Oh dear. I need a new job.
Because the 2008 Adelaide Festival of Arts is going to cost me a ton of money. And a kidney.
That’s not to say that the ticket prices are hellishly expensive – although there are a fair few more $100+ prices to be found. It’s just that there’s very, very little in the programme that I don’t want to see.
The launch – attended by a third-full Festival Theatre – got off to a dry start; Ross Adler and an Adelaide Bank chap rolled out the usual platitudes, before Mike Rann came out to officially launch the Festival. It’s the first time I’ve ever paid attention to Rann (or “Media Mike”, as my Dad loves to sneer) speak… he’s constantly flipping pages of his pre-written material every 10-15 words. Bloody good speaker, though.
And then came (Artistic Director) Brett Sheehy – first introducing the 2008 motto “what are you seeing?”, and following up with the iconic sculpture that will adorn Festival press everywhere, a fantastically playful amorphous blob called go, you little dynamo, go. And, pausing just twice for well-deserved sips of water, he talked with vim and enthusiasm about pretty much every performance on the programme. Forty-five minutes straight.
And it was genuinely exciting! The opera Ainadamar looks to be the flagship production this year, DBR & The Mission sounds like it’s going to be a storming lead on the musical front (with Dharma at Big Sur following closely), the crowd behind 2006’s Nora return with another re-working, this time of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Brink have another promising production (When The Rain Stops Falling), there’s a fantastic sounding Indian/Sri Lankan Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the dance piece to book early will be Sacred Monsters (which actually elicited excited yelps from the audience). And much much much much more…
Potential duds? Well, yes; a piece focussed on the Dunstan reformist years? Not so interesting. A Chinese junk cruising up and down the Torrens? Ho hum. The Living Books project? Fraught with danger. But they could all be eclipsed – for better or worse, if you catch my drift – by the Leonard Cohen / Philip Glass collaboration “Book of Longing”… that’s either going to be 100% pure genius or mass-suicide material.
A lot was made of the efforts to produce the first Australian (and third world-wide?) carbon-neutral Festival; a noble goal, for sure, but it didn’t get off to a promising start with all the Guides and posters being handed out as soon as the official Launch was over. Then again, I was there saying “one of each, please”, so I’m part of the problem. (Nice to see my name in the Guide again, too – pg 68, right across from Brett Sheehy ;)
And with that, all that remains is scheduling and earning and booking and paying off Visa and earning and paying off Visa and waiting… and on the 29th of February, lazing around the Persian Garden in hazy expectant delirium. Oh yes, I cannot wait :)