White knuckle ride through Shakespeare

WILLIAM Shakespeare’s 37 plays will be performed in 97 minutes in Spectrum Theatre’s latest production, and director Katie Gunning can’t wait to get the show on the road.

The Compleat Wrks of Willm Shkspr (Abridged) will play on November 23, 24, 25 and 30 and on December 1, 2, 7 and 8 for a range of evening and matinee shows.

It will feature three main characters embodying a plethora of Shakespearean characters from across the playwright’s works.

Gunning said one performer will play up to 16 characters in each show.

“It’s a very fun play; it’s very unusual,” she said.

“I’ve done it three times before for my A-levels, uni and for a professional version, and it just makes Shakespeare so much more accessible to people.”

Gunning said this play is different to others performed by Spectrum in the past, as there is a lot of direct audience interaction and actors present as themselves.

“The person will come on and say, “I’m so and so, and I will be performing Shakespeare’s work,” she said.

“There’s a lot of audience participation; there’s characters for pure audience entertainment and there is a lot of knowing looks to the audience as if to say, ‘can you see what I have to work with?’

“It’s really high energy and fast paced.”

Gunning said regardless of whether people like Shakespeare or not, they will enjoy the show.

“There’s a lot of pop cultural references as well as Shakespearean jokes,” she said.

“So, while some jokes will go over 90 per cent of people’s heads because it’s very Shakespeare-specific, there will be a silly joke afterward that everyone will laugh at.”

Gunning said the play is notable for holding the world record for the shortest ever performance of Hamlet, traditionally a three-hour play.

It is performed forwards in 43 seconds, and performed backwards in 42 seconds.

Tickets for The Compleat Wrks of Willm Shkspr (Abridged) will be selling through Paperbark Merchants, so keep an eye on the Spectrum Theatre Facebook page and paperbarks.com.au for the ticket release date.

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Indie rockers find home on the road

IT SEEMS home is never far from the collective mind of Sydney indie-rock group Caravana Sun, even when they’re on the other side of the world.

The four-piece band will return to their south west roots next week to kickstart their Silver Linings Australian tour, despite having just completed a 21-date European tour last month.

Bassist and singer Ant Beard took a moment to speak with The Weekender ahead of the tour and said he was appreciative of the quick break he’s had at home for the past couple of weeks.

“Europe was pretty exhausting, there was no time to rest,” he said.

“It was our seventh tour there so we had already done a lot of the touristy stuff, so this time was about making the show the best it could be.

“It was an incredible experience.”

Beard said between going to different shows and attractions across Europe, one highlight was a quirky coincidental discovery in the lobby of a German hotel that took his thoughts straight back home.

“You know how hotel lobbies often have pictures of exotic places?” he asked.

“Well, we were walking through a German hotel lobby and I saw this picture, and I said to Luke [guitarist], woah, that’s a pic of Greens Pool!
“It was so bizarre and such a spin-out.”

It was a curious coincidence, as Beard had been thinking about visiting Greens Pool and Elephant Rock when the group would be in Denmark during their tour and how the south west of WA was important to the group, being one of the main reasons they got together in the first place.

It’s also been a location for many Caravana Sun gigs, including the Denmark Arts Market and Boston Brewery.

“We all went to school together, but we were different ages,” he said.

“Luke was performing around for a bit and went over to Margaret River, and he came back and said, ‘wow man, we should play here’ and so we did and it’s led to now.”

Beard said this new Australian tour will be the launching pad for Caravana Sun’s new EP Silver Linings, of which one track is dedicated to a lost friend.

Come Back was released in early August and Beard said it was already one of their most successful songs in the group’s 10-year history.

“Come Back is about losing a close loved one, and the immediate time after losing them,” he said.

“We went surfing with a uni mate in Indonesia and he lost his life while surfing… the song is about his family and his community, and having his essence in it.

“There’s something special about capturing a feeling in a song.”

Beard is looking forward to performing the new EP live across the country and said he will be taking the opportunity to catch up with old friends between shows.

“It’ll be great to get back out on the road,” he said.

“We are a grassroots band, so a lot of our music is written for live shows and written while we’re out on the road.

“It’ll be great to reconnect with friends and family too; we have lots scattered around Australia.”

Tickets to Caravana Sun’s Denmark Civic Centre performance on September 14 are available to all ages and because of this, Beard encourages the community to bring their families out for the show.

You can purchase tickets by visiting caravanasun.com/tour and following the prompts to Oztix.

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Lennon’s life stirs Waters

AUSTRALIAN actor and musician John Waters says he has no intention of “being” Beatles superstar John Lennon when he’s up on stage during his show Lennon – Through a Glass Onion in Albany next month.

The 69-year-old has been performing Lennon’s and The Beatles’ songs alongside pianist and singer Stewart D’Arrietta for 25 years and has done so for his pure love of British rock music.

He says the “interpretive” concert takes the audience on a “mental journey” of Lennon’s life, rather than delivering music in the format of a tribute band, and says he still enjoys it just as much as when he designed the show in the 1990s.

“When everything goes dark and the lights come on us, we are in a different world and I love that,” he said of performing the show.

“People have said it’s as if they are sitting down with [Lennon] and are having a beer or cup of tea with him.

“It’s had a lot more impact on people than I thought it would.”

Waters acknowledged he was treading on “sacred territory” by performing Lennon’s songs, but said he wanted to preserve the music legend’s memory in one way, shape or form.

“In late 1991, I wanted to go back to being a singer and musician,” he said.

“Lennon made a big impression on me when I was 16 during the British rock scene, and after he died, I realised nothing had been done on him since then.

“But we aren’t a cover act; I appear as myself and I channel his voice, and the thoughts flashing through his head.

“I don’t claim to be John Lennon.

“I imagine the way he thought about his music.”

Tickets to the September 18 performance can be purchased at the Albany Entertainment Centre box office or online via Ticketek.

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Coasting to Sydney

SHOTS of the South Coast made it to one of Sydney’s most prestigious exhibition spaces last week thanks to Perth music and travel photographer Jarrad Seng.

Denmark’s Elephant Rocks, Lake Hillier off the coast of Esperance, The Gap in Albany are some of the locations Seng visited to create The Edge: Margaret River and Beyond.

The images hung on the walls of the Hyatt Regency Sydney for a month, from July 9 to August 2.

While boarding a plane to Brazil, the photographer and ex-Survivor contestant told The Weekender he enjoyed his trips to Southern WA, armed with his Canon 5D and a handful of lenses.

“I travel all over the world in search of nature’s hidden gems,” he said.

“The truth is, there is so much to see in our own backyard that holds up against the world’s best.

“I loved the road trip down to Esperance; there’s so much diversity and rugged beauty in this region.

“I mean, when you think of the region, you might automatically conjure up images of pretty wineries and golden sunsets, and yes, that is all there, but I think the real heart of it is the raw nature.

“Crashing waves against the cliff side at The Gap, the breathtaking Lake Hillier tucked away in the deep south, the raw beauty of Elephant Rocks in Denmark … it really does feel like we live on the edge of the world.”

Seng’s exploration of the South Coastal rugged terrain was not his first tangle with a challenging scenario, having chased sunsets, artists and wildlife across the world to get the perfect snap.

He’s conquered early morning missions in the freezing cold, hunting the Aurora, rooftop heights, five-day Vietnamese cave hikes and a nudie run down Perth’s Hay Street to do what he does best.

“As of this year, photography has taken me to all seven continents, Antarctica being the final piece of the puzzle,” he said.

“It’s amazing to realise that a humble camera in my hand has taken me all around the world, from the plains of the Serengeti to the northern lights of Iceland.”

He said it was the craziness of photography that kept him going.

“Whether it’s backstage at a rock show or in the middle of the Namibian desert, I find myself most creatively inspired amidst the unknown,” he said.

“I mean, it’s often quite scary and anxiety inducing and very stressful, but that’s where the fun begins.”

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Artistic mecca

ALBANY’S historic York House on lower York Street has undergone a facelift and is now home to the city’s newest art exhibition space.

Blush Retail Gallery is the brainchild of local artist and businesswoman Angie Fryer-Smith and is an idea she has had whirling around her head for the past three years.

After the closure of her previous business in the same building, Ms Fryer- Smith said the building received eight months of extensive renovation before she reopened the doors last week.

Now, the lower level of York House has three sections, each with trapeze lighting, spotlighting, the capacity to hang artwork on the walls and sporting a fresh lick of paint.

Ms Fryer-Smith said her aim is to focus on Great Southern artists and showcase the “amazing local talent” popping up around every nook and cranny in town.

She said exhibitions in Blush Retail Gallery will rotate every four to five weeks and all artworks on display will be for sale.

“We wanted to keep the building in retail, to keep the street having a retail focus,” she said.

“I didn’t do much research before we opened because we just wanted to do our own thing, and keep the space free and simple.”

The gallery’s first exhibition is a collaboration between Ms Fryer-Smith and artists Cynthia Corr, Marjan Bakhtiarikish and Ron Baker, called La Dolce Vita.

The fitting Italian name ties in with Bakhtiarikish and Baker’s Mediterranean artistic influences, having both received professional training in Florence in their respective portrait and still life genres.

Ms Fryer-Smith is excited for the new gallery to become an art hot spot as well as an area for pop-up venues to setup shop.

“It would be fantastic for Albany if it became a food, wine and art mecca,” she said.

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Paperbark writer speaks

ALBANY author Dianne Wolfer took a ‘breather’ from her hectic writing schedule on Saturday morning to set up camp at Paperbark Merchants, chat to fans and sign
copies of her latest novel.

The Dog with Seven Names has been a three-year project for Wolfer, requiring hours upon hours of historic and anthropomorphic research to get all the finer details just right.

The story is told from the perspective of a dog caught up among the drama and fear in north-western Australia during World War II.

The little Australian terrier-dingo cross is the runt of the litter and after her first owner is forced to leave the pooch behind when evacuating, the dog travels with different people and gains seven different names.

“It’s been massive,” Wolfer said.

“There was so much research.

“And it’s been really interesting, because I didn’t realise how far south was bombed in Australia during the war.”

Ms Wolfer said she embraced her inner animal to see the world through the eyes of a four-legged fur ball while doing her research.

“I had to tell the story by scent and hearing,” she said.

“So, I had to smell the Pilbara and hear what the wind sounds like, because Dog would know the history through scent and smell.

“That was the fun part but it was hard, because I had to try and not make it cliché.”

Wolfer said The Dog with Seven Names was due for release in August, but was pushed forward a month, meaning she’s had two books published in three months.

“It’s really unusual, so I’m just trying to catch my breath now!” she said.

Wolfer said amidst preparing for her state-wide tour for Book Week and heading to Sydney to be a guest speaker for The Kids Book of the Year Event, she is ‘going back’ to a story she started 10 years ago to see where it takes her.

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Dance gong beckons

THE Great Southern is making waves in the dance industry with Denmark choreographer Annette Carmichael now in the running to take out Most Outstanding Achievement in Community Dance at the prestigious Australian Dance Awards.

Carmichael is up for her work The Beauty Index, which debuted at last year’s Denmark Festival of Voice.

The dance production featured 15 men from the Great Southern and was kept heavily under wraps until its reveal at the festival when it was performed at Denmark’s Old Mill site.

Carmichael is one of four shortlisted choreographers from across the country in the award category.

She said she jumped for joy after receiving news of the award and rushed to tell her loved ones.

“I was sitting in my pyjamas checking emails,” Carmichael remembered.

“I was feeling fairly exhausted after a few weeks of long rehearsals and then the news hit.

“I jumped up, cried a few tears of joy and ran and told my husband and kids.

“The exhaustion just melted away!

“Then, I had the happy task of sharing the news with all the performers and creative team. I think we were all a bit stunned.”

Carmichael said the shortlisting is a huge accolade for her group of performers and artists and said she’s proud of her team’s efforts.

“It’s a major achievement and means more opportunities for not only myself, but for the regional artists and communities that I collaborate with,” she said.

“I share this honour with my close collaborator and sound designer, James Gentle.

“We have created a number of performances together and this shortlisting tells us we are on the right path.”

Carmichael is continuing that performance path with the second and third instalments of The Beauty Index currently underway.

A Light Shade of Red is already in rehearsals and will feature young men and women from across the region.

It will be performed at the Albany Entertainment Centre in October.

Carmichael is also now on the lookout for 200 women to take part in the final chapter of the series, Chorus, to be performed in 2020.

“This trilogy of works has been consuming our lives for years, and making the awards shortlist just encourages us to keep going,” she said.

“Any women interested in being part of Chorus should subscribe to our e-news or go to annettecarmichael.com.au.”

The winners of the Australian Dance Awards will be announced at a ceremony in Brisbane in September.

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Ferraris trump Racewar of words

WORD of a Ferrari run up Marine Drive to the glamorous Garrison Restaurant left heated critique of the Racewars rev-fest floundering in its wake at a council pow-wow on Tuesday night.

At the City of Albany’s monthly Community and Corporate Services Committee meeting, Acting Council CEO Michael Cole revealed Marine Drive would be closed in “a couple of weeks” for a Ferrari time trial to test the tarmac for the introduction of a full-blown Ferrari ascent during Racewars 2019.

Amid claims by Deputy Mayor Greg Stocks that the council could do more to support Racewars, Councillor Rob Sutton nominated facilitation of the planned “Ferrari Club hill climb” as one instance of the City paving the way.

Mr Cole said City staff “had gone out of their way” to make Racewars a winner, including allowing high performance street machines to motor down the runway of Albany’s City-owned airport.

“The fact they can run down that strip on a long weekend – unheard of,” he observed of the Labour Day speed-fest.

But Alison Goode – who from 1999 to 2007 was the City’s first mayor – ripped into an economic benefit figure for Racewars provided by City Governance and Risk Manager Stuart Jamieson.

Cr Goode dubbed the $5.3 million economic benefit figure “nonsense” and “ridiculous” based on the 9000-plus people estimated to have attended the event.

“I don’t know what your magi- cal figure is, but it’s an insult,” Cr Goode told Mr Cole.

“I’ll take that on board, Councillor,” Mr Cole said before assuring the former mayor the figures were based on “sound modelling”.

A recommendation that the Council receive Mr Jamieson’s evaluation of Racewars 2018 – and con- sider extra cash or in-kind funding – was endorsed nine councillors to two, with Crs Goode and Tracy Sleeman voting against.

Pic: Albany motor enthusiast Joe Baker’s sleek 1986 Ferrari Mondial 3.2. Photo: Grace Jones

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Swing kings rule

A FULL house, a roaring encore and a standing ovation proved the rumour mill right – Evan Ayres and The Swing Kings could be Albany’s next ‘big thing’.

The teenage band, consisting of Ayres on lead vocals and guitar, Bonnie Staude and Mollie Hare on backup vocals, Bryce Taylor on trumpet, Anna Leach on saxophone, Hunter Ewen on trombone and Jeremy Staude on drums, blew their audience away on Saturday night with a knock-out performance of their debut EP and various swing and jazz covers.

Despite the various crowd interjections calling for Ayres’ inner Elvis Presley to surface – which he revealed on-stage at WAAPA’s Radio Active concert last year – the budding superstar kept true to his original work and favoured swing and jazz genres.

‘In Love With You’, ‘Unless It’s With You’ and ‘I’m In Love’ proved a massive success with the audience, with each song receiving a tidal wave of applause and showcasing the multi-faceted talent that Ayres offers.

His crooning voice set hearts of all ages aflutter and brought back the nostalgia of first loves, lost loves and forever loves.

He did not falter throughout the entire performance, and along with his band’s additional fun banter, the EP launch was everything a person could ask for in a swing show.

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Busy Harvest calendar

A BIT of every type of cinema is on the agenda next month for Film Harvest Great Southern.

The June calendar will wind up next week with Aurore on June 27, an arthouse comedy about a recently separated 50-year-old who rekindles the spark between herself and the love of her teenage life.

Lost in Paris will play on July 4 and tells the story of a small-town librarian who goes on a wild goose chase to find her aunt, who has mysteriously vanished after writing her niece a letter of distress.

Edie screens on July 11, and this drama stars an elderly lady who escapes her colourless English life for a climbing adventure up Mount Suilven in Scotland.

Brothers’ Nest is on July 18 and has been labelled a ‘dark comedy’.

The film follows two brothers intent on killing their new stepdad, who is about to inherit everything their sick mum has in a new will.

To wrap up July, Two is a Family will play on July 25.

It tells the story of a man whose A-lister life is turned upside down when his infant daughter is given to him by an ex-lover.

After failed attempts to return the baby to his ex, Samuel decides to raise his little girl.

His relationship with his daughter is tested eight years later when the girl’s mother unexpectedly shows up.

All films commence at 6.15pm on their respective Wednesday nights at Orana Cinemas.

Tickets can be purchased online at oranacinemas.com.au or at the box office, and cost $16 for adults, and $13 for seniors and children.

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