Words by Hannah Monagle
The discomfort of observing the intricate conversations between two lovers. This is my initial feeling upon watching Sean M Whelan’s ‘Everything all the time’. Set in Melbourne gorgeous bookshop ‘Hill of Content’. Whilst initially an unnerving setting, as two ghost like figures walk slowly before you, the play soon develops into the ‘everyday’ between two protagonists, Tully (James Tresise) and Patience (Kali Hulme). The pair go hurtling from nauseating loved up cinema dates towards the irritable monotony of the everyday. Amongst the super natural themes is something so heart wrenching and so relatable, the quiet breakdown of a relationship, perhaps occurring before either party is quite sure it is there.
Sean M Whelan’s script is laden with visual and pop culture references, a homage to his amazing spoken word and something which enriches the play to no end. The two actors play their roles with compassion but also a firm grip on the ‘everyday’, it feels as if you’re sitting across from two friends watching them interact.
For me Hulme was a clear stand out, polishing her performance with a harrowing rendition of Mama Cass’s ‘Dream a Little Dream of me’ at the end. Tresise without quite so much to work with (the poor dorky besotted hipster) still manages to stand his own. The Script is lyrical and rich, painting a picture of modern day Melbourne and the two lovers embedded in it. The super natural elements are pulled off with out any sense of kitsch as the two lovers watch themselves from afar, stating “we were so happy then” and weren’t we all?, At some point? reminds ‘Everything all the time’.
La Mama Poetica is held on a Monday night at 7.30 for an 8pm start, approximately four times a year. It is an evening of some of the best spoken word and poetry to be found in Melbourne. Each Poetica event features four diverse poets – some established, others emerging.
As convenor, I give much consideration to the combination of poets I choose. I aim to keep a gender balance (usually two male and two female poets), and to present a range of styles and personalities. While most Poetica features have well and truly ‘earned their stripes’ on the Melbourne poetry scene, the gig will always be the place to come and hear the best of the new poets.
When I visit other poetry gigs looking for future Poetica features, I try to gauge which performers poetry audiences most want to hear more from. At the same time, I am aware of the responsibility I have in choosing quality poetry, which is the La Mama Poetica tradition so well maintained by past convenors such as Lauren Lee Williams, Jeltje, Anna Fern, Andy Jackson and Matt Hetherington. When in doubt, I simply choose the poet/s that I last heard read that gave me goosebumps!
Poetica is promoted through Facebook and additionally in the La Mama Theatre quarterly program booklet. Our usual venue is the heritage-listed La Mama Courthouse Theatre, an icon of the performing arts in Melbourne. It is a beautiful intimate space for poets to perform in and with acoustics this good, we have no need for a microphone. What is also wonderful about this venue is that each month a different play is showing, so we never know what kind of set we are going to get to perform in!
The next La Mama Poetica will be held on Monday, 18th November at 7.30pm @ the La Mama Courthouse Theatre, 349 Drummond St Carlton and will feature Amy Bodossian, Tim Hamilton, Jillian Pattinson and Joel McKerrow. There is a door prize, bar and box office at the theatre. Tickets are $12/$8 and can be prebooked or purchased
Words by Emma Kathryn
I remember being a romantic teenager. I loved the story of Cupid and Psyche. About the lonely girl and the mysterious lover whose face she was not allowed to see. It stirred up so many tender feelings in me. Enid Blyton’s “Tales of Long Ago,” presented a somewhat abridged version of this second century story.
I wanted to be part of that myth. One day I found John Keats’ “Ode to Psyche” in a book on my parents’ bookshelf. Many critics agree that it is not one of Keats’ best poems. But it so beautifully visualized the lovers after all their trials were over. It was what sparked my interest in poetry.
I became a poetry-obsessed teenager. I hugged the whole thing to my heart. In my mind I had a special relationship with Keats, Shelley and others. I thought of poets like pop stars! And modern portrayals of them, especially the way books on them were presented, seemed to encourage that.
I would visualize their lives in Georgian and Victorian England. I was so delighted when Percy Bysshe Shelley, Samuel Johnson and Lord Byron were portrayed on “Blackadder.” Even more so when Michael Hutchence was cast to play Shelley in “Frankenstein Unbound.” I was always flattered to hear current references to my favourite poets. It was like people were flattering me.
Well, I grew up. Life hit me hard. My own poetry- yes, I had always been writing it- became a bit more realistic.
These were the days before the internet. It was very easy to give up on the dream of being a published poet. The experience of having a poem published in a paying magazine seemed to be ring-fenced. The best I had done was the school magazine.
Where were these poets who got their work published? Surely there was more to it than submitting a poem to a magazine. Were there those who had the confidence to go to places where editors hung out, and sweet-talk them, and learn what they really wanted?