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The Independent Weekly
July 16 - 22, 2010
LOTUS MATURED HOSTS
SOFTEN ANGRIER BINS
SEAS MOORISH DRONED
UREDO IGNORED SHAPE
Solutions from 8
POET S CORNER Compiled by John Miles
Don t let the title and publicity
photo of a prone Superman
trick you into thinking
Superheroes is all about men in
tights and women in catsuits.
Although this latest work by
theatre duo Jo Stone and Paulo
Castro blurs the lines between
fact and fantasy, its themes are far
more complex and provocative
than any television drama. We re
talking about weighty issues such
as globalisation, war, religion,
nationalism and the future of
humanity, with the show inspired
by real-world events including the
violence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"It s not our mission to say what
the world should do, but to open the
question and get people thinking
about it," Stone says. "There is a
lot of imagery that will give people
food for thought."
Superheroes is described as a
"surreal and vivid exploration of
man s vision for domination of
Earth" and asks who are the real
heroes of the sky: The gods, the
superheroes or the fighter planes?
At the centre of the story is a
group of people from different
walks of life who meet in a
rehabilitation facility. They are all
in a period of transition, trying
to regain their identities through
faith and belief.
The characters include a Muslim
who has been in a coma for 20 years
and whose memory is only just
returning; a born-again Christian
who has found his truth in God; a
pregnant woman who has been in
jail and has latched on to beliefs
of nihilism and nature; and a
soldier who has recently returned
from Iraq and is questioning his
involvement in the conflict.
"All of them have a different
view on life and they have to share
a very small space, which to me is
reflective of what is happening in
the world today," Stone says. "It s
about how we share that space
and what we pass on to the next
generation. We have so much power
over the next generation."
In Superheroes, the characters
project their vision for the future
onto a young boy (played by recent
AC Arts graduate Lewis Rankin)
who is doing work experience at the
rehab facility. As well as directing
the work, Stone plays the only
female -- the pregnant woman who
carries around an unborn baby
onto whom she also projects her
beliefs and hopes.
There is a physical element to the
performance which she believes
will reach audiences on a different
emotional level. In one scene, all
the characters become involved in
acting out the soldier s hallucina-
tion, which mirrors war games
used in army exercises and played
"It s an interesting, warped take
on violence," Stone says. "Because
the play is set in a rehab facility,
we have been able to play with the
blurring of fiction and reality.
"The war games are so glorified
and so different to the reality for
Stone, who spent 10 years living
in Berlin, and Castro, who grew
up under fascist rule in Portugal,
formed their Stone/Castro
partnership in 2003. Both are driven
to create theatrical works that are
provocative as well as entertaining.
Despite the themes of
Superheroes, Stone says there is
dark humour in the play.
"Paulo and I have similar senses
of humour, and when you are
working with heavier themes you
need them to be accessible. Humour
is a great way to get people in and
then reach deeper.
"Because the characters are so
flawed, their desperation to regain
their identity creates a lot of
humour. It s not gratuitous humour
but it is an unexpected humour at
being able to laugh at ourselves."
Superheroes does not work to a
conventional structure, and Stone
warns audiences should not expect
a tidy resolution at the end.
"It s an epic topic with many
layers. Each audience member will
have a different take on it. I hope
it doesn t finish for them when the
curtain comes up."
Superheroes will play at the
Adelaide Festival Centre's Space
Theatre from July 20-24.
Korea will take centre stage during
this year s jam-packed OzAsia
Festival in Adelaide.
The 2010 program, announced
this week, features 133 artists from
Korea, Indonesia, Tibet, Malaysia,
India, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong
and Australia, and will once again
begin with the popular free Moon
Lantern Festival in Elder Park.
On the opening weekend, Korea s
Yohangza Theatre Company will
perform Shakespeare s Hamlet in
contemporary Korean language.
The Korean Sadari Theatre
Company (above) will use a masked
performance to explore the theme
of war and its consequences, while
the martial arts comedy Jump will
feature a cast of gymnasts, acrobats
and tae kwon do masters.
This year s OzAsia Festival, from
September 17 until October 2, will
be headlined by Dialogue in Skin,
a performance by Malaysian drum
group Hands Percussion. There will
be a total of 11 shows, six special
events, three food events, eight
forums and five exhibitions, plus
the OzAsia On Screen festival.
"I really think we have presented
a program that is very accessible
for many people," festival director
Jacinta Thompson says.
South Australian Museum,
Pacific Case 11
In this vitreous reliquary
my reflection studies me
in the haunting company
of a trinity of masks.
Primitive curatorial captions state
acquisition place and date
but the native magic mind
is not captured in this crime.
meet my gaze, of wonder
at a world so brave
that had such creatures in it.
Slowly I raise my sweating palms
place my face against the glass
peer through beaked and muzzled eyes
touch birds feathers on my thighs.
Under a bulging face of god,
high coiffured with down and rope
wearing ocean nets and weeds
I fall upon my trembling knees
for now I know, I must break this glass,
shatter at last my death s mask
and join the frenzy of the dance.
Paul Wilkins is Deputy University Librar-
ian at the University of Adelaide, and an
occasional reader at Friendly Street Poets.
Reader unpublished poems to 30 lines can be
emailed with postal address to poetscor ner@
independentweekly.com.au or posted with
a SAE to the Poetry Editor, Independent
Weekly, GPO Box 114, Adelaide 5001.
A poetry book will be awarded to each con-
Testing our reality
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