With the Adelaide Fringe launch imminent, we are fast approaching what I like to call the time of Arts Frenzy in Adelaide. The Fringe is followed in quick succession by Womad, the Festival of Arts, Cabaret Fringe and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival… to name a few. The diversity of festivals is often a reflection on the diversity of culture we experience in our communities. Though varied, many festivals commonly invest in the performance arts as an integral part of sharing culture, and the way in which we use or identify with performance arts, is often simultaneously public and powerfully personal. A quick browse through the 790s is testament to how driven by individual perspective the topic can be… it depends where the spotlight aims!
Telling Stories: Aboriginal Australian and Torres Strait Islander Performance by Maryrose Casey looks at the historical performance practices of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and how they have adapted and developed as an important medium for cross-cultural communication. Based on interviews and studies of contemporary theatre, this book is a landmark in its field of inquiry. Telling Stories was the co-winner of the Robert Jordan Prize (Assoc. for the Study of Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies) and well worth a look for insights to our Indigenous performance arts.
Marina Abramovic has been described as ‘the grandmother of performance art’ and Walk through walls : a memoir by Marina Abramovic (with James Kaplan), tells her life story and provides deep insights into her five decade career. One of the quintessential artists of the postmodern era, Abramovic has collaborated with stars that include Lady Gaga and Jay-Z. The memoir is both engaging and confronting but maintains a wry humour throughout. A great mix of art and life in book and ebook formats, you can take a look inside here: Random House
draws together writing about Live Art – aka: interdisciplinary, performance-based art from around the world between 2012-2014. Over 40 artists are represented in the Volume, (from Joan Rivers to Wu Tsang to Pussy Riot), with seven themed sections that include High art in low places; Performance under attack; Show me the money and Dearly departed. With a diverse range of practitioners in dance, film, performance writers and digital mediums included, Live Art is artist-centric and represents the blurring of socio-political cultural expression. A go-to book for ground-breaking performance art with the ‘aim of being a useful resource and an enjoyable read for everyone’ (from the Introduction). Take a quick look here: www.booktopia.com.au
The Actor’s Life : A Survival Guide by Jenner Fischer. Best known for her role as Pam Beesly in the acclaimed television show The Office, Fisher shares her insights on what it takes to establish yourself as an actor. With candor and wit, she relates her own 8 year long experiences in the pursuit of work, which began as a naive 22 year old with a theatre degree from St Louis. She provides invaluable advice on how to get the right head shot, what to look for in representation, and the importance of getting out there and just doing something. In this biographical guide for would-be performers, Fischer spells out the rudiments of getting established, using stories from her own experience. The six-chaptered guide includes sections on Getting started; How to find, get, keep an agent or manager and Auditioning, rejection and how to persevere. Easy to read and follow with pertinent quotes and images, you can preview here: www.booktopia.com.au
The 790s feature many gems that cover a full range of performance arts, and the very act of browsing the shelves – actual or digital – becomes a performance in itself. So… if ‘All The world’s a stage’, it’s all just an act after all.