Review: Sean M Whelan's 'All the Animals We Ate.'

Review by Freya Dougan.

Does anthropomorphism lead to misunderstanding? Do our pets know we love them, even when we’re not there? And did dinosaurs really perish because of an asteroid, or was hedonism to blame for their demise?

All the Animals We Ate is a new play by Sean M. Whelan and James Tresise, currently showing at Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall, as part of Melbourne Fringe.

The show is only partially about eating animals, both in its literal meaning (Sean is a vegetarian, James isn’t) and in the sense of desire expressed as consumption, like in Where The Wild Things Are — ‘I’ll eat you up, I love you so!’

Billed as ‘a love letter to the beast within and without,’ All the Animals We Ate explores human beings’ relationship to animals — from the complexities of the food chain, to Sean’s simple and innocent love for his dog Cady and subsequent mourning of her death. At times the show reads as a eulogy for Cady, and taps into the deep love expressed for a pet after they are gone.

At first I was unsure what to expect. One promotional poster features Sean in a fuzzy grey wolf hat, about to mournfully tuck into a bowl of tiny plastic zoo animals.

What I did know was that I was in for a treat. I’ve been a fan of Sean’s poetry and DJing for some time. I was new to the actor and theatre-maker James’ work, and found the pair to have a fantastic energy together working as a duo.

All the Animals We Ate is an incredible production. Poetry, stories, music and visuals — including dream-like video projections and cute animal figurines — combine in a truly magical experience.

Sean and James have created a narrative that jumps effortlessly from a retelling of the story of Noah’s Ark, to YouTube cat videos, to wondering whether dinosaurs developed cancer from carcinogens consumed through too many volcanic bong rips. The show is beautiful, hilarious, absurd and very touching. I

Abe Nouk and Ed Carlyon take out Victorian final to head to the Opera House

Abe Nouk and Ed Carlyon will head to the Opera House in October to represent Victoria in the national final of the Australian Poetry Slam after taking out first and second place in Friday night’s Victorian Final at the State Library.

After five heats in Bendigo, Wangaratta, Sydenham, Moonee Ponds and Yarram, two poets from each heat took to the stage in front of hundreds at the State Library to see who would become Victorian champion and the runner-up, both going to the final.

Scores were tight, with judges randomly selected from the audience by who could catch the flying lollipops launched from the stage by host Michelle Dabrowski. No one scored below an eight with decimal points bringing the scores down to the wire. The final featured regular faces in many of the spoken word events around Melbourne plus a whole lot of unknown faces who blew the crowd away, full of people cheering and clicking, many taking in the spectacle of poetry slam for the first time.

Runner-up Ed Carlyon, who placed in the Sydenham heat, described the feeling after as overwhelming to be going to the final in Sydney. “I haven’t quite taken it in yet. I just feel so so lucky. It was a gift enough to be able to speak in front of two hundred people but the idea doing that on a wider scale is so exciting.”

Abe Nouk said he felt honoured to win the slam. “It’s one of those things where you don’t know what’s gonna happen up until…but you really gotta trust the moment. I’m privileged. Very privileged.”

The wisdom of the heckler

An empty can is worth 1000 words.

Heckling is bad taste’s revenge on good taste.

A bitch in time saves nine.

The open mic without the mic.

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, two seats over from yourself.

Modes of heckle: Traditional, with rotten fruit and vegetables.

Rock’n’roll, with beer cans.

Hipster, with fermented fruit and vegetables.

Yuppie, with craft beer cans.

Exaggerated, with wine bottles.

Natural, with nothing but a voice.

Clothes maketh the heckler: dress not to be noticed, until you want to be.

Your voice should be louder than your shirt.

Wear nondescript pants: either too much, or too little, would draw attention away from your heckle.

Tact: knowing not to heckle in church.

Liberation: heckling in church anyway.

The art: knowing how to be politely impolite.

Delicacy: being able to get everyone’s attention, but not too much of it.

A poet is just a heckler facing backwards.

Poets, the Jekyll to your heckle.

Who needs a mic?

Classic heckles: I wish he would explain his explanation – Byron of Coleridge.

I take it as a general rule That every poet is a fool But you yourself will serve to show it That every fool is not a poet. – Pope, on some random.

Here lies our sovereign Lord the King Whose word no man relies on; Who never said a foolish thing, Nor ever did a wise one. – Rochester, on Charles II.

And that’s the reason, some folks think, He left behind so great a stink. – Swift, on the death of a great general.

May all my enemies go to hell – Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel. – Belloc on – well, you know.

The first Whig was the devil. – Johnson.

The Fool’s heckle: when a witty retort turns into an awkward trail off.

Any heckle as long as a haiku is t