Curator's Report

Curator's Report on November Short Story Readings:

The final event for 2012 was another relaxed and happy occasion. The goodwill and good cheer at these readings continues to impress, and cement my suspicion that Adelaide is a town that truly treasures its artists.

The night kicked off with the sweet sounds of a choir, Choral Grief, who have the perfect balance of wit, melancholy and interest in obscure songs. It's just so lovely hearing a choir of young voices, especially singing under fairy lights!

Then it was on with the stories. Young actor Lizzy Hay gave a beautiful reading of Dael Allison's 'dreaming poets dreaming', which is a favourite of mine, not just because of the wonderful surreal quality of the prose-poem but because I know all the Darwin landmarks mentioned in it. Then Urban Myth Theatre actor Patrick Zoerner melted hearts (including mine) with his wonderfully paced delivery of Jo Langdon's story 'Pause'. It's a story full of rich imagery and Zoerner gave each image the weight it deserved; he seemed to make the spaces between words breathe.

Emma Beech gave an exquisite performance of Ryan O'Neill's 'My English Homework', assisted by the ever-subtle Stephen Sheehan. Beech is a wonderful performer, steady and unhurried in her delivery. She makes you listen. Many audience members were enthralled by her performance and also asked about the writer. 'My English Homework' is in Spineless Wonders 'Escape' anthology. Find out more about Ryan O’Neill and his collection, The Weight of a Human Heart. The first set was finished off by a tender and passionate delivery of Michael Farrell’s ‘The story of what’s inside the heart’ by performance poet Indigo Eli.

More songs by Choral Grief, including a Christmas Carol (yay!), were followed by Steve Sheehan’s wry delivery of Viv Plumb’s ‘The alternative plan’. This dead pan reading received attention from a heckler who Steve was more than willing (& able – he does stand-up comedy) to take on. Rapturous applause.

I’ve fallen into the habit of giving the long reads to the exquisitely talented Holly Myers. They’re tough because audience attention spans seem to wane at about 1500 words. Julie Chevalier’s ‘seeing the jane’ is a brilliant story and was delivered just as brilliantly by Myers. I gave up attempting to edit this story in an effort to shorten it, because every line is like a thread; and all the threads join up, weaving a complex tale of a woman’s relationship with her dead husband and father-in-law. Chevalier doesn’t waste a word, I’m not kidding. You can find this story in her collection Permission to Lie, the very first Spineless Wonders publication.

Tamara Lee then took to the stage delivering in her energetic style Pete Boyle’s ‘The tree’s ambition’ and Erin Gough’s hilarious ‘William Shatner vows to save The Great Basin Pocket Mouse’. Tamara Lee has a great rapport with the audience and her reading emphasised all the absurdity and tenderness in the first; while she conveyed a marvellous sex scene in the second.

While I vowed that all the stories in the November reading would be stories published by Spineless Wonders, I just couldn’t help myself: I slipped in a sneaky Tom Cho. And so glad I did! Hew Parham had the audience holding their sides and laughing into their tissues with his very physical rendition, complete with office machinery sound effects, of Cho’s ‘AIYO!!! An Evil Group of Ninjas is Entering and Destroying a Call Centre!!!’ (from his collection Look Who’s Morphing). Sometimes you get a writer you writes a story that entertains everyone; ‘Ninjas’ did exactly that, helped along in no small way by Parham’s outstanding performance. A great story to finish on. One audience member commented that her primary-school aged daughter ‘couldn’t stop laughing about that last story for five minutes in the car, then she was out like a light!’ Tom Cho for bedtime stories. Who knew?

All in all, another successful Tuesday night at The Wheaty, packed with applause and laughter, in the company of wonderful people - actors, writers, singers and audience. And my thanks also to Ian Fisk who took the time to photograph the event.

See you in February.

The Curator x

ps Where not mentioned otherwise, all the stories read at this event are published in Spineless Wonders publication Small Wonder.


Anonymous said…
Hi Caroline,
You commented on my blog back in July about my book An opening: twelve love stories about art.
Just wanted to say - thanks very much.
And this Wheaty get-together sounds good. I must get along.
Caroline said…
Thanks Stephanie, and congratulations on being included in the long list for The Stella!
Our next SWP is on May 14th.
Say hi, if you're able to make it.