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HELLO PIGGIES. We get down and dirty with The Bloomshed and their meltingly good ⁠Animal Farm⁠. In Intermission we discuss the Venn overlap between this and Barbie. Our second act takes us to the Malthouse for ⁠This is Living⁠ – Ash Flanders ode to chronically ill queers who want to run away to the country (Carla was ATTACKED). And in Coming Soon we recommend the ⁠Pulse⁠ program at Melbourne Fringe and the ⁠REWIRE⁠ program at Geelong Arts Centre. This was a truly joyous return to form, and felt like the before time with a little more existential death rattle thrown in. Our favourite! Long live queer irony as the pathway to pleasure and salvation. Connect with us on twitterfacebookinstagram and our website. 

Connect with us on twitterfacebookinstagram and our website. 

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Production and recording by Carla Donnelly and Philip Thiel
Theme music by ⁠⁠⁠Mark Barrage⁠⁠⁠
Editing by ⁠⁠⁠Shackwest⁠⁠⁠
Cover image Gregory Lorenzutti

Philip: Hello lovely listener and welcome to episode six zero of Across the Aisle. Your go to audio source on the latest theatre, culture and the arts in this corner of the world. It’s great to have you along as we sit down to talk about what we’ve seen and what we loved today. Carla takes me to Northcote for the literally Orwellian Animal Farm reimagined and presented by Bloomshed. Then after intermission, we’ll return together to Malthouse Theatre for This is Living, the latest from writer Ash Flanders and director Matthew Lutton. Buckle up. This pair of works really takes us back to our roots in locally made independent theatre. It’s our bread and butter here at Across the Aisle, and I’m so glad that we get to see it and chew over it together with all of you. My name is Philip Thiel, and I’m joined, as always, by my coastal elite, Carla Donnelly. Carla. Hello.

Carla: Hello, Philip Thiel. How are you?

Philip: I am so well and I sense that. So are you.

Carla: I am. And I love that intro. Like this pair of shows. I’m like, I’m eating my hat a little bit because remember how I was like, theatre is over and now these two shows, I’m just like, wow, I’m feeling feelings. So, let’s talk about them.

Philip: 100%. I’m really excited about this Darebin and Malthouse pairing. So, let’s get down and dirty, I guess, and a little bit milky at Animal Farm. Over to you.

Carla: Thank you. So, this is Animal Farm presented by the Bloomshed. And I actually can’t believe we haven’t done a Bloomshed show on the podcast yet, so this is awesome. So, “Farmer Jones has lost control. The animals of Manor Farm are rising up to seize the means of production, and soon these downtrodden freedom fighters will be ruling the roost themselves. Green Room award winning ensemble. Bloom Shed returned to Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre with an epic rework of George Orwell’s riveting response to the Russian Revolution and the Soviet slide to totalitarianism with their signature satirical style and a political climate that’s ripe for a good roasting”. When is it never? “This bolshy take on Animal Farm will have you ready to storm the barricades yourself”. Wow. So just talk about theatre just exploding a part of me in such a timely fashion or moment. Taking what was sort of frustrated with in the last episode or the last couple of episodes and this is this delivers it you know, why this text? Why now? Why this kind of evergreen… why are these things sometimes so quite evergreen? And I love that this is a children’s story or it was originally a children’s story to kind of unpack, I guess, the kind of full circle that is capitalism or totalitarianism and communism, you know, where they meet in the middle. This production company is so vital and so on the edge of bringing that millennial rage to us or even Gen Z’s. So, with that delivery mechanism is all of these post-postmodern kind of self-awareness using the tools of the masters against us. So, it’s loud, it’s TikTok danceable, it’s got so much mash ups of music, music styles, lighting. It’s like searing on your brain. It moves at a pace that is so fast your brain is scrambled.

Carla: You know, it kind of is delivered in two different screens at once, playing together. And although I find that sensorily, like, incredibly overwhelming, you know, it’s incredibly effective. You know, these are the tools, their language of bringing these concepts to everybody from their generation above. So, in the beginning, I feel are my eyes are my ears are they’re talking so fast, they’re dancing. And, you know, how do they do it? Talking, dancing, running on the spot. Um, it’s so utterly fabulous and overwhelming. But then by like, halfway through, I was just utterly crushed, like, crushed as a human being, you know, like, there’s one side of things where I feel like, isn’t it amazing that we can have these things articulated back to us from a new generation? But isn’t it just so tragic that it’s always the same but like to get really deep for a sequel? And, you know, I apologize, but it’s like I’ve become like a total nihilist over the last maybe five, eight years, and I really don’t have any hope for the human race. And that’s actually been quite freeing. I’ve made it’s made my life very happy and carefree. Not that I don’t try, but this was like, are we forever to live in this loop of like, you know, we move from feudalism. We had the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution, you know, we, we cut off the heads of our masters and now 250, 300 years later, we’re just through back through the cycle again where we have basically like Elon Musk and fucking Bill Gates and the Amazon guy, just like we’re back, we’re back in feudalism. So, like, where do we, how do we break out of this beyond making art? Over to you.

Philip: Right. Thanks. George Orwell. I mean, that’s the, that’s the text.

Carla: Right?

Philip: And re-encountering, these works indeed spins you out into a sense of the universal experience of power, of community, of deception. And it was so remarkable. I agree with you that this group could be so frickin entertaining. Yeah. So sensorily overwhelming and hilarious. Yeah. While absolutely taking us into the heart of this text, it was such a respectful but such a postmodern adaptation. And that’s exactly the kind of work that I think excites both of us the most. In the blurb that you read, there was the phrase signature political style or satirical, I think it was, which is I think the ingredient that makes this work so effective at balancing the darkness with the riveting, compelling and engaging tone of how they presented Australia specifically back to us.

Carla: Yes. Yes.

Philip: Even in the first half set on the farm. Indeed. Like there were little jabs at or imitations of Julia Gillard’s misogyny speech or Pauline Hanson’s three-word slogans taking us into with Aussie accents. A real local exploration of the meaning of these grandiose and tragic themes for us. And I have to say that the second half at some kind of Senate subcommittee hearing was some of the best satire I’ve seen anywhere on Canberra and young federal political staffer types and how completely screwed up even that stuff is, which again takes us back to the whole point being made in the novel, which is that wherever you are, whatever ideals you hold to be true, that’s your point of highest vulnerability. That’s the point at which you’re going to be screwed up the most powerfully. So, you know, I’ve been propagandized by growing up in a state school in Australia to hold the Parliament of Australia to be a place full of hope and light and potential. And here I’m facing it with this amazingly grandiose, symmetrical set as my oppressor. You know, by the end of the play with these disgusting, brown suited Canberra people having their chardonnay at the back of the stage as essentially everything goes to hell as the farm is destroyed and the elitist pigs escape in a helicopter. So like you, I was just very affected by this. And I think the success of the show, as you say, was because of how contemporary it was and how fully this company embraced the possibilities even of something as simple as the microphone. As a lover of classical music and opera, the debates about sort of amplification or not a pretty stolid, but this was a really good case for why you need or why you can benefit from state of the art technology to amplify people just enough so that everything can be blended and mixed and produced in a way that makes everything accessible but also overwhelming when needed. How did you how did you take that kind of resolution of the play when it goes into full Aussie mode?

Carla: It just made me sick, like absolutely full of bile, you know, like I try to ignore so much of this, particularly recently, you know, like there was even a lot of Scott Morrison in there in this text and particularly, you know, like I think the character of Napoleon brought to life by Elizabeth Brennan, just so we haven’t even talked about the skill and the unbelievable acting chops of this group of people. And that also like so amazingly and on point, they don’t even have a director listed for this version of the show. You know, they are a cooperative. The Aussie-ness of it just absolutely stabbed me in the chest. You know, it’s like, please do not take this in a facetious way, but, you know, like how children always tell the truth and they always regurgitate the truth of the world in such a simplistic way that is undeniable. And that’s how I felt about this, like to stitch all of those elements together with, you know, the razzle dazzle of sort of TikTok choreography and unbelievable acting and performing was just like, wow, we don’t deserve these young people. They’re incredible. You know, where do we go with them? Are they the future? Are they going to save us? Or is this just, you know, this is where it ends?

Philip: Well, it’s thrilling that the season sold out as quickly as it did and that they’re finding this language that is going to be conveying meaning powerfully that that they are likely to be connecting with school kids who study this work, for example. And I noted something in the program, notes about being listed on VCA drama playbook lists. Like they’re getting noticed for a reason, because they’re making such outstanding work. And in addition to all of those elements that you outlined, I just want to say as well that there’s something unapologetically Avant Garde and theatrical in the mix. I mean, they’re sort of like stuffing their faces with apples when they’re playing the role of farm animals or sort of, ironically, using absurd glitter guns to represent the murders of particular animals with sort of red glitter flying everywhere. So it’s not anything like what a kid would expect going on a school excursion to a theatre show. But that’s why it’s so exciting.

Carla: I love this company. Every time I see their shows, I become exhausted in so many different ways, like just from watching them run around to the messages they so eloquently and viciously deliver to us in such an entertaining way. Please look out for the Bloomshed. Please stop hurting me. Maybe. Can we make? Can we make a romantic comedy?

Philip: Well, I’ll update you on their next in coming soon. Spoiler alert – it’s not a rom com.

Carla: Yeah, they’ve got something coming for Fringe, so. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you The Bloomshed. We love. We love everything that you are.

Philip: Whew. Okay. Intermission.

Carla: I know.

Philip: We need to…

Carla: Fuck. I was so sad for days after watching it.

Philip: Oh, absolutely. It was. It was gloom-tastic, and I’ve got on our notes for today’s episode, pivot to Barbie. Question mark.

Carla: Very much in the same realm, though.

Philip: Oh, are you serious?

Carla: Yes.

Philip: Give me your bleak, nihilistic Barbie take.

Carla: No, like as in sort of like the opposite end of like, okay, so if capitalism can harness if capitalism can see enough money in this message of feminism.

Philip: Right.

Carla: And this is going to be probably one of the highest grossing movies of all time. Like, no shit.

Philip: Yeah.

Carla: You know, what does that say about that? And like, are we radicalizing a whole new generation? Are we, you know, like, these seem to be like the two end points for me where I somehow meet in the middle and go, Are we going to be okay? Question mark. Question mark. Question mark. I mean, you told me.

Philip: Well I want to keep seeing both of these works. There’s something sort of tantalizingly on point and truthful about both of them. So yes, I think the Venn diagram, amazingly, does overlap, but maybe also that kind of elevated camp shiny style is something they both have in common as well. Certainly, I needed to take my partner to Barbie, even though I’d already seen Barbie. So, I’ve seen it a couple of times. And on second viewing, the joy of the sort of life at the opening in Barbie world is just like a, I don’t know, like a theme park ride in the best possible sense, you know, offering viewers that fantasy of, um, life where men haven’t discovered their own self-hatred yet is very pleasing. So, yes, endorse.

Carla: Well, it’s the trajectory of childhood. And ultimately, you know, that is what Orwell texts also do, which is it’s the lifting of the veil. You know, whether it is, you know, becoming totally conscious as an adult or whether it’s the transition that we’ve all been through from the genderless childhood to the gendered world, you know, it is the crushingness of reality and how we actually have this kind of cognitive dissonance that we try to impose on children or try to impose on other people all the time, you know, of like, no, it is fine. Or, you know, like, yeah, you can be anything, you know? And then we all have to go to therapy for 30 years because we couldn’t, you know, or well, we have to sort of disassociate.

Philip: Well, the induction into the patriarchy of the Kens in Barbie is just as vicious as any kind of political induction that exists. And the way that it shows any kind of pleasure and solidarity among the Kens becoming quite immediately, a kind of conflict that leads to absurdist warfare. Yeah, indeed. Like Orwell is, is simplifying something that is destroying all of our lives.

Philip: Yeah. Wow.

Carla: I loved it because I saw the. I saw them like, yeah, that’s where I’ve been for the last three weeks, you know, thinking about these things.

Philip: Yeah. But thinking about them together is what I’m surprised by and kind of pleased by.

Carla: Yeah, well, for me, that’s the whole, like, little teeny, tiny voice that says, are we going to be okay? Is not only the fact that this kind of self-awareness exists and that this postmodern self-awareness can be present in the art that we create, but that it is being so readily consumed and created? It’s kind of it’s like it’s not sort of like, you know, sleeper agents, kind of like putting in some sort of low key feminist messages in like fucking frozen or something like that. Like, this is overt. Both of these texts are so unbelievably overt. And you know, the Bloomshed touring this around country Victoria for high school students you know so right just when I sort of feel like it tips to a point of no return. I get sprung back into like a ridiculously meta feminist Barbie is going to be the highest grossing film of all time. And just the trajectory of Ryan Gosling, who was that kid who literally had this lifetime trajectory of being a song and dance child actor to being a piece of puff marshmallow beefcake, to spending the rest of his adulthood trying to be taken seriously as an artist and then comes full circle into this moment of, you know, his “I’m just Ken” ballad is like a kind of chef’s kiss perfection that I expect from the world but very rarely get. And then when I do, I think things might be okay. Yeah, that’s my rant.

Philip: And likewise, the Greta, the Greta Gerwig Bildungsroman as well. Like, oh, my. As a as a writer, actor, director, partner in italics. But then this great sort of moment of popular emergence and global celebration is another angle on why this text seems to be, you know, to use a word, I usually avoid the zeitgeist in every sense, you know.

Carla: Well, and to like just sort of wrap this up, I think feel like it’s sort of really sits in the place that you and I create work together, which is there is no highbrow and lowbrow in our world. There is just interesting, good, exciting, you know, and I love that combination of both of those things in both of these texts, you know, like it is okay to like Barbie. It is okay to like George Orwell. It is okay to fill it with glitter cannons, you know, finding our way to the things that we like that is un-self-conscious or consumerist or whatever is just the joy of life, I think is present in these, in these entities. And that is what I find probably the most exciting.

Philip: Long live queer irony as the pathway to pleasure and salvation.

Carla: Wow. Put that on my tombstone.

Philip: Oh, but well, speaking of queer irony, there’s the bell.

Carla: Let’s go.

Philip: They’re coming for us. At the gates.

Carla: These guys are trying to murder me.

Philip: We’re back with This is Living at the Malthouse, which describes itself thus “check your emotional baggage at the door because this self-described gang of queer singles and divorcees is going on holiday. Hugh has organised a fabulous weekend away for his partner and their best girlfriends in Hepburn’s finest to escape a year from hell. But even deli meats, medicinal hydroponics and soaking in spring water can’t fix everything. Try as you might to float on the surface, life has a funny way of bubbling up and over. Writer Ash Flanders is notorious. Et cetera. And it’s a semi-autobiographical play in the saltiest, sweetest and most honest Look at love and friendship, you’ll see”. So here we are on a trip to Daylesford. Speaking of local content and Hugh, whose boyfriend Will is essentially his carer, has organised what he hopes to be the most perfect holiday experience for his chosen family that they can get. But of course, in the great satirical tradition of theatre from Edward Albee onwards, put everyone into a room together and add drugs is inevitably going to lead to, if anything, revelations of the darkest, but in this case, also the warmest kind. I have to start with what I overheard at intermission, speaking of intermission, when a man behind me who had come with a couple of his women friends and was probably in his 60s literally said about the characters, they’re not people I can relate to.

Carla: Okay, well…

Philip: Which was stunning in so many ways. And later he would go on to say, “Where are the menfolk of these three women and their children especially?” And I bring that up only to note that I was, of course, having the opposite experience thanks to Ash Flanders. I was seeing the people who comprise my meaningful social networks and the kinds of activities and conversations that to me are completely familiar and human.

Carla: But also how literal, like, that’s so boring. Like you’ve never had a partner? You’ve never been sick? You’ve never known someone who’s been sick? You know? Like how, how unimaginative.

Philip: But this is how misogyny and homophobia blocks people from actually seeing what’s universal about human experience, as you say. But what I did enjoy is that along with those universal questions of literally life and death there were some explorations within the text itself about what it actually means to specifically be gay men and older women. And in fact, there was at one particular moment a statement from the character of Hugh about how the quality of listening is just different. You know, he’s challenged by one of the women, like, why do you hang out with us? And the answer is essentially, well, it’s better, right? The way the way that like love, hatred, jealousy, drama can be played out in full, seemingly only by people other than straight men. Means that you’ve got to sort of escape to the country with the right kind of people to have that experience that is so cathartic and so needed. Anyway, how did you find all of this?

Carla: Oh, my God. Like, talk about feeling attacked. Like this was my life, is my life. Like I’ve just spent the last two years being extremely chronically ill. I have a fridge full of weed, medical marijuana. I have drops like we always talk about the drops. So there was like the marijuana drops. I have been that partner who has been so incredibly chronically ill that. My whole world is just trying to survive and I’ve pushed away everybody. Like there was times in that play where I was like, I felt literally slapped in the face, like seeing this couple play out their terror, the blunt force trauma of illness where there’s you don’t even know there’s anywhere to come back from. And seeing it, of course, I intellectually understood what happened to my partner, but because I was so concentrating on surviving, I had no concept. And this is where this is where it’s another piece of text where I was like, wow, talking talk about speaking to the here and now. And also like and this is like such an indication of like what we think about people. I have been a young person who has been extremely sick for a very long time, but when I read the blurb, I was like, Oh, it’s about old people because it’s about talking about a couple who’s in…

Carla: And when I saw it was a young couple, I was like, oh my God, what a crazy, you know, like how much even I project that. So it was a young people going through, you know, and then of course, I’ve moved to the country. They’re all talking about moving to the country and getting out of the city, you know, queer couples anyway, so very personally attacked. So it was very relevant to me. And also just gave me so much compassion for my partner just to sort of see that other side of things. And also like there was such a key moment in there where Marcus McKenzie, who was absolutely phenomenal, was so excited, thrilled to see him straight acting like he’s normally sort of more of a performance artist where he’s like, my temperature is rising and just even these little macroaggressions of like people going, Oh, no, it’s going to be okay. But, you know. Right. You know, you’re like, I’m probably an hour away from going to hospital, but everyone’s kind of, and you experience that as a macroaggression, but everybody’s experiencing it just as holding on for another day until things are like, real. So even that was just totally mind blowing.

Philip: Well, it sounds like you need to have had an experience like this to write a script like this, right? So I hear from you.

Carla: Yes.

Philip: For it to ring as so true autobiographical quality of the script allows it to connect with somebody like you as precisely as it is connecting. So. So it’s a real endorsement of writing from life.

Carla: Well, and also just like so Melbourne, like these three older women who have all been friends for 30 years. Like if you didn’t grow up in Melbourne, you’d pretty much don’t have friends who grew up in Melbourne. Like you’re either an expat and you’ve got friends from other cities, or you might have one friend who grew up in Melbourne and that’s kind of like your gateway to all these. So this like long standing toxic friendship that is like has so much history. This was a rich, rich, rich text. I really loved it. It took me on a total emotional roller coaster and I’ve really missed Ash’s writing. And remember, you know, like Ash and Declan were part of Sisters Grimm, and now Declan is Declan Green is now the artistic director of Belvoir. Yes. So they’ve been separated for a long time. So it’s just so nice to get this gay contemporary Melbourne content into my life. But it was also just so meaningful specifically for me. But I think really important to model these kinds of things that it does happen to young people. These things happen to young people all the time. And it’s I mean people aren’t usually very well equipped anyway, but particularly young people I don’t think are well equipped to deal with these kinds of challenges. And it’s an amazing sort of transference teaching moment, I think. What did you, how did you feel about the whole couple?

Philip: Yeah, well, the thing that I’m thinking about as I listen to you is that it makes so much sense the more I listen that these figures of Hugh and will these young complex gay men, of course, they’re going to be drawn to the Joe, Alex and Charlene triad and want what they’re having both, you know, drug wise and otherwise. And the bonding that seems so instinctual between those two categories of people is really explicable with reference to what you’re talking about here, especially for gay couples of men who have at least one element beyond their sexuality. That is not privilege. And although these kids were sort of like working in TV and studying drama and sort of you sense that everything in the background was probably okay for them, like they could afford this weekend away. So we’re in the realm of the bourgeois, self-satisfied Melburnian upper class, but the specificity of their life experience and the real challenge and trauma that they were experiencing in this phase of their life absolutely made that access point to these privileged older women, something that they craved in a particularly acute way at this phase. And I had not thought about those three women as sort of original Melburnian types, but that’s exactly how it is presented. And they explain their friendship just in sort of clichés, like, Why are we friends? Well, we’re just friends. That’s the kind of thing you can only really say if you’re not internally displaced in some way.

Carla: Right?

Philip: And even though they just absolutely mock each other to death and know it’s going to happen and go through it anyway, so there is that toxicity to the relationship.

Carla: Totally.

Philip: You sense that it’s not at all a play that is moralizing against that kind of intimacy, but is in fact showing the cathartic pleasure of it and the deep intimacy and understanding that is demonstrated through it. Like on the surface, everything is actually quite lovely. And the stage set was this sort of deep, reverberant environment where you could actually relax with your friends and enjoy the sounds of the lake. And it set at Christmas and New Year where there’s this sense of possibility and optimism even as people go home or go to hospital kind of thing. So yeah, in terms of the writing, it’s such a promising and exciting script that. Again reminds me of why our podcast started 60 episodes ago with consuming all of this stuff. Yeah, it’s great to be back.

Carla: Yeah, and this was absolutely thrilling. Like it was such a confluence of so many things coming together that were just perfection. Like Ash’s script is so raw and intimate and beautiful and processed but messy. And then you’ve got Matt Lutton. The direction in this was absolutely superb. Like every single actor that was on stage were like singing in a choir together, but also doing their fabulous solos. The ensemble cast were just all on the top of their game, like Will King as Will. Marcus McKenzie, who I already mentioned, Hugh, who has such an incredible, like lion lionesque kind of presence prowling around, even though he’s like so supposedly frail. Belinda McClory Oh my God, just an absolute titan. Maria Theodorakis as Jo. So, and that sort of like we’ve always got that one friend who kind of keeps everything together but is like playing the, playing the umpire, but really they kind of have their own little subtle thing happening at the same time. And Michelle Pereira as Charlene, who was just hilarious. So much amazing physical comedy. Yes. And also like a huge set. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a show that has like a massive built set. This was a real treat for me. Thank you so much for picking this. I would. I probably wouldn’t have gone to see it if you hadn’t have picked it.

Philip: Well, I’m getting so beautifully micro-targeted by Instagram advertising these days that I’m beginning to trust and believe.

Carla: Oh my God, please.

Philip: The robots. The robots took over Instagram.

Carla: Let the Instagram AI take over everything because the amount of shit that I buy off that thing is unbelievable. And I, you know, consider myself to be immune. You know what I mean? So. Yeah. Oh, fantastic. Thanks so much.

Philip: It’s time for coming soon, and I might just jump in because I gave some forward sizzle earlier in the episode. That if you liked what you heard about Bloomshed, they are part of.

Carla: Oh you stole my coming soon.

Philip: An interesting and new…

Carla: You stole it.

Philip: Subcategory of shows The Pulse. It’s Fringe but it’s like a curated set of ten, particularly Fringe shows. Question mark. So in that which you might all want to have a look at, there is a dodgeball named Desire by Bloomshed. There is a work by The Rabble called Wake over in Altona at the Italian Social Club, and Joel Bray is throwing a party that of course I already have tickets to.

Carla: Oh my God called Brolga.

Philip: A queer Koori wonderland at the Substation.

Carla: It’s 9:00 at night.

Philip: It’s absurd. And they sent they sent an email to people who’d bought tickets saying, oh, hi, we’ve just changed the rating of the show to 18 plus hop that’s okay with you. And I was like, Thank you. This gets better and better.

Carla: Wow.

Philip: So that’s, that’s yeah. That was your coming soon as well?

Carla: Below 40.

Philip: Oh, yeah, indeed.

Carla: 18 to 40. Sorry for interrupting. No, no, that was my coming soon too. There’s so many. I am so fucking pumped for Fringe this year. Yeah, I’m actually going to like come to stay in Melbourne for four days, two different weekends, so I can just completely stuff my face with Fringe. I’ll give some more specific Fringe recommendations I think next month once I’ve kind of figured it all out. So you stole mine. But I do have another one, which is, um, Geelong Art Centre is about to open a brand new building. It’s absolutely wild. It’s got like a concrete stage curtain on the outside with a huge concrete tassel. It’s to be seen to be believed. So they’re having like a whole kind of month of, of gigs and whatnot there. Nothing that I really find interesting, but things other people might. But they’ve got this new program called Rewire coming up. And it’s got a couple of really interesting shows in it. One is called Reckoning, which is like a Maori indigenous Australian cross-cultural production looks absolutely incredible. Yep. Reckoning and then the other one is like, this sounds crazy feeling. I think that you maybe we should do this for the show. It’s called Rich Kids A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran and the audience requirements is combining digital theatre and a live Instagram feed. The audience participates through Instagram. Patrons will need a smartphone and capacity to connect to the Internet.

Philip: Let’s do it.

Carla: So who knows what that means? But it’s an interactive, interactive digital presentation part on screen and partly in your hand on mobile.

Carla: Yes.

Carla: And it’s about Iranians. Yes. So by Iranian creators. So that’s my coming soon. And these are in. Let me just double check. These are in September. Yeah, in September. So check out. You’ll be able to do a twofer. You’ll be able to check out the new Geelong Arts Centre and come along to some cool ground-breaking shows as well at the same time.

Philip: Well, just to bring the tone down from cool to classic.

Speaker3: Oh.

Philip: I will just drop in that because Opera Australia is so officially terrible. It’s been really great for local opera companies because they’ve needed to sort of fill the gap. So there was the Ring Cycle by Melbourne Opera State. Opera Victoria is doing fantastic work. Melbourne Opera is sort of like the least funded but most ambitious of the companies and they’re putting on a Donizetti work. Maria Stuarda, Mary Stuart. So if you’re into Tudors and like opera at its most stereotypically over the top, but kind of concise, I would recommend that as like a as an entry point. If you want to explore Athenaeum Theatre, some singer who we now love more because she sang at the Met, even though she’s Australian, Italian with English surtitles, it’s going to be, wow, ridiculous and hopefully delicious as well. So that’s my final recommend. That’s also in September.

Carla: That’s amazing. Do you have like into Tudors on your grinder?

Philip: It’s probably not only on my grinder, but on my like early Facebook profile where you had to say what you liked.

Speaker3: Oh, yeah. Phil is.

Carla: Into Tudors.

Philip: Phil is looking over a wall. Anyway, those were the days I used to love the Internet, but that Tehran thing got me going again, so who knows?

Carla: You’re all. You’re all razzed.

Philip: Up to Geelong.

Carla: Absolute cracker of an episode. I feel so intellectually, spiritually, emotionally nourished by all of these things that we’ve seen in the last, like three weeks. Yeah. Yeah. Onto MIFF I think for next month a little bit of online programming.

Philip: And then the Fringe, the Fringe episode. Look, it’s all happening. We’re back. It’s back. It’s good to be alive. Yeah, that is that for our 60th episode. Happy birthday to us. We are a proper old lady now ha-ha. We thank our audience so kindly for listening and if you’ve made it this far, get in touch with us at us at across or we are on Twitter at across aisle keep up to date with us there on our evolving plans and recommendations and let us know what you thought of the material covered on today’s show. Across the Aisle is recorded in Naarm and Geelong on the stolen lands of Wurundjeri and Wathaurung. People sovereignty has never been ceded. We pay our respects to their elders and express gratitude for their custodianship of the land we live on. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land. Thank you Carla.

Carla: Thank you so much.

Philip: See you soon.