“We characterise development historically as a kind of linear progression from ‘bad’ to ‘good’ to ‘better’. It is demonstrably not true. It expands, it contracts, it expands, it contracts. It is not a mechanical process. It is an organic process.”
– Robert Reid

In our first episode artist, historian and prolific contributor to Australian theatre, Robert Reid, joins hosts Jana Perkovic and Fleur Kilpatrick. The conversation gives context to this moment in performance history whilst looking to the future of documentation.

“The artwork is the artwork and the documentation is a very separate thing,” says Rob. “The experience of the artwork is about being in the room. Is about presence. To confuse documentation with experience is dangerous.

Discussed in this episode:
melodrama, vaginal knitting, “The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll,” stage directions: yes or no?, improbable character descriptions, and the historical value of internet comments.

“I don’t know that I’m convinced of the permanence of my work – which is a bit to do with the community, and how it works: what gets put on, what gets remembered and, critically, what gets printed, what gets published. Another reason why the New Wave, the 60s’ and 70s’ generation is so remembered and so written about is because they published friggin’ everything! If you’re going to go find a play, it’s going to be from one of those guys. Unless you pick up one of the Currency House programs, and even those are mostly those guys. And I say ‘guys’ because they are mostly guys, too.”
– Robert Reid

Enjoy and stay tuned: we have more beautiful and intellectually rigorous conversations to come.

Podcast bibliography:
Julian Meyrick: Trapped by the Past, Why Our Theatre is Facing Paralysis (Platform Papers, Quarterly essays on the performing atrs, No 3, January 2005)
Casey Jenkins: Casting Off My Womb

For more information about Robert Reid’s work, visit Pop-Up Playground.

Photography credits: the amazing Sarah Walker.

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