Archive for January, 2011

Madama Butterfly | Opera Australia


My first visit to the Opera House for 2011 was for Madama Butterfly – one of the most popular Operas to have been staged in the early 1900s – and has one of the most recognised operatic tunes to be featured in contemporary culture – usually in the form of a television commercial advertising an expensive European car or perhaps an elegant brand of mineral water. This is the first time I have seen a production of Butterfly, thanks to my fairy godfather and colleague in arms Mr James Waites. Until now, my only exposure to this work was the Sunday afternoon sounds in my parents house by the sea, Madama Butterfly selected by my father. Listening as the notes climb and lilt and fiercely float into the air, watching my father surrender to the sheer exquisite beauty of the music. Read more

Not the Sydney Critics Awards but a “thank you” to the artists of 2010


At the end of each year, the Sydney Theatre Critics Circle announce their award nominations for the year. I am not in the Sydney Theatre Critics Circle, but I think it is valuable to look back in order to look forward.

I don’t offer awards – or “winners.” I find it nearly impossible to claim that something is “the best.” How can one assert who is better – Whitely or Turner or Van Gough or Monet or Koons or Kippenberger? How can one possibly rank Ravel, Puccini, Liszt, Bach, Satie? I can’t, I would be lying and so I simply refuse.

For those keen to find out what was included in the STA nominations you can check them out here:
Read more

For a Better World | Griffin Independent & Company No.3

Kallista Kaval, Pier Carthew and Kade Greenland in For A Better World (c) Katie Pashley

Like the Faraway Tree, the SBW Stables Theatre’s same wooden stairs lead to an utterly different world. On this occasion the diamond space is hemmed by exposed fluro lights, a white floor mirror-lined, a set of primary-school bubblers, a white pole upstage left… A large wooden crate… huddled figures in opaque raincoats mutter and focus.

This is the jungle. They are soldiers. Waiting. Read more

A Life in Three Acts | Sydney Festival & Sydney Theatre Company


It was late last night/early this morning when I posted my response to my first Sydney Festival review for 2011.

With some shows, it is hard how to respond without the inevitable lens of my experience colouring everything I see. This is where theatre lives in me. The resonance of things around me – people I love and have loved, conversations I have had bouncing and resounding in me -an echo, reminding me, or highlighting certain truths. This performance brought out the memories of my uncle Greg.

Greg was in some ways a mythic man: tall, elegantly dressed in a dark suit in his sister’s wedding photo. My father in a cream Safari suit -in many ways his opposite. I was a teenager when I first met Greg. He had been the absent uncle who lived in Sydney, far from my country hometown. An artist, a collector of taxidermic animals, a man who’s house was heavy with kitsch (my favourite as a girl being the teapot shaped like Miss Piggy) and a drag queen who offered me his little bo-beep outfit when I was on the verge of being introduced as a Masonic Debutante…

He drank fluffy ducks, plucked his eyebrows, owned a black, irritating and nervous pomeranian called “Tuxedo” and when he returned from Sydney, he persistently survived the cruelty and the bashings a country town offers the unusual and the interesting. The last time I saw him, I was 17 and moving to Sydney. He was lying on his couch, sallow faced.. waving with a limp hand at the suitcase of “life starting things” he’d packed in a suitcase for me to take. A dustpan and broom, a can opener, a green velvet rug, a crochet blanket he’d made himself. As I said my goodbyes that day, and grabbed the yellow leather handle of the case he said “Gussie, the gay community in Sydney is wonderful – if you are ever in trouble, you’ll always find someone to help you. They always helped me.” Greg died of an AIDS related illness that year.

Everyone has someone in their like that they can to look to as an example of pure, unashamed individuality. For me I have always sought out those who, in the face of it all – expectation, normality, the beige-ness of a predictable career path – have been determined to live a life truest to how they feel and who they are. And at times, the bravest of these people have often been members of the gay community. Read more

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Augusta Supple

Sydney-based theatre director, producer and writer. This site is about my long, deep, bright-eyed, ever-hopeful, sometimes difficult, always invigorating, rambunctious, rebellious, dynamic and very personal relationship with Australian Arts and Culture... I reflect on shows, talks, essays, writing, artists that inspire me to say something, and you'll find out what I'm working on, who I'm working with and what inspires me.