No Plain Jane

Theatre reviews and musings (mostly) from Adelaide

Tag: Tessa Leong

Kumuwuki Review: I Met

Emma Beech in the Australian Bureau of Worthiness’ I Met Viborg

I’ve now seen the Australian Bureau of WorthinessI Met in four incarnations: Renmark, Port Adelaide’s Port Road, Viborg in Denmark, and now Goolwa.

I never wrote about the work properly; although I was intending to after Viborg time got away from me; I only just briefly mentioned Port Road; and had an even briefer pass at Renmark. Now, I see that as a unique blessing: if I am going to write about this work I need to write about its changing incarnations, its constant rediscovery of itself and exploration of its own form and possibilities.

Being able to see the work four times before sitting down to write about it is perhaps the most unique privilege and what we search for in looking at the role “embedded critic”: in following the creation – or recreation – of the I Met model, I now, hopefully, get to give more than a cursory review of one show, and instead get to write about what the Bureau have created as a model. A unique show model, perhaps, takes a unique writing model.

The Australian Bureau of Worthiness is the creation of artists Emma Beech and Tessa Leong, and often operated with James Dodd. It’s model is simple: go into a community and discover who they are and what is important to them through the use of a simple question: What makes your day worth it?

No justification or further exploration is given for the question: some answer with the small – seeing someone’s smile, the sound of a packet of biscuits being opened, some offer up answers of the deeply philosophical – the ways they intend to change the world, some can’t offer up an answer at all – nothing.

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Fringe Review: The Magic Hat


The Magic Hat is a simple children’s story by Mem Fox.  A magician’s red hat flies through the air before landing on the heads people who transform into animals: a toad, a bear, a baboon, a giraffe.  Drop Bear Theatre have adapted the piece for the stage for children aged three to eight, and it is a delightful and colourful introduction to live storytelling through a variety of different theatrical techniques.

Through shadow puppetry, song, and dance the story repeated throughout the production.  The repetition reinforces the story and the character traits in the minds of the young audience, and by the end the cast is encouraging the audience to yell out the name of the animals as they appear.

A picture book for young children, The Magic Hat relies on visual imagery for the full story to be told, and here with the performance beginning in shadow puppetry, the cast present the story in the most traditionally visual and clear way.  The magic hat flies through the air, it almost lands on a person, and then just as quickly as they’re there, they are replaced by an animal.

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