186,000

by Kerith Manderson-Galvin

“Whatever goes wrong can be used to your advantage, providing it goes wrong enough.”

― Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

These are queer times, and when haven’t they been? Invisibility, erasure, hollywood stars, child welfare, 500mg’d, memory foam pillows, and an airplane to New York City all take place in the blink of an eye. MKA’s queer-femme theatre maker Kerith Manderson-Galvin, and a dynamic and fiercely talented team of performers of diverse sexualities and genders, follow the calculations of astronomer Olaus Roemer, to find the liminal space/hotel/desert of the real, where even the sand is itself, queer.

MKA’s 186,000 takes Roemer’s calculation of the speed of light (in miles per second), and asks what we miss before it gets to us. Not that anyone measures anything in Miles anymore anyway, unless you’re hurtling down a highway in a red corvette in a Sam Shepard film. Memories, stories and mathematics are all on show, and it’s totally unsettling. As academic J. Jack Halberstam, says “To tell a ghost story means being willing to be haunted.”

THE ARTISTS set themselves the task of making-over Roemer’s understanding of light and experience. None of them are scientists. None of them can see faster than the speed of light. Half the artists are missing from tonight’s performance. The Richmond Theatrette was condemned in 2009. Don’t blink or you will miss the best parts. The show only happens when you blink.

MKA’s 186,000 is an expedition through time, and another time parallel. A pilgrimage for the knowable, the meaningful, the gone and forgotten, the living and the alive, the dark truth beneath the well-lit auditorium.

 #DOCUMENTARY #MOVEMENT #MUSIC #BENDINGTIME
SEE THIS IF YOU LIKE: Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Undergraduate Gender Studies, The artists involved in this show

WARNING
This show contains language, bodies, and young adult themes.

AUDIENCE
This show is suitable for teenagers, young-adults and a good deal of adults

PREMIERE SEASON
Nov-Dec 2016
Richmond Theatrette

Lead Artist
KERITH MANDERSON-GALVIN

Performer
SHAMITA SIVABALAN

Performer
TRELAWNEY EDGAR

Performer
HARVEY ZIELINSKI

Co-Director
CARA DINLEY

Sound Designer
JULES PASCOE

Scenography/Settings
SOMA GARNER

Lighting Design
DARREN LEVER

Producer
TOBIAS MANDERSON-GALVIN

Image Credit
VIKKSHAYEN.COM

Stage Manager
AYESHA HARRIS-WESTMAN

TRELAWNEY
Edgar

PERFORMER / COLLABORATOR

Trelawney is a political troublemaker, queer artist and general rabble-rouser. She is a multidisciplinary theatre maker who cut her teeth performing, designing and directing with Monash University Student Theatre and is a member of fledgling Melbourne independent theatre company Before Shot.

Performance credits include Constance Francis in “The Avarice of Boise Plains” (2016), June in “Home Invasion” (2015), working with “The Ministry” (winner of Melbourne Fringe Festival Best Live Art 2015), singing with The Devoted in “Wednesday Addams” (2014), burlesque alter-ego Lady Tisiphone in “TEASE/UNEASE” (2014), Cassidy Van Kamp in “Third Reich Mommie” (2014 and 2012), Susan in “Acidtongue & Dollface” (2013), Patricia in “Eulogy” (2012), Mariana/Mistress Overdone in “Measure for Measure” (2011), The Grand High Witch in “The Witches” (2011) and Charlotte Corday in Marat/Sade (2010).

HARVEY
Zielinski

PERFORMER / COLLABORATOR

Harvey is a queer identifying actor who has been acting since 1999. He’s currently training again, commencing third year at the National Theatre Drama School in 2017.

Harvey’s recent credits include: Chris in seasons four and five of SBS2/web-series Starting From Now (dir: Julie Kalceff), and Coal in feature film Zoe.Misplaced (dir: Mekelle Mills). He also appeared in the transgender episode of ABC documentary series You Can’t Ask That (2016). Harvey will be performing in the debut of Yuki Iwama’s new play Mercury Boy Faggot Girl in 2017. Harvey’s full resume and show-reel are available at www.harveykzielinski.com.

SHAMITA
Sivabalan

PERFORMER / COLLABORATOR

Shamita is a performer who enjoys a challenge. Being a dancer from an early age, she developed an interest in physical theatre forms and has trained in acting disciplines such as Stella Adler and Meisner technique. She enjoys pulling together her widespread passions in order to create engaging and lifelike characters, both comedic or dramatic. A recent graduate of Monash University’s Bachelor of Performing Arts, Shamita has performed in various independent theatre productions at venues such as LaMama, Sydney’s Old Fitz theatre, and in several previous Fringe seasons; notably the award winning 2015 live art production ‘The Ministry’. She also enjoys devising performance art and queer/drag pieces. When Shamita is not acting or dancing you can find her writing spoken word, modelling, or far too frequently playing pokemon go.

CARA
Dinley

CO-DIRECTOR

Cara is currently undertaking a Masters in Directing for Performance at the VCA. In a few weeks she will embark on an internship in Poland with the award winning Song of the Goat Theatre company. Cara’s major influencers are Song of the Goat, Legend Lin, Robert Wilson and Sankai Juku, she is passionate about generating new work that reaches into bodies and hearts. Following a decade long career as a professional ‘triple threat’ performing artist in 11 (national and international) major musical theatre productions, Cara has been in demand as a choreographer, director and producer of major productions, festivals and events.

Cara is also an expert dance and ‘triple-threat’ performing arts teacher and has lectured at VCA, VCASS, University of Ballarat and Stage School Australia.

 

DARREN
Lever

LIGHTING DESIGNER

Darren is a Melbourne actor; comedian; set designer/constructor; and lighting designer. His most recent work includes working with Casey Jenkins for the Festival of Live Art at North Melbourne Town hall.  He has also done lighting design for Lady Muck –Melbourne International Comedy Festival and was Production Manager and technical advisor for Metanoia Theatres Live Works Program.  Other work includes a short season of I am Katherine, which has been allocated further development for touring; lighting design for Being dead: Don Quixote at the Melba Speigeltent and PICA in Perth for the same show; lighting designer/operator for the first showing of Hypnagogia at Kingston Arts and subsequent touring. He also toured the stage adaptation of Wake in Fright to The Adelaide Fringe Festival, where he did set design/construction, lighting design and operating, following a sell out Melbourne season.

Darren has been working in many facets of the performing arts industry; as crew, rigger, actor, musician, lighting designer, stage manager, front of house manager, sound operator, to name a few; for the past 15 years. His vast experience brings new light to any and every project he works on.

SOMA
Garner

SET DESIGNER / SCENOGRAPHY

Soma is an artist, set and costume designer. She studied painting at the National Art School, completing a Master of Fine Arts (Research) exploring the Performative nature of Self-Representation (2009). Her paintings have been selected & exhibited in the Brett Whitely Travelling Scholarship, International MCQ Art Prize, Waverly Art Prize, Portia Geach Memorial Portrait Prize and auctioned c/o Sotheby’s. She’s been artist in residence at Hill End, Bathurst; ARTSPACE, Sydney; Arthur Boyd’s Bundanon Property, and 18th Arts Street Complex in Santa Monica, LA researching experimental theatre, dance, solo drama and other multimedia performance. Credits inc. costume design asst. on  The Threesome by E. Labiche, (NIDA, dir. Morgan Dowsett) and set design asst. on The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, (dir.  Mel Shapiro) (UCLA/ NIDA, 2011). She designed set+costumes for The Bloody Chamber (VCA, 2012). Recent design credits include Unlimited Dance (2012), SOMA: MKA Adelaide (2012), East of Zero (ACMI), Being Dead-Don Quixote (2013), DASEIN I (VCA), (2013), New Short Works, Dance House, (2014), NEWBLOOD: Artist in Residence, (2015), Being Dead [Don Quixote] (MKA/Melba Spiegeltent), Stars of Track and Field La Mama (2015), Hypnagogia (Conduit Arts), Being Dead Don Quixote (MKA+PICA)(2016).

JULES
Pascoe

COMPOSER / MUSICIAN

Jules is a composer; musician; co-founder and member of cult melbourne phenomenon/event/live band ‘JazzParty’, founder of ‘Clairey Browne and the Bangin’ Rackettes’; and generally regarded as the jazz bass in Melbourne town.

You can also see him performing with indie rockers ‘Jaala’, and sometimes also with indie darlings ‘Husky’.

Jules is also know for his work on documentary ‘Beyond Our Ken’ (composer, 2004); film ‘The Rage in Placid Lake (contributing composer, 2003), and in a theatrical setting  for ‘Titanic’ (composer, Doppelgangster, 2015-16), ‘Baby’ (composer, MKA/Doppelgangster, 2016), and as MKA’s Artist-in-Residence 2016 (Composition).

AYESHA
Harris-Westman

STAGE MANAGER / OPERATOR

Ayesha was lucky enough to have been born into the performing arts industry; and has grown up napping in seating banks and colouring in to the blue lights of back stage. With a background in Theatre, Circus and Dance, her transition into Stage management has been fairly smooth. This year, Ayesha has been involved in shows of a variety of mediums, venues and performance styles. These include Retro Futurismus (45downstairs), Flesh Fanatics (Melbourne Fringe), The Ends (Arbory) and White Day Dream (45downstairs).

TOBIAS
Manderson-Galvin

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

A Powerful Performance Powerhouse Of Powerful Power

Tobias is a creative leader, artistic director, performance maker, writer, dancer, and hobbyist cat-sitter from Melbourne, Australia. He’s created a lot of shows. Maybe a billion. But, it’s not that many. He’s Artistic Director/CEO of MKA | Theatre of New Writing. He’s Director General of UK/Australian live performance company Doppelgangster. He twice played a combination of Hitler and Hasselhoff called Hitlerhoff. He tours regularly as a performer/actor/hero.

Since 2004 Tobias has been the subject of investigations from the Australian Federal Police, due to his poetry, and performance work. His practice routinely troubles the capitalist myths of scarcity, stability, and freedom, the responsibility of authority, and also there’s other stuff at tobiasmandersongalvin.com, on the internet, and on the Wikipedia page he made himself in 2010 that you can find.  Take it easy, mate.

KERITH
Manderson-Galvin

LEAD ARTIST
(DIRECTOR / PLAYWRIGHT / PERFORMER)

ADDITIONAL
Credits

A number of other artists have been involved in the creation of this work,
For more information please see mka.org.au/onehundredand
and Kerith’s accompanying notes.

A NOTE FROM YOUR FRIEND, KERITHMANDERSON-GALVIN

  1.  Written to you at 8.35am and passing on the day of our first preview; I feel like I’ve spent the past few days waiting. I’ll brush it off as queer time. Our experiences are moving and shifting at different paces hoping we’ll make it to the same point in time. The council maintenance person who was the only one allowed to change a light bulb, the one who showed up and then vanished for a while, we are are living off different clocks. I watched that person for some time sitting on the edge of the stage just looking at the light bulbs, just looking at them, which reminds me of a joke I could have written.
  2.  In April 2015 I put out a call out to young lesbian/bisexual/pansexual/queer women. The call out was for 16-25year olds, although I had no connections to anyone of high school age and I didn’t have the appropriate knowledge or confidence to approach those groups. So I put it out in to the universe and the internet and decided I would find the right people for the show some how.
  3.  I did find the right people.
  4.  We are a unique group of sexually and gender-diverse people.
  5.  I was so sure labels were important and powerful and useful and now I can see the power and need to sometimes be unnameable.
  6.  I turned 30 in August. The age difference between myself and the group is barely worth mentioning but there are tiny differences that to me seem huge. None of them went to Girl Bar. None of them would have gone to Glasshouse karaoke. (extra note added. Have they been to The Glasshouse? Things change quickly.) Maybe that seems like nothing but for gays and queers clubs and bars become homes, they are some of the only spaces that are made for LGBTIQ+ people so you can meet like-minded people, or people who you think are like-minded, sometimes community grows and friendships and relationships blossom, one Friday a month, a Saturday night, Sunday morning, Sundaynight, Monday morning- you can be yourself. I just realised maybe none of them have been to The Market which is devastating. It’s been turned into this mega-fancy-club-plex and I still have fond memories of sitting in dark, smoke filled corners in the early morning while someone’s g-d out in the toilet.
  7.  I was angry. Lesbians on stage felt few and far between. Queer men and camp theatre felt sickly and insensitive, I kept crying in dark full theatres where everyone else was laughing.
  8.  Will someone please put on Patricia Cornelius’s ‘Love’? It is a perfect play.
  9.  In the show you hear my recorded voice say, “maybe it was a longing for parts of my identity that did exist”, and I think that’s why I wanted this group of people. Because I thought they weren’t given a space on stage or in any kind of conversation but also because my past is still a part of me.
  10.                I’m still trying to work out what it means to be a lesbian when you have no examples of what that means…which I think means, how do we have positive friendships and romantic relationships etc. when the examples we are shown don’t reflect our lives?
  11.                I feel I never hear the word lesbian.  
  12.                It’s now the day of the second preview and I’m interrupting my own notes with new thoughts.
  13.                My brother told me yesterday that actually decision making happens on impulse and in the three seconds after the decision is made we begin to apply meaning to it. So why did I do anything- probably there is no reason which is why I keep applying more and more reasons of why this show happened.
  14.                I guess I missed being around queer people. I wanted to make friends. I wanted community. I wanted to know what they thought about the world what was similar between us all and was different. What made us us. I’d been waiting and missing seeing people like me on stage and I wanted to see if we could bridge that.
  15.                I don’t want to be invisible.
  16.                I don’t want to be normal.
  17.                We began with 10 of us, people came and went, offered their stories and their knowledge and we became friends. We learned details about each other that we haven’t retold, we fell in love with each other, we said ‘me too’, ‘me too’. The group was awkward and charming and generous and hard working. They came when they could and contributed what they could. Which was immense.
  18.                We fell out of touch. We moved away. We got sick. We got better. We changed careers. We went to school. We fell in love. We found ourselves, lost ourselves again.
  19.                I’m finding myself again, I’m trying not to need clarity.
  20.                Although there are three gifted performers on stage who have been in this process every single person who has been a part of this, the ones on and off stage has been an asset and shaped the show. I have tried to make something where they all still remain. I felt like they were ghosts, their stories and presence were still lingering and I had to find a way to include them. They inhabit the show with recorded voice, video, text on the screen, verbatim dialogue and in the movement on stage. The performers move through a loop made up of movements, exercises and experiences that have happened through out our time together. When they move they are reliving a time, and giving it a new life and value.
  21.                Things happen again and again, they change, they shift, they matter.
  22.                I am a queer femme and a femme queer. I was once a lesbian and now I am not.
  23.                Our identities can change completely or the way that we voice them can change. We find new ways to inhabit ourselves. We find courage to introduce ourselves or courage to not. To remain unnoticed. We find a way to exist. We choose our time wisely and our audience with care. What can I tell you about myself? Is this going to be okay?
  24.                I hope that you can respect the bravery of the performers and collaborators in this show. Every single show they are coming out to you. And they don’t have to do that. Brave is a silly word, but they are brave.
  25.                I thought I was going to write something very insightful but there’s so much I want to tell you, too much.
  26.                Thank you to Cara Dinley (co-director for the production of 186, 000) who has shaped the show into what it is. Cara’s eye for detail and patience and generosity with performers (and me!) has made for an harmonious experience leading up to opening. Cara’s contribution has turned the show into what I hoped it could be. And thank you for being here for me, your ability and willingness to carry some of the emotional load has been invaluable and I would not have made it through without you.
  27.                Thank you to Soma Garner (stage designer) a sensitive and hugely talented artist who I have loved working with again. I love the way it feels like we are able to make sense of each other and make room for each other in different ways and I always feel like something very honest is happening between us, which is really special to me. Your design is astounding, again, you have created a beautiful stage world that was more than I could have dreamed and is exactly as I would have wanted it.
  28.                Darren Lever, (lighting design) thank you for your knowledge, your talent and mostly thank you for being such a sensitive and kind person, I love working with you because you make me feel like everything is in capable hands. You are such a soft person and I mean that as the highest praise. You put me at ease. Your hard work and your skill has lifted this world.
  29.                Jules Pascoe, (boyfriend and extremely talented sound-designer/composer). Thank you. Thank you for letting me talk non-stop about ‘these are the things I have to do for the show and I need someone to stand there while I talk about it’ and thank you for your music which is exceptional, truly, and I don’t have the words for it. We speak an entirely different language; I don’t know how to fit the way I voice things into your music but I am so thankful that we tried. And without you I never would have thought to interview the group; you helped make the show.
  30.                Ayesha Harris-Westman (Stage Manager/lighting operator)  You have been an absolute delight, I am appreciative of your continuous hard work but mostly I appreciate your kind nature, the way you have cared if I was okay and your thoughtfulness to the space and the people with you. You have stage-managed with delicacy and flexibility, and I couldn’t be happier about having you in this team. This reads like a letter of recommendation and it is.
  31.                Tobias Manderson-Galvin (Producer, brother, artistic-director of MKA) Thank you for being a master puppet-builder, for trusting that this project could find its feet without needing assistance, for giving us the space we needed and providing guidance when needed. Brothers are stupid but you are quite excellent and I love you even though I keep snapping at you. Hand hold add one piece.
  32.                Mill, Shoshy, Emily, Lucy, Dana, Ruby. Thank you for being a part of the developments. You are in the show, it wouldn’t be this without you. I would have had you on stage in a heartbeat. And I feel so lucky to have spent time with each of you.
  33.                Harvey, Shamita, Trelawney (performer/devisors) I don’t know how to thank you. I hope you are a small bit as proud and happy of your work as I am. I wanted you in this because I liked you all and thought, yeah, I could spend time with these people. Turns out you are all brilliant and gifted and I’m so sick of saying the word generous but you are and have been endlessly generous and kind to me. Thank you for trusting me.
  34.                Women’s Circus for giving us a room of our own. You started it.
  35.                City of Yarra, Richmond Theatrette. You are not a person so I don’t know how to thank you, but I’m glad it happened. I’m not sure where else it could have happened, so thank you for supporting LGBTIQ+ artists. You have done something very special.  
  36.                Thanks Kerith (facilitator/creator/co-director/performer/video-maker/costume-designer/ok-person) You did a good job. And now you own a toy-pony, so you know what, everything is going to be okay.

And further thank you to Sally, Anne, Mary-Lou, Alyson, Maude, Casey and Mill (again) for appearing on those wonderful panels last year, Lenore for her presentation of Secrets and Disclosure, Mill (again) for providing us with a rehearsal space out in the Docklands, Ian and Sarah our drivers and friends, Sandra for your constant support, Lenore+Pat+ fleta-the-cat, Wilson and the cactuses, Emilia for being a big fan and for making Tobi and I say ‘when does Emilia get her own show?’, Anna Bishop you have been an inspiration and I hope to work with you in the future, AND Raimondo for having nothing to do with this work but giving me so much confidence (and also the desire to do a show where I wrote nothing, it’s been a big year of writing already!) and introducing me to the film Paris, Texas- lighting my now obsession with the desert.

AND TO YOU, WHOEVER YOU ARE, THANK YOU. I THINK YOU ARE SPECIAL.

A note from
the producer

Tobias Manderson-Galvin
Artistic Director | MKA Theatre of New Writing

In 1989 USA toy-company/super-power Parker Brothers (now a division of Hasbro) and Italian-based Editrice Giochi, simultaneously debuted American, French-Canadian, and Italian versions of Quicksand (or Sabbie Mobili and Sable Mouvant respectfully) – subtitled ‘the Slip, Slide – or Sink Game’. No designer or artists are credited. The game is a simple race to the finish Adventure; with basic roll and move mechanics. It’s a game for two to four players, aged six and up.

According to the rules manual, still available via pdf on Hasbro’s .com website, the OBJECT is ‘To be the first player to get your adventurer – or whatever remains of him! – around the board from START to the finish and back at CAMP.’ There’s a ‘big, nasty alligator’ to avoid, mudslides, and of course the titular terror: the Quicksand. Your adventurer, and stick with me here reader, is made up of five stackable parts: a hat, a head, a torso and arms, legs, and shoes… and as literal and figurative pitfalls occur on the journey, the piece can be made to appear to sink by the removal of the lower pieces, but the rules state that come the end of the game ‘any height token may win – even if there’s nothing left but his hat!’

Questions left unanswered include. Who is ‘he’? How does he use his hat to breathe when his entire body is submerged in mud / quicksand / inside a crocodile? Why is he – and any of the other three adventures – a he? Why do they all have the same resplendent moustache? These questions may never be answered, certainly not in the producer’s notes to an entirely unrelated theatrical production, set in a desert, and presented in the Richmond Theatrette, Victoria, Australia.

What we can take home today, should we wish to draw connections, is that Kerith Manderson-Galvin and her brother (me) played this uncomplicated game for many years of our childhood, and took a number of rules and ideas from it. From ‘SETUP’: we took the valuable rule that ‘3. The youngest player goes first.’ Actually that’s maybe not true and I don’t even remember that rule being observed when we played the original game let alone it permeating the rest of our playmaking practice today but it speaks to the supportive and inclusive nature of Quicksand which brings me to the point that as well as obstacles, and chances to bring yourself out of any mire you may find your adventurer in, Quicksand also offers a number of opportunities to assist other players, with little or no reward to yourself. Which seems kind of anti-thetical to competitive gaming. The ‘Pull’ square gives the player the opportunity to pull another player high and dry, to full height, with only one piece of added height rewarded to your own adventurer for the trouble. When I see the amount of work, passion, and bravery that has gone into making a show of this quality, I can’t help but feel like that lucky player, standing high and dry, safe, the jungle around me, thanks to the near thankless work of the other players.

Further questions on WINNING. Did we ‘Triumphantly enter CAMP, finishing high and dry on a rock, the adventurer reconstructed to his full height’? Does ‘the Slip, Slide – of Sink! Game’ offer us a Butlerian insight into the act of ‘drag’; a Lacanian interpretation of Saussurian semiotics to point to a new theory of personality; and see it as analogous to a post-structuralist queer practice? And did you and your sister whose name is Kerith also, also ask your mother, the renowned Medical Anthropologist Professor Lenore Manderson what the hell these ‘adventurers’ were doing in a jungle in the first place without permissions from the indigenous peoples, any thought to the likelihood of malaria/dengue fever, and what was the social capital of moustache that lush? The Consumer Relations Department of Parker Brothers have offered a PO Box in Beverly Hills should we wish to ask them. Proof of purchase required.

Trailer
Partners

186,000 has been supported by the City of Yarra through a creative development in 2015; and presentation in 2016.

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