‘Oh I’m so damn proud of you. A triumphant victory for mankind. Maybe there is hope. It brought a tear to my eye and a lump to my throat. Staring out the window in a traffic jam for 3 hours watching the little lawnmower cars zoom past hundreds of happy Westerners receiving the with a compassionate, full contact smile and stare. You’ve made it. Have some fruit’
– An extract from Kurt Cobain‘s journals.

Hey everyone,

I like how Kurt writes. I don’t care that it’s a big cliché and occasionally, mostly, going-for-a-long-bath-with-mah-razor-blades depressing. But the sarcasm is comforting and the observations are humble. Plus he was a total babe. Today we sat in the car for a long time to and from a photo shoot. This paragraph has some resonance right now. Although I don’t think I’ve ‘made it’ – (what does THAT even mean?.. Personal success? Financial success? Origami?!) – I think I will have some fruit, thank you.

It’s really tits-off cold in Sydney. And it rains a lot at night, when I don’t have an umbrella and and need to do things outside en plain air with expensive German made water-colour paper. Not really – but that’s what it feels like. This week concluded our last week of the 505 workshops – I was really pissed because I missed it due to the evil cold which seems to be infecting everyone I know right now. The workshops were so brilliant though. They were the perfect rinse out and warm up for me and Soph before we start rehearsals for the Fringe show (in only a couple of weeks now!). The onus was on exploration and the calibre of ensemble and director made it really easy for risks to be taken – especially concerning movement and physicality. I shocked myself a couple of times which is always an exhilarating feeling when you are acting at every given opportunity. I discovered some things about myself (and dare I say it… my craft… wanker) that I definitely didn’t know existed before these classes. My impulses are twitchy like baby foxes – I may be almost ready.

Machine Atlas is cranking along (watch out there’s a pun!). Last night we worked on developing some ensemble movement pieces. We worked a lot using Bogart’s ‘Viewpoints’ exercises – working in a grid and then lanes, which I really love as a device to devise theatre. It was really interesting working in a group where some people had never touched on impulse work. There were some really amazing moments and people threw themselves down on the impulse alter hard and with conviction. We worked with some images from Chaplin’s factory films and set the work to music which our amazing sound designer, Michael, has been recording and developing over the past rehearsals both on his own and with small groups of ensemble members. Near the end of the workshop I improvised with a bicycle wheel tied to a string to a song that Matt (a fellow Machine Atlas-er) created about his fears. I don’t actually know what happened or what I did or even if I could reproduce it – but it was one of those moments when all the other people in the room disappear and you totally become the task at hand. I figured out a way to make the wheel fly by spinning on a point until the wheel had left the ground and then by jerking the rope from one side of the room to the other I animated the wheel. I managed to keep the bicycle wheel hovering off the ground from manipulating the rope like some sort of crazy animal wrangler. I’ve never done anything like that before and managed to sustain it for so long with a level of fluidity which made me feel like a machine. It was violent and meditative and strange and wonderful.

I’ve been having heaps and heaps of ideas concerning my seerUM machine – which will be exhibited and demonstrated when  the cast will all assemble a market place pitching and selling ‘new machines’. I’ve been having a lot of visuals. At the moment myself and Katja – our amazing designer, have been tossing around ideas of 70s kitsch with German industrialist design to create a new sort of ‘confessional cabinet’. I want to be dressed like some ultra modern Pope – think Alexander McQueen meets Dick Van Dyke in ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ (singing ‘Me ‘Ole Bamboo’ of course). I need to find out where I can buy quite a lot of candy pink strip lighting and two-way/Venetian glass. If anyone’s Dad/Uncle/Godfather/Sugar Daddy owns or knows someone with glass/lighting connections please hit me up. I’ll free ticket you and slap you all over blog. You should also check out this great reference video Katja sent me. It’s quite similar to my idea and has given me lots to think about.

But this is not the only Shopfront business that is going on – oh no. Myself and fellow ArtsLabbers Katy Maudlin and Aslam Abdus-Samad will be running a five-day July School Holiday Workshop for junior members of the Shopfront cohort and other young people who are keen to make some theatre, do some writing, create some art and choreograph some movement. It’s called ‘shortCIRCUIT’ and it’s gonna be kick ass. We are gonna be creating work in relation to Machine Atlas. So, if you have a younger brother or sister, or indeed know of a 8 – 12-year-old you would like to disappear into my care so you can have your life back, please read the info below and pass on the details like an exquisite Parcel crafted for passing. There are only 20 positions and we already have a handful of bookings so get on it to avoid disappointment/ virus corruption. Also, check out the promo pic we (@Shhaylen and I) had a 2am photo shoot for. I love the result – even if I did make Sophie deep throat every cable/cord I could grab that wasn’t plugged into a socket. She only gagged  once but did manage to cover most of herself and the carpet with quite a lot of dribble. She’s a winner.

Error 404: This workshop you have requested contains extremely dangerous and exciting material.

If you could make any machine in the world, what would you make?
If you’re iPod started telling you secrets, what would it tell you?
What makes technology great and what grinds your gears about gadgets?
If you love creating theatre, movement, art and writing you’d best put the phone on charge and sign up for this amazing school holiday workshop. For 5 days we will be creating work around the themes of machines and MACHINE ATLAS, Shopfront’s new major project for 2011. At the end we will perform what we have created, exposed wiring and all.
Tweet your friends,
Message your fans…
This message will eventually self destruct.
Dates: July 11 – 15 Times: 9-4pm daily Suits: 8-15 year olds Cost: $350 Early Bird Fee: $280 (valid until June 30th)

Check out ‘shortCIRCUIT‘ on the Shopfront site.

Lastly, there are only a couple of shows left for ‘The Seagull’ playing at the Old Fitz and ‘The Bonfire‘ playing at the Newtown Theatre. ‘The Seagull’ by Alice Williams is a one woman show about the life of well – Chekhov’s Seagull. She’s a Seagull, she’s an actress, she’s a Seagull, she’s an actress. She lives in the Wharf Theatre and she’s worked with David Whenam. You can get along and see her:

  • Friday 17th June @ 9.30pm
  • Saturday 18th June @ 8pm
  • Sunday 19th June @ 9.30pm
  • Monday 20th June @ 8pm.

‘The Bonfire’ directed by mega talented Jane Grimley and written by ArtsLab11 participant Sime Knezevic, is a new Australian work which explores notions of adolescence, love, secrets and betrayal and is set to some beautifully shot film by video and projection artist (and fellow Shopfronter) Kevin Ng. It’s on at the Newtown Theatre till the 18th of June, booking details are HERE.

Ok, one more thing. I ordered this a couple of weeks ago but it came today along with a sweet ass package from Lost At E-Minor (one of my favourites). I’m gonna wear it to the second round of AADA’s ‘Sites of Power’.

I think that’s all my fingers can take. Although they appreciate the circulatory encouragement I am busting to finish Season 4 of The Wire… McNulty’s in a uniform in almost every scene so you could say that shit has indeed gotten real. I should probably only view when set up with hose-downable tarp and stainless steel drip tray but if Sophie’s gonna salivate all up in the carpet’s business I kinda want a turn too.

Next blog’s gonna be a video. I’m loving all your comments and touching of the bases. Continue that. It’s excrement.

So are you.


Tom x

About T o m C h r i s t o p h e r s e n

Actor. Artist. Atrocity.
This entry was posted in Photoshoots, Projects I Help With, Shopfront Arts, Theatre, Workshops and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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