Sunday, 11 September 2016


I watch my cellphone flash
With a frantic call -- goes out -- back
Again. I have left the last letter, his
Last postcard in the dustbin of
Desire among sweepings and
Dead cats of memory. Till the next.
I wait patiently for the passing of
This fantastic invasion, when all I'd done was to
Spill by chance some ink on his chest that
Cannot be washed away.
I have chosen a snowy dress, I have
Brightened my teeth. The
Heart -- that is harder to groom
But the better part of it, my writing, is

Sunday, 14 August 2016


Words, giving vision,
like lenses for myopia
      -- Dad,
without whom life is
a blur, in his writing.

Thursday, 11 August 2016


Look, two hands
Whose twists wring out the cloth
And the bucket
Bucket full of black water
Like a closed piano.

The surface jumps and scowls
Like when a dead heart
Drops in blood
Like the moon upon
Sleepless rooms.

It spills and rolls,
Turns -- a head, there it is,
Shrunken, white,
Eyes blank, teeth looking out.
Standing I survey it.

Idea that'd agitated to clot:
A collage of feelings and events
A plaintive tune floats in time
From depths of the keyboard.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Theatre review: Duets

The Stain, a three-women art troupe, certainly had on its mind expressions by two artistes in the creation of Duets. Conjugation, or the notion of it, is rife in Maude Davey's eight-member cast staging, although the raunchy production turns out to be a poignant portrait of the joys and pain of human intimacy.

Held together by a palette of ballads and abstract dance, for an absent plot, the work reminds us that behind a world saturated by preoccupations with sex is ultimately a desire for connection.

After a bitter break-up, (in a stirring group performance of Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know), a woman (Francesca Sculli) calls her lover (Jo Franklin), and attempts at reconciliation under apparent talk of rolling-pins and Crisco and nakedness.

A wildly distracted woman (exceptional Sarah Ward), her head in a television-box that she changes channels again and again, further fills the space with songs of longing and of loss. Despite achieving orgasm with inanimate objects she goes on to seek closeness with the audience in a gesture that suggests perhaps the inadequacy of physical gratification.

There is a powerful message inside what first appears to be a sleazy framework (replete with bananas and apples and fake penises) made more potent by Herbz's dim and hazy set design -- enveloped in murky sheets of plastic, so that one feels as if they are looking through half-closed eyes -- and a soundscape in which Gen Bernstein's guitar and Genevieve Fry's harp strum heart-strings as achingly as they do the airwaves. The lighting is noteworthy, too, creating pulse and motion, like electricity shaking up your nerves.

It is The Huxley's final rendition, however, that cuts most keenly. Joined from wearing separate costumes attached by a long, red fabric at each other's chest, Will and Garrett Huxley show and sing of how love is a beautiful condition that comes with the inherent risk of being hurt by actions of the conjoined party.

Still, Duets ends (as it begins; in fact, is interwoven) with a sense of hope through Paula Russell whose graceful ballerina movements, accompanying a choice musical number, leaves you satisfied, with feelings of promise.

An enjoyable afternoon that combines mind and body, science and art, emotions and flesh.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Theatre review: To The Naked Eye

What are the things better left hidden To The Naked Eye in Cerise de Gelder's play? Do they include the unhappiness within Clare's matrimony, something neighbour and single-woman Stephanie suspects? Is the unethical business dealings husband Adam is believed to be involved in one of them? And that Stephanie is alone because, decades ago, her three-week-old groom had been convicted of murder -- is this another? One thing is certain: none of these revelations makes any difference, even if the story ends with trailing possibilities.

We follow the lives of two suburban households, in which Clare finds herself repeatedly presented with gifts from a grateful Stephanie, whom she had helped in a car accident. When Adam becomes hostile to her excessive presence in their home, Stephanie attempts to convince Clare she could be better off on her own.

Meanwhile, the young house-maker, despite maintaining that she enjoys marital bliss, feels neglected by Adam who, himself nursing hurt from his wife's one-time infidelity, claims to be hard at work. Then, suspicious of Stephanie's untoward influence on their marriage, Adam divulges the secrets of her past, and accuses her of sinister motives behind the overtures of friendship.

Although the action of the tale lies in manipulation of power through exhuming skeletons in the closet, Gelder's drama infers truth may be worth less than one would imagine. As the narrative unfolds, we see that, because of circumstances, bringing things into light changes nothing. Characters seem to accept the impossibility of understanding why people do what they do. Given life must go on, the play leads one to think, it might be preferable for happiness to be uncoloured by pain.

Brenda Palmer's staging is brilliant, with the characters jointlessly segueing between soliloquy (as they voice their inner thoughts) and dialogue. In her collaboration with Harry Paternoster whose set deploys the space to magnificent effect, she uses long swathes of cloth to convey transience and a sense of deliberate, if languid, interference.

Performance, too, is tremendous. Stephanie Lillis is volatile and vulnerable as Clare, an attention-starved spouse, with divided loyalties, yet sure of neither. Carolyn Masson is nervy and defiant as Stephanie, a middle-aged loner determined to avoid a similar fate that met with the Sarajevo woman (she'd read) who had been so isolated she was discovered years after her death.

And Miljana Cancar is the returned spirit of that Sarajevo woman, the enlightened figure in red who, in spite of lurking in a corner, is an instructive voice inside Stephanie's head, while Robert Ricks is Adam, effectively suggesting a tormented soul behind the abrasiveness.

This is a profound meditation on idealism and pragmatism, dramatising the interface between self-interests, reality, letting go. What is not hidden To The Naked Eye, though, is that behind the fabric of every existence lies the bleak terror of loneliness.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Golden Fog

The world is a wall of whiteness.
Air or stone watches me steadily;
I keep up the walking.

A chimney lets out wools of breath.
The first old tram,
Colour of sage,

Parts the diaphanous flesh.
For a long time
Outlines of distance are

Dissolving; the next yard is safe.
My bones carry a quiet.
Soon, they melt into farness --

An illuminated way through
The day, tomorrow,
Of love and meaning and golden skies.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Film review: Mia Madre

mia-madre-12.jpg (2480×1653)

As our parents age impending bereavement from their death inches closer for some of us. Exploring how lives can be dimmed by the stress of this reality, Mia Madre is a gentle drama so melancholy and drawn-out its very air seems to have been sucked away by labour and gloom.

Filming a picture about worker-protests against factory layoffs, director Margherita (Margherita Buy) learns, alongside her brother Giovanni (in a beautifully tempered performance by Nanni Moretti, writer and director of Mia Madre, himself), that their eponymous mother Ada (Giulia Lazzarini) is dying.

Giovanni is sad but calm and dedicates his time to caring for Ada; Margherita, on the other hand, exists in denial, teetering on an emotional melt-down, amid strains in her daily life.

Divorced, she has just initiated to break-off a relationship with a devoted lover. That her teenage daughter, Livia (Beatrice Mancini), has apparently been nursing a heartache she until now knew nothing about is weighing on the guilt. And the leading-man, Barry Huggins (John Turturro), she has imported from America for her movie is proving exasperating and never remembers his lines.

Revealing very little about the bond between Ada and Margherita, despite hints of past fractures, this (curious) Cannes-award winner is largely suspected to be autobiographical; for Moretti was making his feature We have a Pope in 2011 when his own mother passed away.

If so, Margherita's favourite instruction to her actors -- "to stand beside your character when playing them" -- may not be that bewildering, after all. If each of us consists of an outer-persona (character-role) and an inner (our alter-ego), then Giovanni is really the inside-man of the film-maker who is Moretti acted out by Buy.

If so, it is a delicious conceit.

Only, the 106-minute account alights remorselessly on protracted  and iterative narrations about the way Margherita is (not) coping. Visits to the hospital are touching but dull. While dream sequences and recollections and a fascinating scene, in which she appears to come face-to-face with her younger-self, count like the equivalent of stream-of-consciousness in literature, the story feels like a book uninferent of progress.

Even Tuturro, by adding colour and raising tempo in his portrayal of the idiosyncratic star, cannot save the work.

Towards the end, we see how Margherita arrives at a better understanding of her mother, of herself, indeed of their startling contrasts.

"You don't like anything... that's the way you live," says her lover, bitterly. "People can have only small doses of you."

Well, in Mia Madre, she has been a flame-extinguishing dollop.