First published on 22 Apr 2012. Updated on 29 Jun 2012.
Melbourne's ever-restless theatre of new writing has a new home, again, and this one is the swishest of the lot. It's a series of partitioned empty rooms four floors up in a vast warehouse on the boho heart of North Melbourne, complete with Italian café-cum-delicatessen on the ground floor. In June they'll be launching a season of three new shows.
The first show, running through June, is Louris van de Geer's Tuesday., a sharp, circumstantial comedy about four people having a normal sort of Tuesday at a neighbourhood supermarket, before a violent twist turns everything upside down. Tuesday. is MKA's first commissioned play and will be directed by Brienna Macnish. According to MKA artistic director Tobias Manderson-Galvin, the play is reminiscent of the writing of Jonathan Franzen and David Forster Wallace, dealing with the strange feeling of loneliness that can strike even while in the midst of a crowd.
The next, opening late June, is the controversial sex.violence.blood.gore by Singaporean playwright Alfian bin Sa'at. A persistently subversive and provocative writer, the widely published bin Sa'at is regarded in his home country as something of a literary terror. The play slashes through six different periods of Singapore's history, from its time as a Victorian-era colony to the contemporary exploits of ex-pat Singaporean Annabelle Chong in extreme pornography.
As Manderson-Galvin says, "There are a series of relatively unexplored cultural affinities between Singapore and Australia, particularly in the shared background of European colonisation. This play is a chance for us to investigate those, as well as being another opportunity to draw Melbourne's large south-east Asian population further into the local theatre culture."
The play has already been staged a number of times in Europe and Asia, but this will be its Australian premiere. Directed by Stephen Nicolazzo of Little One's Theatre.
The last play in the season is Triangle by Glyn Roberts. Directed by MKA resident director Tanya Dickson, it's a suburban gothic set in North Fitzroy about a lesbian dalliance between a stay-at-home yummy mummy and a vampire. Manderson-Galvin explains this bizarre theme in terms of a challenge. "Knowing that people were sick to death of vampires and supernatural cultural kitsch, as he himself was, Glyn took on this subject as a creative challenge."
"It's this idea from a writer called Young Jean Lee," says Roberts, "who challenges herself by choosing a subject that she does not want to write about."
"He sent it to me," says Manderson-Galvin, "and humbly said, 'I think this is the best one I've written yet.' I was sceptical, it being about vampires, but actually, he's right."
Triangle will open in July. In August, the company are also planning to take last year's Green Room-nominated hit, The Economist, to the Edinburgh Fringe.