to Opera. Rude
Are we to again slam E.N.O
But they ask for it, in their grim and lewd
Renderings. Now they’ve Mimi on the Blow
And to make Euterpe yet more sick,
They give strong hints they do not know
That magic realism does the trick
Only when some humour’s planned
Or a Book of Sand‘s not worth a lick.
Time to set upon a stand
The bust of departed Keith Michell,
Whose work in theatre nicely spanned
The post-war decades, and full well.
His Henry VIII was miraculous,
Suggesting ‘mid domestic pell-mell
His clear vision and unscrupulous
Deploying power of a haughty King,
and a high-mind, yet scrofulous
As his well-worn, shrivelled ding-a-ling.
He seemed as if a bag of wine
About to burst, spate covering
Every tortured line.
Degas was, equally, a scoffer
Of women; but his work was fine,
Albeit unwholesome to proffer,
Little girls in their tutus,
Gorgeous but not apt to offer
To a mind that often skews.
Ask Bill Henson – show the young
And reputation fast unscrews.
Hanged, he is and thus well-hung,
With bulging eyes and blackened tongue,
Will he miss the paint pot flung?