Home' LOTL : January 2005 Contents EVENTS21
There are some stellar attractions at this year's Sydney
Festival: Beth Orton and Martha Wainwright, Deborah
Mailman, Kate Champion, and Dorothy Porter. Australia's most
prominent poet, Porter spoke with LOTL about the opera The
What attracted you to the story of Arthur Stace who
famously chalked Sydney streets with the word 'Eternity'?
Originally it was composer Jonathan Mills's idea, and then for me
it became an opportunity to write my almost a phantasmagorical
nocturne to Sydney. There's different scenes in my libretto from
the Easter Show in the '40s, The Rocks in the '50s, an eternal gay
beat somewhere, The Gap at night ... my kind of private, potent
Sydney. In a way it's my "Five Bells" [by Kenneth Slessor]. It's the
poem I've always wanted to write for Sydney. It's probably very
hubristic for me to talk like this but I've become passionate about
the project. It's going to be a magical and empowering experience
to see it performed at The Opera House because there's so many
water and harbour images, both in the music and in the words.
You wrote much of The Eternity Man in Melbourne, where
you live. Yes. It's easy as a tourist, which I now am, to
sentimentalise Sydney because it's so beautiful. There's an
intoxicating side to Sydney, but there's also a side that is
Does the world of crime, explored in your verse novel
The Monkey's Mask, still draw you? Yes. I'm working on a
new verse novel about a serial child killer and a lesbian who
works in Hollywood as an imaginary worlds expert. It's a
We want Dorothy to do more lesbian content! This is heavy
lesbian content [laughter].
Rumour has it you write to loud rock music. I do, actually. It's
funny because I wrote quite a bit of this libretto to Fat Boy Slim.
And you wrote your verse novel Wild Surmise to P.J. Harvey.
[Laughter] Yes, that's right! It sort of gives me a beat.
Is it difficult going from the privacy of writing verse to the
public life of the theatre? It's very different to what I'm used to
doing by myself. Opera is the ultimate music theatre: the band,
the singers, the sets, and the music is huge. I'm like Cole Porter
interrupting a performance once and saying, "I can't hear my
words." I do the words first so I sort of feel I have a big say in it.
But things can change, they are not nailed down as they are in a
book. The libretto has to ser ve the opera, and I can't be precious
about it. The Eternity Man plays at The Studio, Sydney Opera
House, Jan 20, 21, 24, 26 at 8.15pm. Bookings (02) 9266 4890.
For the full guide visit www.sydneyfestival.org.au
BIGCATS To whet your appetite for Mardi
Gras festival in February, Jo
Northey & Jane Worrallo (DJ
Doctor Jane) of BigCatz Mewzic
invite you to ThunderBird, a
Mardi Gras Festival Launch night
party & fundraiser. It's affordable and offers Healthcare Card
concession, top DJs, different styles of music, and brings
people together from different communities in a safe,
respectful, fun environment. There will be House, Funk n Breaks
upstairs, Dirty ElectroTech downstairs, performances, brilliant
lighting and pool tables. DJs: Kate Monroe, DJ JoSH, Matt
Roberts, Bass Kleph, stAlka, Mark Murphy, Sveta, Doctor Jane,
Annabelle Gaspar, Ken Cloud and N-Zed. ThunderBird, will
donate 50% of profits to the Gay & Lesbian Counselling
Service, Ankali Project and the National Breast Cancer
Foundation Pink Ribbon Campaign. Blast into Mardi Gras
Festival season! ThunderBird at Arq on February 4 -- is Go!
We have two single tickets to give away. Call (02) 8347 1033
on January 4 at 2pm to win.
Comp ticket holders are encouraged to make a donation to collection buckets
on the night.
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