18 February 2010

Moving on ...

Stories from the 428 moves on. Here we are, the 8 of us Week 2 writers with Gus at our first script meeting last week.

Photo: Leah McGirr

It's been interesting and deeply enjoyable to meet the other writers and hear their work; not to mention creating my own 2 short scenes: Pass and The Party. And realise that although our contributions are all quite different, there are echoes and overlaps—in content, voice and style.

Both my scenes, but particularly Pass, have an underscore of loss and mourning. Today, the 18 February, was my father's birthday. He died 18 months ago. In that time I've come to understand something of the subtle, complex, nuanced, insistent, unpredictable nature of grief—but it's not all bad, because I've also come to understand that, strange as it may sound, grief allows me to continue a relationship with my father.

Now for another jump-cut or whatever the writing equivalent of that is:

Recent anxiety: Am I endlessly rewriting the same material? And if I am, is this a problem, or do most artists return, perhaps obsessively, to mine their core material from different angles? What is my core material?

Recent reading: Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger. To remember was once difficult and costly and forgetting was the norm, but in our digital world this has flipped, and now remembering is the default.

Recent listening: Don Byron plays the music of Mickey Katz. Can Jewish musicians play jazz, can an African-American clarinetist play klezmer? Absolutely.

10 February 2010

Stories from the 428

I’m one of 16 writers involved in an unusual project called Stories from the 428.

It’s the brainchild of the dynamic Gus Supple, and this is what she has to say about it:

Thousands of people everyday travel on the buses and trains of Sydney—to work, to school, to meet friends or family. Though a necessary part of life in the city, public transport is an unknowing catalyst to creation. Many of us use our train or bus rides to message friends, read a book, write a card, read a newspaper, make notes in a diary. And the buses become a form of mobile office, taking us from A to B while we make plans or take notes.

Harnessing the talents of some of Sydney’s most dynamic writers, Stories from the 428 finds the sublime and extraordinary in the everyday bus ride and transports it on stage.

Inspired by conversations, scenes from the bus window, overseen text messages or perhaps the person sitting across from them, a group of 8 playwrights per week will collaborate to create a unique and surprising theatrical experience centred around the 428 bus route.

I was drawn to this for a number of reasons, but 2 in particular. I’m a passionate advocate for public transport, (I haven’t had a car for years) and in the late 1990s I lived in Dulwich Hill and travelled frequently on the 428 bus. My second main reason for joining Stories from the 428 was that it was all going to happen fast, fast, fast. We’d catch the bus, write our scripts, rehearse, and put them on over the course of a couple of months. When the gap between starting to write a play and opening night can stretch for years, this appealed to me. By way of contrast, I began Songket early 1997 and by the time it finally went on mid 2003, I had to work hard to rekindle my interest. To paraphrase the announcers on the London Underground: Mind that gap!

Stories from the 428
Week One: Wednesday 24—Saturday 27 March at 8:00 pm & Sunday 28 March at 5:00 pm.
Week Two: Wednesday 31 March--Saturday 3 April at 8:00 pm & Sunday 4 April at 5:00 pm.
Sidetrack Theatre, 142 Addison Road, Marrickville. (The 428 bus stops just outside.)

In the meantime, check out the project’s website: http://www.storiesfromthe428.com/ and Facebook page.