Arts & Culture

The Events by Black Swan State Theatre Company

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Set in the aftermath of a mass shooting that has rocked a community, The Events follows Claire (played by Catherine McClements), an Anglican priest, as she tries to come to terms with what has unfolded.

Sometime before the play begins, the multicultural choir that Claire leads was targeted by a young man with a gun. The shooter, referred to only as The Boy (Johnny Carr), is now behind bars, while Claire wrestles with her conflicting desires to forgive him and seek revenge.

Throughout the play, Carr seamlessly takes on multiple roles: The Boy; his father; his school friend and fellow outcast; the right-wing politician whose ideologies The Boy identified with; the writer whose book inspired The Boy; Claire’s therapist; and Claire’s partner.

In her quest to understand why The Boy did what he did, Claire finds herself confronting each of these characters.

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Assassins by Black Swan State Theatre Company

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Why did they do it? is the question that people ask when discussing the latest of America's all too frequent mass shootings. In a country where the disaffected and mentally unstable have easy access to firearms, is it any surprise that some will aim their sights higher than the common public and instead target the leader of the country?

Who were they? is another common query. Stephen Sondheim's 1991 creation, Assassins, showcases the lives and explores the motives of the USA's successful and failed presidential killers. It is a disturbing juxtaposition considering that modern day America is trending towards suppressing the names of mass shooters to deny them any perceived fame or glory, erasing them from history.

Instead, in Assassins we are treated to 100 minutes of song and dance as the assassins claim that their names will be permanently etched in the American psyche. Perhaps so, but Assassins is far from a celebration of this group, exposing the grudges, derangements and self-serving excuses that led to their tragic actions. Who can say which approach is better?

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Shaken at the Ellington Cabaret and Burlesque Weekend

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Having seen my share of Bond movies over the years (Daniel Craig is quite good, but Sean Connery is still THE Bond in my book), I was looking forward to heading to The Ellington Jazz Club to watch Charlie D. Barkle and Erin Hutchison put their own spin on 007 with their production of Shaken: A James Bond Cabaret.

My partner and I were already familiar with Erin from her time in What Doesn't Kill You [blah blah] Stronger at the Perth Fringe Festival, so we came in expecting to be treated to an evening of sharp wit and fabulous singing, and we were not disappointed.

Billed as a competition between all seven James Bond actors, Shaken is the brainchild of Charlie D. Barkle, and combines trivia, humour, a bit of sketch comedy and of course the theme songs from all your favourite Bond movies.

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Disobedience at Luna

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From the Director of A Fantastic Woman and Gloria, Sebastián Lelio does it again with his latest movie Disobedience.

In a similar vein to his other movies, he explores the themes of love and sexuality from a woman’s perspective, and instead of Santiago as the locale, the movie Disobedience is set within the orthodox Jewish community of London.

Estranged from her family, New Yorker Roni (Rachel Weisz) returns back home after a long absence to pay respects to her rabbi father who has recently died.

In dealing with her loss, she encounters friends from her past including Dovid (Alessandro Nivola) her father’s proposed successor as the new rabbi, and childhood friend Esti (Rachel McAdams) who to her surprise is married to Dovid. Her past is reignited when a passionate romance develops with Esti.

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HIR by Black Swan State Theatre Company

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Black Swan State Theatre Company presents its latest offering HIR at the Studio Underground this month.

Set in modern day America, Isaac returns home from 3 years of war hoping to regain some sanity, only to find that his family have gone off the deep end in his absence.

His baby sister Max is now his testosterone filled brother, his Dad has had a stroke, and his Mum – where do you start?

The complex themes that are explored in this play are reflective of the turbulent times in which we live, both at an individual and family level as well as at a broader societal one.

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On Body and Soul at Luna

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Is it possible that two people can have the same dream?

This question is posed by Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi in his latest film On Body and Soul.

Winner of the Berlinale Golden Bear and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the movie follows the romance between the two main characters - Maria, a quality controller and her boss Endre, working at a slaughter house in Budapest.

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Summer of the Seventeenth Doll by Black Swan State Theatre Company

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Set in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton in 1953, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll tells the story of a group of companions and their long-standing tradition.

Roo (Kelton Pell) and Barney (Jacob Allan) are two mates who work seven months a year cutting cane in Queensland before coming down to Melbourne to stay with Olive (Amy Mathews) and her mother, Emma (Vivienne Garrett).

The play takes its name from the kewpie dolls that Roo gives Olive each year – this marks the seventeenth year of their relationship.

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