Highlights of a Weekend Spent at Melbourne Fringe

Taking advantage of the beautiful warm weather this past weekend, I enjoyed several events within the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

The walking tour instructions allowed me to play!

The walking tour instructions allowed me to play!

On Saturday, I first enjoyed a city walk called TELL ME HOW TO WALK. The walk can be complete at your own pace and at your own free will; just simply download a free app that holds instructions for the walk. The walk begins at Princes bridge by Federation Square and continues through into Birrarung Marr. Along the way, the app’s instructs you to search then stop at landmarks – mostly art statues that reside along the river walk. The instructions also allow looking at the environment around you – smell the air; gaze at the city; run along the path; etc. Then there are reflective questions to answer, which have no right or wrong answers but certainly lead you to the next instruction.

By the end of the walk, I felt humbled by the opportunity to spend a moment basking in the wonderful city of Melbourne. The walk truly reflects the simplicity and power of art – reminding us to take a moment to enjoy and be grateful for our surroundings.

ENDLESS GAIN: 400+ black maneki-nekos (or waving lucky cats)

ENDLESS GAIN: 400+ black maneki-nekos (or waving lucky cats)

Next, I discovered Scratch Warehouse, a community minded mixed art space, with a gallery, theatre, private art studios and library located in North Melbourne. Having only opened 8 months ago, Scratch Warehouse opens its doors as a Melbourne Fringe Festival venue showcasing several art installation projects and live performances including ENDLESS GAIN. ENDLESS GAIN simply showcases a single wall of 400+ black maneki-nekos (or waving lucky cats), courting eternal good fortune. The simple presentation put a smile on my face and let out a delighted chuckle.

Though not part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, but presented inside the Scratch Warehouse, was KRUMP. KRUMP is a photographic exhibition celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Melbourne Krump community by photographer Rachel Main. Photographs introduce members of the community as well as the best in creative dance moments over the 10 years.

On Sunday, I attended an afternoon matinee at La Mama Theatre. For an intensely dark drama that examines what it means to let go of expectations and the past, go see BOCK KILLS HER FATHER.

Performed to a sold out audience, BOCK KILLS HER FATHER is a story set within a single evening of coincidences in which five women together reveal and confront the man they previously looked up to as a father, a teacher and a role model but whom has done them wrong. Through bouts of verbal confrontation four women: Bock, Taylor, D’Agostino and Chambers; reveal their most vulnerable nightmares: Bock’s father, and teacher to Taylor, Chambers and D’Agostino, have raped, neglected and gave broken promises. Continuing his habits, the story reveals a fifth woman, Sarah, who is the man’s current girlfriend and newest victim. The most difficult piece of reality to swallow is the fact that Bock’s father chooses to be a coward by remaining within the safety of his own home and watching the five women verbally and physically attack Sarah.

Performed in true ensemble format, the actors complimented one another’s performance. Each character was clearly defined and individualized through speech patterns, behavioral gestures and costume choices. Complimentary to the performances was the smartly planned direction done by Penny Harpham. Harpham cleverly utilizees the intimate space of the La Mama Theatre by using and defining clear entrances and exits that also provided intriguing lighting effects that created more shadows and added depth to the already dark and eerie setting.

Another outstanding element was the poetic writing by Adam J. A. Cass. If you believe to have seen his name before, you would be correct: Cass is an award-winning playwright, and has two written pieces in this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival, BOCK KILLS HER FATHER and FRACTURED. In BOCK KILLS HER FATHER Cass presents his signature writing style with use of poetic imagery to heighten the important dramatic moments throughout the plot.

The creative team of BOCK KILLS HER FATHER should be proud of their exceptional hard work.

ENDLESS GAIN can be seen at Scratch Warehouse until 4th October.

BOCK KILLS HER FATHER plays at La Mama Theatre until 27th September.

For more information on both events, and to purchase tickets, please visit www.melbournefringe.com.au.