Interest in PNG artefacts is increasing. We love that each artefact has significance to the creator, representing the heritage of millenia, identifying a specific tribe and place. We admire the villagers’ business skill in trading their art. Where can we see these expressive masks, intricately carved story boards and beautifully crafted sculptures? In lockdown, only online.
A wide range of video clips are at the bottom of this article.
You can go to the British Museum, Art Gallery of NSW, the Australian Museum, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and many other institutions’ websites and search their collections for PNG artefacts.
KISS OF THE GALLERY GUARD has a sweet story at its heart and it includes some really enjoyable live piano before and as mood setting between scenes. Playing at the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs Hall at the soon to be renovated Walsh Bay Arts and Culture Precinct, the show had a late cast change when one of the original actors suffered an accident. With the generous support of two new male performers to fill roles, the show has gone on. It may not have found its feet on opening night but it’s evident the cast and crew have put in a great deal of work to get it to this point. Continue reading KISS OF THE GALLERY GUARD – THEATRE AND MOOD MUSIC→
Carol Dance has written an entertaining play about three Australian siblings having a family reunion in Varanasi, India, their mother’s dying wish, and their interaction with the Indian family running the guesthouse where they stay. This scenario allows an interesting look the differences and similarities between Indian and Western families, philosophies, societies, and cultures.
As any westerner who has visited India knows the country is overwhelming and this is captured in the play and woven into the story. This is captured in the narrative and balanced with the changes in modern Indian society and melded with the very interesting dramas of two families.
Vikram Singh, played wonderfully by Shashidhar Dandekar, runs the guesthouse and has a strong relationship with John (Steven Menteith), a long term frequent guest at the hotel. John has not visited his Australian home for many years. The youngest son, family man Chris (James Herrington), has arranged the reunion by bringing their sister Pamela (Lucy Rasheed), the high flying businesswoman sister from New York to Varanasi.
Vikram’s son, Ashwin (Neel Banerjee) is in the army and is mostly absent. His wife, Roopa, (Ambika Asthana) assists in the running of the guesthouse and has ideas to rescue it from its faded grandeur and modernise their practises. Vikram is more in favour of maintaining traditions. Roopa and Ashwin want to immigrate to Australia. Roopa is the character that links the themes explored in the play of traditional and modern values, Eastern and Western concepts and male and female roles. Ambika superbly performs this role with realism, humour and spirit.
These themes are also looked at from John’s perspective, as an aid worker, and Pamela’s role in managing a call centre in Varanasi for the company she works for in New York. What will benefit the poor and oppressed of India better? Will it be aid projects or jobs brought in by international businesses? This philosophical conflict is reflected in the well played out family squabbles of the Australian family. The different approaches of East and West are reflected in Pamela’s attempts to manage Sanjay (Neel Banerjee again), the call centre’s incompetent but very agreeable local manager.
Director Lenore Robertson has nicely brought together this production. A fairly simple set is brilliantly enhanced by projected images of Varanasi, the night sky, sunrise and Indian motifs. Richard Neville’s lighting design is a highlight of the play.
A weakness in this current production is that whilst the Indian actors have a good handle on their characters, this is not the case with the three Anglo Saxon actors who fail to fully realise their characters.
Steven Menteith has an awkward aloofness and does not engage with the audience. Lucy Rasheed plays the sister well but is not convincing as a international businesswoman. James Herrington is believable as the Aussie family guy confronted by India’s squalor and in his charming encounters with Roopa, however he does not capture the right tone or emotion outside this framework.
The Nautanki Theatre Company’s premiere production of Carol Dance’s INDIAN EMBRACE played the Lennox Theatre, Parramatta Riverside Theatres between August 21 and 25, 2013.
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