Thursday, October 1, 2009

Final Day 10

Even the local church had marionette hands attached to their columns! Some of the food was very naughty (fried donuts with hot Nutella anyone??), and the street theatre continued to delight. The last 2 pics show the final night at L'Annexe (you can just see Joanne Foley and Jenny Ellis foreground), and the all-important signposts for all that really matters in Charleville.

So Day 10 was a big day. I had three professional meetings: one with the Assistant Festival Director re requirements or advice on bringing independent Australian shows such as mine to the next Festival. They haven’t yet decided if it’s going to be in 2 years or 3, and the Director is understandably swamped right now. So for anyone who is interested, don’t apply till Jan 2010, and send DVDs.

Meeting #2 was with independent Israeli artist Yael Rasooly, who brought a 20min show, and was placed into a Double Bill by the Festival. We had a long talk over lunch, and she suggested an Australian Cabaret night, with 3 or 4 shows of 15-20mins. She advised applying to the main ‘In’ Festival, who she played with, but also an alternative production house like L’Annexe, where we hung out the most, with it’s relaxed atmosphere, cheap food, couches, friendly service, and wide variety of shows/vans/performance venues.

So Meeting #3 was with Julie, President of L’Annexe. She explained that they had set up the venue last Festival as an alternative to all the programmed shows, but that now the site was marked for demolition to make a car park. She said they had organised a big meeting to ask for permanent venue status with the local politicians, and the Ministry of Culture (who generously fund a lot of French artists), who had been very impressed with their case. She said they would be very interested in programming Australian performances, wanting to become more international. I offered to write a letter of support for their venue, and she was very keen. Then obviously L'Annexe could write a letter of support for me/us for touring funding applications in Australia...

Then my final 3 shows of 25- what a contrast. 'Traversees' by French company Theatre de l'Entrouvert- my friend who'd seen it already strongly advised me to go. It was quite lovely: ethereal, poetic, sparse yet vivid images, no text, tiny rod puppets, created and performed by a graduate of the Puppetry School. I really really enjoyed it.

Then I saw another rod puppet show which made me feel angry and disappointed. Even when I do a terrible show, I am not as bad as the puppeteer I saw in this one! And he had been invited from Italy; his puppetry manipulation was so poor I couldn't even clap at the end, I just had to leave. What a waste of money, and my time.

Then the big finale: Joan Baixas at the Municipal Theatre. I'd like to say he was incredible, but there was a lot of talking, some fairly poor acting, some interesting live painting onto a dirty sheet of canvas with back projections, and too much poor manipulation of a puppet head. But he IS a legend, having collaborated with Miro and so on, so I was grateful to be able to say 'Yes I've seen him'. He performed in Perth in 2008 at the Puppet Festival there, and I know several people who said it was the most amazing thing they've ever seen. But not this new show, sorry.

I post this now from the UK, and was missing France approximately 5 mins after arriving back in London. I intend to add some Reflections, and some Top Tips as I mentioned, and anything else which comes up. I had a fantastic time of course, and feel stretched, challenged, inspired, affirmed, and lucky to have been immersed in such a fascinating world.