Aussie Cosi more subversive than sexist, says Sharman

Original Article >
Bryce Hallett
November 18, 2009

Director Jim Sharman aims to mine the emotional depths of Mozart’s opera.

BORN into the world of travelling sideshows, Jim Sharman – the director who captivated audiences with HairJesus Christ Superstar and The Rocky Horror Picture Show – is attempting to unearth the contradictory emotions and uneasy truths at the core of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte.

“It has been conceived in a burst of confetti,” says Sharman of his starkly expressive staging for Opera Australia. ”I want to communicate both the surface and substance of the piece. Usually you get one or the other. There is a brash theatrical side and a poetic side which can prove elusive.”

Sharman has spent many months investigating the life and times of Mozart and his librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte, with whom he also wrote The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni. “Their work revealed the yearning, humanity and wisdom beneath the lightness and artifice,” he says.

Early in its history, Cosi fan tutte was denounced for its morals and misogyny, notably by one Berlin critic who described it as “the silliest rubbish in the world; it only gets an audience because of the splendid music”.

Sharman says it is a popular misconception to dismiss the opera as easy listening. “It’s a serious comedy driven by betrayal; not just the young women but the men as well,” he says. ”It’s confronting and, I think, emotionally subversive.”

Sharman is very much the tribal elder on the set of Cosi. More a paternalistic cajoler than autocrat, he likes nothing better than young artists venturing ideas and taking risks, much as he did in his theatrical adventures in the ’70s.

The production, opening at the State Theatre tomorrow, was to have been his second collaboration with the OA’s late music director, Richard Hickox. Hickox had planned to join forces with Sharman after the success of their revival of Benjamin Britten’sDeath in Venice in 2006. They felt that the time was ripe for a popular and sophisticated interpretation of Cosi fan tutte.

Sharman began to recruit talented, open-minded practitioners and performers. His hand-picked creative team includes Belvoir Theatre’s new director, Ralph Myers (set), Gabriela Tylesova (costumes), Damien Cooper (lighting) and Joshua Consandine (choreographer).

They have conjured a fluid, minimalist, playful void – Myers likens his set to a loudhailer – to display a new generation of Mozart singers who, in Sharman’s view, promise to be the company’s great future singers. They include Sian Pendry, Hye Seoung Kwon and Tiffany Speight, alongside Henry Choo and Jose Carbo.

The production has been dubbed “Aussie Cosi” by actor/video cameraman David Ford on YouTube. The show’s pulse and flavour is distinctly Australian, yet there are passing nods to 18th century conventions to avoid anything too kitsch.

Early on there was vague talk of a barbecue in the Japanese wedding and party scene in the performance. The ceremony, inspired by a video wedding in the Botanic Gardens, remains but the barbecue idea was jettisoned.

Baritone Carbo plays the world-weary manipulator Don Alfonso, who sets the masquerades in motion. “I see the character as more avuncular than arch and the way Jim is approaching the piece feels natural and organic,” he says. ”He is trusting and affords all the singers the freedom and scope to develop [a character].”

Cosi fan tutte opens at the State Theatre tomorrow.

Sydney’s up and coming actors tell it like it is

BY MELINDA WILLS MCHUGH

Melinda Wills McHugh caught up with three local up-and-comers to found out why they do it.

Daniel Lissing:

“I really needed that coffee,” Daniel Lissing, 27, said as he waited to board his 7am flight. “I finished a gig at midnight and was up again at five.” A musician and actor, Lissing juggles playing three nights a week at Sydney establishments Sidebar and Equilibrium as well as corporate gigs and television and film work.

He arrived back from LA three weeks ago, and today he’s travelling to a three-day shoot for a Heaven Ice Cream television commercial.

“When I did the audition, I didn’t think I was right but I ended up getting it. That’s the thing with auditions – you never know. From there it was all very quick. It was confirmed and two days later, here I am.”

His first role was in 1988 when he scored a 50-worder in Looking for Alibrandi. Since then he’s appeared in many television commercials, won guest roles in Underbelly: a Tale of Two Cities (9) and Packed to the Rafters (7), and taken the lead in a 2008 short film Multiple Choice, directed by Michael Goode.

Although commercials and guest roles are a good source of income, they are not constant, so Lissing’s bread and butter comes from his gigs.

A gifted musician – he sings, writes songs and plays guitar. But he’s the first to admit that following his passion has its downsides.

“Unfortunately I’ve chosen a career that’s really tough to have true longevity and financial success. There are a lot of actors and musicians out there.

‘‘But for me, it’s not about being on TV, it’s about the work. I get such a buzz being on set and I know this is what I was meant to do. Same with music.

“If I had an opportunity to write, record and release an album – that would be great. But I know how much work is involved, as well as luck and patience.”

At 18, Lissing was in a band which later broke up, but his manager at the time gave him a piece of paper with five words scrawled on it.

“He called it the ‘Five P Rule’. The five Ps are positivity, perseverance, patience, persistence, pleasure … actually I can’t remember, I think that’s wrong. I just made the last two up … but anyway words along those lines,” he said.

David Joshua Ford:

At 191cm tall David Joshua Ford was hard to ignore and when we first met in the foyer of a University of Technology building I couldn’t help commenting on it. “Yeah, I get that all the time,” he said. So it came as no surprise to learn that he’s been working as a model for the past two years.

But today he’s auditioning for the role of Brendan in White Elephant, a graduating short film to be shot later in the year. It doesn’t pay anything but it would be a good addition to his show reel and if entered into a short film festival it could potentially elevate his acting status. If he does get the role it will be his fourth short film this year. “Many of the short films I’ve been involved in I’ve found on a casting website. But I always pick my scripts very carefully. White Elephant’s script was appealing and I have a feeling that the quality of this production will be very good.”

At 25, Canberra-raised Joshua Ford has already achieved more than most people twice his age. To model and actor he can also add presenter, producer, writer and photographer to his list of accomplishments. From TV presenting roles (including ABC2’s travel show Fanging It); a role on a Maybelline International TV commercial; a producer and presenter on Channel 31’s Scout TV; a photographer for Sony Tropfest 08; a writer/director for the 2006 short film (and Hope Awards finalist) Sacred Space – the list goes on.

He’s soon asked to deliver Brendan’s two lines. It’s not much to work on but the director knows what he’s looking for and Joshua Ford’s impressive bio should fill in the gaps. “I don’t know if I got that one or not, it’s hard to tell,” he said later. “Sometimes you think you go well and don’t get a call back, while other times it’s the complete opposite. The knockbacks are hard, particularly when you know you’ve done well but they’re considering someone else for the role based on their look.’‘

With an income from modelling and TV presenting, Joshua Ford’s next gig is a role in Cosi fan Tutte at the Sydney Opera House (until October 29). “It’s the ultimate crossover role of videographer and actor. I’m one of the characters on the stage and the stuff that I’m shooting will be projected onto the back of the stage,” he said.

Kym Thorne:

Kym Thorne was running through her lines for her Scrubs audition tape in a Surry Hills studio. Her American accent was flawless and hearing her you’d think she was born and bred in the US, not Australia. When she saw me she broke from character, said hello in her Aussie accent and welcomed me to her audition.

Thorne was taping two very different scenes for Scrubs – they’re both fast and funny, and her comedic timing was brilliant. Her face held a wide range of expressions and everything seemed to move, including her eyebrows. “Hold on,” she said. “I’ve just got to put some glossaroony on, then I’m going to chuck in a bit of Oziness into the next one, just for fun.” She started the scene again and improvised. Afterwards we strolled through the streets of Surry Hills and I asked her how she thought her audition tape would go. “Well I’ve been reading for US projects for just over a year now and have been working on my American accent with a voice coach. I haven’t done a lot of comedy but I really enjoy it. It can be a genre that’s really difficult if you’re not used to it as it’s a very fast tempo.’’ Now that the preparation and audition is down on tape, all Thorne can do is wait. It could be days, weeks or even months. At 22, Thorne seems older than her years and while studying at Edith Cowan University in her hometown of Perth, her first acting role was the lead in the 2006 Western Australian Academy of Professional Arts project, Busted. But it was only in January when she won the lead in the feature film Wasted on the Young that she got serious about acting.

Thorne and Lissing have won the lead and supporting role, respectively, in Callous – a new feature film. Lissing is also writing and performing the score and theme music. Written and directed by Alan Lock, Callous is being shot in Sydney.

Original Article…

Cosi fan tutte

Original article >

September 22nd 2009 8:32 am | Theatre | Review – By Diana Simmonds

Joyous wizardry of music and theatre

CosiCosi fan tutte, Opera Australia at the Sydney Opera House, 17 September-29 October 2009; www.opera-australia.org.au. Images here by Branco Gaica.

JIM SHARMAN is a name that immediately causes a frisson of interest and excitement when announced in tandem with the words “new production”. And especially when it’s a new production of a favourite warhorse such as Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte.

Sharman the showman – or shaman, take your pick – is a cerebral yet joyously visual wizard of theatre. He is still best known for groundbreaking musicals Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar and, most significantly, The Rocky Horror Show (then the movie adaptation, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but also in his portmanteau of credits are such productions as Voss and Death in Veniceplus the most telling of the Patrick White theatrical canon. Glimpses of all are to be found inBlood and Tinsel his memoir, published by Melbourne University Press and highly recommended.

So, that’s what underpins the creative thinking behind this new production of , an opera first staged in 1790, a year before Mozart’s premature death.

And Cosi needs some underpinning in the 21st century because it’s what could be termed aproblematic piece. In essence, a couple of young men, Ferrando (Henry Choo) and Guglielmo (Shane Lowrencev) are goaded by an older, more cynical man, suave operator Don Alfonso (Jose Carbo) into trying to prove to themselves and each other that their true loves will be faithless hussies the minute their backs are turned.

Given that Cosi is subtitled “The School for Lovers”, it’s debatable what the quartet is supposed to – and does – learn. Ferrando and Guglielmo are officers, about to strap on swords and go off to war. Their tearful girlfriends, Dorabella (Sian Pendry) and Fiordiligi (Rachelle Durkin) swear eternal love and constancy and are offended by the suggestion that either might waver. Don Alfonso, aided and abetted by the pragmatic Despina (Tiffany Speight) knows better and bets to win on their weakness.

Boys being boys – and, let’s face it – boys knowing all too well how they would behave in similar circumstances, take the bet, then assume disguises and set out to do the dirty on each other and their girls. So, when the girls eventually succumb to temptation and Despina’s sageadvice that, as blokes have known for millennia, love and sex are not the same thing, the lads have their prejudices confirmed and – one could argue – learn nothing.

For their part, Dorabella and Fiordiligi learn that in keeping with the patriarchal constructs of all the best opera, the status quo will prevail: bad girls or lower class girls will pay the price and society’s norms will be upheld. (Think La Boheme, Madama Butterfly, La Traviata etc.) The best they can hope for, therefore, is to be truly sorry for behaving like young blades and, if they’re lucky, their young blades will deign to forgive them and True Love will be theirs once more.

Sharman’s cast is beautifully balanced in this dubious endeavour: Lowrencev is tall and gangly – and, when in disguise with lank dark locks, uncannily resembles art and philanthropy maven Brian Sherman, (who was in the opening night audience). Yet Lowrencev is a fine vocal and visual foil for Choo: a spunky chunk whose tenor voice would make an angel swoon. Similarly, Pendry and Durkin are thoroughly modern young opera singers: they are plausible as the local hot chicks, and they act well; their voices intertwining in moments of harmonic loveliness. While as the saucy sceptic Despina, Tiffany Speight is a deservedly confident scene-stealer and the comedic heart of the piece.

Ironically, if there is a weak link in the line-up it’s Jose Carbo. He’s simply too attractive, visually and vocally, to totally convince as the world-weary bastard Don Alfonso ought to be. If anything, it’s hard to suppress the thought that the women would be way better off making a play for him rather than sticking with their coltish boyfriends.

For modern audiences, well some of us anyway, there are a few problems with the idea of Cosias a mere romp and whimsical depiction of the battle of the sexes. There is a core of misogyny and misanthropy beneath the frothy surface that can and should be addressed. Sharman throws up some interesting diversionary tactics through the design and costumes concept. Gone is any hint of the Enlightenment elegance and deception of the old Oberle/Jarfeldt production. Instead there are layer upon layer of observers – of The Gaze. (Pause here to check out your visual and feminist theory text books.)

The audience gazes at the action on stage, a roving video camera (actor/video cameraman David Ford) enables a directorial gaze at specific aspects of the action; a tiny icing sugar couple on a traditional multi-tiered wedding cake gaze at the antics of the wedding party and are mirrored in a Japanese tourist wedding couple whose fate it is to gaze (and learn?) while simultaneously being the object of the audience gaze. For most of Cosi the chorus is also in the position of observer – at a tenuously staged wedding celebration, upstage, as the lovers and their teasers go about the business of fickleness downstage. And so it goes. It’s a disconcerting, unsettling series of usually unconsidered human traits which suddenly become disconcerting and unsettling when the objectivity of The Gaze is turned on them.

In this way substance is suggested and toyed with in a mainly pleasingly distracting fashion, but that’s as far as it goes. In a recent interview with Bryce Hallett (SMH) Sharman said, “It’s a serious comedy driven by betrayal, not just the young women but the men as well. It’s confronting and, I think, emotionally subversive.” Yes, but a funny thing happened on the way to realising that thought and it somehow disappeared in a finale of social power restored. (Commentator and Stagenoise contributor Caroline Baum has noted that in Jonathan Miller’s recent London production of Cosi the closing moments see the lovers acknowledge reality and depart in four separate directions.) Now that’s subversion.

Absence of profound subversion and thoughts aside, Sharman’s creative team has conjured a determinedly fresh interpretation of the opera, which was long overdue and welcome. It is sung in English in a quirky, irreverent translation of da Ponte’s original by Jeremy Sams that well suits the overall intent. The orchestra, under Simon Hewett (out of Simone Young by Stuart Challender) is sprightly and responsive to the demands of Mozart and the singers. Costume designer Gabriela Tylesova has gone to town on a succession of extravagant and witty feasts for the eye. She has heeded Sharman’s call for colour and movement and the contrast with Ralph Myers simple, steeply raked, white abstract set is arresting.

Ultimately, however, the production belongs to the singers and in this instance the six principals, Tiffany Speight, Jose Carbo, Henry Choo, Sian Pendry, Rachelle Durkin and Shane Lowrencev, can and do pick up and and carry the weight with ease and sure delight. It’s a pleasure to spend three hours in their company and the freshly minted spontaneity on stage is a tribute to them and Jim Sharman.

Cosi fan tutte conceived in a burst of confetti

ORIGINAL ARTICLE →

Bryce Hallett
September 16, 2009

JIM SHARMAN jumps to his feet and scuttles up a steeply-raked floor that skateboarders would covet. The slope stands in the centre of Marrickville Town Hall’s grand assembly chamber where the showman’s modern take on Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte is taking shape.

Born into the world of travelling sideshows, the theatre and opera director who captivated audiences with Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar and The Rocky Horror Picture Show is attempting to unearth the contradictory emotions and uneasy truths at the core of the opera buffa’s seductive score. “It has been conceived in a burst of confetti,” says Sharman of his starkly expressive staging for Opera Australia. “I want to communicate both the surface and substance of the piece. Usually you get one or the other. There is a brash theatrical side and a poetic side which can prove elusive. It shifts from the cartoonish to a work of great emotional depth and a revelation about love and desire not being mutually exclusive.”

Sharman has spent many months investigating the life and times of Mozart and his librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte with whom he also wrote The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni. “Their work revealed the yearning, humanity and wisdom beneath the lightness and artifice.”

Early in its history, however, Cosi fan tutte was admonished for its morals and misogyny, notably by one Berlin critic who described it as “the silliest rubbish in the world; it only gets an audience because of the splendid music”. Sharman says it’s a popular misconception to dismiss the opera as easy listening. He argues the opposite. “It’s a serious comedy driven by betrayal, not just the young women but the men as well. It’s confronting and, I think, emotionally subversive.”

During rehearsal the director sticks to his long-held maxim: to stage the classics as though they’ve just arrived in the post and to treat new operas and plays like classics. The production will be sung in English in a translation by Jeremy Sams.

First performed in Vienna in 1790, Cosi comes from the age of reason to speak to an age of uncertainty, says Sharman, who proves to be as methodical as he is spontaneous. “It fell out of favour for a long period before recapturing the public imagination after World War I. The terrorist attacks of September 11 made it popular again. It’s now one of the most performed operas in the world.”

Mozart wrote Cosi in his mid-30s and the director has gathered a troupe of similar-aged creators and performers to re-energise the work at a time when Opera Australia itself has faced great uncertainty and is undergoing change. “After a choppy period, Cosi and Peter Grimes [opening in October] offer a sense of renewal [at OA] and a sign that the ground is beginning to shift in its culture,” Sharman says.

Subtitled The School for Lovers, the opera begins with the officers Ferrando and Guglielmo claiming that their two lovers, Dorabella and Fiordiligi, will be eternally faithful. Their confidant Don Alfonso lays a wager to test their allegiance. What begins as a sparkling romp with ample throws of confetti darkens into a morally ambiguous rite of passage.

Sharman, who directed the operas Voss and Death in Venice, is very much the tribal elder on the set of Cosi. More a paternalistic cajoler than autocrat, he likes nothing better than young artists venturing ideas and taking risks, much as he did in his liberating theatrical adventures in the ’70s.

Opening at the Opera House this week, the production was to have been his second collaboration with the OA’s music director Richard Hickox, until his death last November amid a controversial debate about musical standards and the alleged neglect of mature female singers. Hickox had planned to join forces with Sharman after the success of their revival of Benjamin Britten’s Death in Venice in 2006. They felt that the time was ripe for a popular and sophisticated interpretation of Cosi fan tutte. (The OA last staged the opera in a revival of a Goran Jarvefelt production in 2005.)

Sharman began to recruit talented, open-minded practitioners and performers. His hand-picked creative team includes Ralph Myers (set), Gabriela Tylesova (costumes), Damien Cooper (lighting) and Joshua Consandine (choreographer). They have conspired to conjure a fluid, minimalist, playful void – Myers likens his set to a loudhailer – to showcase a new generation of Mozart singers who, in Sharman’s view, promise to be the company’s great future singers. They are Sian Pendry, Rachelle Durkin and Tiffany Speight, all of whom star in Benedict Andrew’s version of The Marriage of Figaro for OA next year, and Henry Choo and Shane Lowrencev.

A vital element, however, was missing. Who would fill the not inconsiderable breach left by Hickox? Sharman began his most pressing search. He needed a maestro who trusted his vision, if only to avoid the clash of egos for which the opera world, rightly or wrongly, is renowned.

The director heard about Simon Hewett, a young Brisbane-born conductor who had been an assistant to Simone Young at Hamburg Staatsoper and who is firmly establishing a name for himself in Europe as a conductor based in Berlin. Sharman made tracks to France, where Hewett was conducting Mahler’s 3rd Symphony with the notoriously demanding Paris Opera Orchestra. They spent hours discussing Cosi and sharing ideas. The conductor watched a DVD of Sharman’s Voss and was won over by its realistic gestures and dreamscape aesthetic.

“I have been very fortunate in opera to get to work with fine artists and, as it’s turned out, Simon has become the key collaborator on this [production]. If the thinking between a director and conductor is simpatico then the results can be thrilling . . . The most fulfilling relationship for me was working on Voss with [the late conductor] Stuart Challender. I enjoyed his Australian-ness. Watching Simon in rehearsal reminds me of Stuart’s instinctive approach and unwavering control.

“There is a lineage there. Simone Young was an assistant to Stuart Challender and Simon worked as Simone’s assistant . . . He is eloquent and as passionate about making Cosi relevant to a new generation as I am. Mozart is a great seducer and the opera translates well to modernity . . . It is propelled by betrayal and [it] is closely related to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

As the tribe of singers, designers, musicians, production assistants and sundry OA personnel stream into the town hall, there is an air of anticipation at the final raw run of the opera before rehearsals move to the Opera House stage. The production has been dubbed “Aussie Cosi” by actor/video cameraman David Ford on YouTube. The show’s pulse and flavour is distinctly Australian, yet there are passing nods to 18th century conventions to avoid anything too kitsch. Early on there was vague mention of a barbecue complete with sausages in the Japanese wedding and party scene that happens upstage during the performance. The ceremony, inspired by a video wedding in the Botanic Gardens, remains but the barbecue idea was jettisoned.

A stage manager loudly declares that time is of the essence. “Today we want to do the whole opera without stopping if we can.” OA chief executive Adrian Collette murmurs, “Let’s rock ‘n’ roll,” as he settles in to watch the three-hour run, as does the company’s assistant music director Tony Legge. The much-admired baritone Jose Carbo plays the world-weary manipulator Don Alfonso, who sets the masquerades in motion. He is relaxed and eager to make a start. “I see the character as more avuncular than arch and the way Jim is approaching the piece feels natural and organic . . . He [Sharman] is trusting and affords all the singers the freedom and scope to develop [a character].”

Dressed in black, the director is almost childlike in his enthusiasm for his players. Hewett sits conducting alongside, his incisive and intuitive engagement with the singers ensuring a lively pace and sharp focus. “I was sceptical about doing it in English but I have come around to the immediacy of the approach and how Jim’s reading stays true and honest to the piece,” says Hewett. “It’s not a journey from innocence to corruption but looks to where the point of betrayal is. It’s an ashen-grey area . . . Mozart conjures sensuality and intensity through dramatic economy.

“Jim’s production offers a sense of realism yet also a suggestion of the theatrical curtain being parted to take the audience into an emotional dreamscape. Hopefully audiences will hear Cosi fan tutte differently in light of this production.”

Cosi fan tutte opens at the Opera House on Thursday.

Compunction

Weighed down
heart sorrow…
the greatest ever known.
Shifting blame,
you would not buy it;
sticks to me
like static balloon.
None to recompense
but you…
none found liable
but I…
A hurting heart
will drive Thorn deeper,
knowing that comfort
gives way to pain
but pursuing regardless.
Addict to Loneliness,
now beyond the grave
I wish the grave undone.
Same throb remains…
same thrust of grief
that pulled me undone before.

It’s a spiraling vulture-culture,
circling corpse remorse.

Unless a seed dies
in tear-stained ground
it remains in solitude.
Sacrifice today
for a future harvest
and see hundreds unfold.

White Stripes

White stripes extend to the vanishing point where darkness swallows the headlights. In nighttime’s cocoon the world shrinks to dashboard dials, Coldplay and the intermittent flash of high-beams. Rhythms of the road seduce his eyes. Roll and flick… refocus – sharp breath.

Already he’s at home, his mind previewing the warm greeting from his father, the welcomed cheer of his friend. He knows where he will drink on Saturday night and who will stay on till Sunday dawn.

A late run home is one more deadline to meet, a challenge to the capability of youth. But as white stripes creep closer, he drifts further away. Cosiness is for the inexperienced and ill-fated. Grinding corrugated lane markers warn of transport’s delicate ecosystem.

He saw the tree, but its placement didn’t register logically. Roll and flick… refocus – sharp breath. Wrench… break.

Squealing overcorrected on two wheels, the metallic shell lifts and sparks across the bitumen, roof forgiving the convex of a second tree.

His right ribcage bears seat-belt abrasions where he had allowed it slip, but more notably, the windscreen’s fragile glass proved stronger than his fragile skull.

Breath is forgotten in the forest’s reverent hush. Only the radiator dares hiss, joined by the distant cries of the ocean.

Hours later I travelled his last white stripes on foot. It was a long walk – traffic jam on my left, youths heedlessly playing cricket on the vacant right. But as I reached the red and blue, the mood grew sombre, I was asked to wait. The chopper spotlight rose like a UFO above the highway crowds and slipped into the heavens. The cricketeers returned to their vehicles and I hurried back to mine as traffic cranked up once more.

Work lights exposed a twisted underbelly, as broken as he who once drove it. I shrank down behind my wheel as I passed, for fear the workmen may see my guilty lurking yawn, and focused especially hard on the white stripes ahead.

The Bower Bird Call

The bleeding, dying, dripping, drying
A cry to wash the wind away
Falling left while floating right
The moon won’t slay the sun tonight

You have left me empty-handed
Stranded by the darkest way
Without return but lost for future
Waiting for a newborn grave

So I sit here, in your eyes
Depleted, defeated
Wrapped in storm and needy
Bright vanity rusted seedy

A mild winter the hardest
Your laughter but an echo
Laid low on the Bower Bird call
Mocks my winded fall

It’s a tumbling personality
Rock-bound glamoured pad
False impressions shattered
Splattered on the Truth

Lingering on the midnight dream
The world was mine and time would lean
To meet the steps I chose to tread
All desired within my means

This has been the longest day
But still the night hides away
Come close to climb within
To dream again, to rest my limb

Affections For You

Affections for you creep up slowly. Like a dream where the roller-coaster falls from its tracks then reappears on course without reason, so my heart explodes without release. Pressure builds and builds, frustratingly so.

To pluck the flower before it blossoms would kill the very beauty it promises. It breaks my heart to leave it there, exposed to the world. Someone may steal it; assuming it were mine at all. Someone may trample it, without me on guard.

When the wind blows my direction, I can sense it’s fragrance… a present reminder of distant travels calling. One midsummer I may return. Amongst the seasonal daisies, my flower will stand tall. 

And now, fully grown, I will take you with me. 

All his own work

Original article >

A Little Bit of Magic stillCharles Sturt University graduate David Ford has won the Great Australian Story Challenge with his short film, A Little Bit of Magic. David graduated this year with a Bachelor of Arts (Television Production), and will now spend three months working with Australian Story at ABC TV. “I have a lot of respect for both the program and the ABC. I feel I have the capacity to make good stories, but it is also knowing how to work within a particular production environment. I don’t know where it will take me or what it will hold but it is looking optimistic.” A Little Bit of Magic tells the story of Cliff Armitage, who had an amazing career change since being involved in the gun control policy formation after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. David says making the film was a challenge “because I was doing the lighting, sound and camera, as well as producing and directing and researching”. Last year David filmed a travelogue documentary about his time spent at an African AIDS orphanage, which airs in July on cable TV in Australia, and later in New Zealand and Indonesia.

Media Note: David Ford is available for interview. Contact CSU Media. The Great Australian Story (GAS) Challenge celebrates 10 years of Australian Story. The major prize is a three-month internship with Australian Story. A Little Bit of Magic will be screened during NSW Stateline program on ABC TV on Friday 2 June at 7.30pm. You can see the five finalists’ work at http://www.abc.net.au/austory/gas/

The Great Australian Story Challenge winners announced

29 May, 2006

Australian Story Banner

After a national search, Australian Story has today announced the two winners of the Great Australian Story (G.A.S.) Challenge.

The major prize of a three-month internship with Australian Story has been awarded to David Ford for his story ‘A Little Bit of Magic’ about the career change of one of the senior figures involved in the gun control policy formation after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre.

Following thousands of online votes, Lisa Maksimovic was chosen as the clear Viewers’ Choice winner for her story ‘Nick’s Gift’, about the fatal shark attack on 18-year old South Australian Nick Peterson. The Viewers’ Choice prize is a $200 ABC Shop gift voucher.

The G.A.S Challenge celebrated 10 years of Australian Story by encouraging the next generation of Australian Story producers and researchers to adopt the program’s personal approach to story telling that has been so well received.

You can still view the entries from the six finalists by clicking on the video links below.

A Little Bit of Magic still

Julianne Deeb – “A Shared Path” (Vic)
Kathleen Dyett – “For Love of Country” (ACT)
David Ford – “A Little Bit of Magic” (NSW)
Harriet Gollan – ” A Burning City Glows” (NSW)
Lisa Maksimovic – “Nick’s Gift” (SA)
Kelly Perks – “Random Acts of Kindness” (Qld)

Original article >

All I Can See

For all I can see
The epitome of me
To release control and cast to the wind
The pressure to understand

Unrest swirls
Twirls and whirls disrupting
A night that could lay still

Aching like a rib-caged dog
Hunger grows and knows no abate
Persistent in its cause to claw
The final grain of hope

Breathe outwards and float inwards
Close my eyes and sigh
Fly in realms not weighed down
By sucking sight and stinging sound

That is hope.
A picture-future
Possible to reach

A tear, unseen, exists nonetheless
Rolls from my gut and rolls
And falls
And when it passes through depths my conscious cannot fathom
It appears once more,
Rolling from my gut, and rolls
And falls

I have tried and fallen through
Took the risk the jump the fall and all
That was promised… was dashed

When You Have Hope

When hope breathes in you
You can open up your window in midwinter
The cold that once ate at your uncovered toes
Now refreshes your lungs

Outside the snow remains deep
But I burn deeper

A Cry For Deeper Love

[I feel like] I was fooling around
With a tattered cloth in the dark

Then someone shone a torch on it
And the media frenzied over it
While I held my breath, hoping
No one would make the obvious statement
‘Look! It’s only a rag!’