ART FOR ART’S SAKE examines the role of art and performance in the world, a fitting subject for a Sydney Fringe production. This short play shows glimpses of an artist’s life. The scenes of a film school class, dealing with galleries and working in a mundane job are amusing and insightful. There is an interesting narrative about a father advising his artistic daughter not to waste her life like he did pursuing an artistic dream. He suggests she should be like her brother and follow him in the corporate world.
There are many other components to this drama: the myth of Odin is touched on, exploitation of an illiterate old man, corporate greed and a marriage break up. One of the weaknesses of this piece is that there is too much going on. This scattergun approach does not help with coherency. Fortunately, it does mean there are lots of interesting scenes and numerous themes explored.
The film class was one of my favourites. The students are an eclectic collection. There is a seemingly disinterested student making perceptive comments and the chatty & supercilious clique contrasted against the too focused academic. The academic wants the students to know the history of their artistic discipline; a valid focus for any area of creativity, but the discussions goes off on tangents about Cinderella and the proletariat, and Saddam Hussein and romance writing. There was great scene of office workers and their mundane, soul destroying drudgery. It was reminiscent of the workers in the classic film Metropolis. The shallowness and insincerity of the moneyed individuals who can afford to buy art is also investigated.
The production makes good use of a large stage. Costumes and props are well above normal Fringe standard. However, there are some technical issues that need addressing. The bright light from the projector shines through a clear screen straight at the audience. Another fault was that the recorded music and sound at times drowned out the singing and dialogue.
The performances from the leads, Sage Godrei and Nicholas Papademetriou were excellent. They were ably supported by Meg Shooter, Laurence Nelmes, Yiss Mill, Kurt Bayly, Rachel Tant, Eveline Scubert, Katherine McDonald, Ally McLean and Matt Neto. Direction is by Prudence Bernadette, sound design by Sage Godrei and lighting and stage management by Mel Avanzado.