Development of the production
Whether it is the poetics of Peer Gynt tumbling out of the mouths of suburbanites in an Australian backyard or Calderon’s vivid metaphors enlivening a group of children surviving in a cellar, Daniel Schlusser has created a unique, highly influential performance language that builds on Australian theatre’s more visual traditions of the last twenty years.
In proposing to develop M+M, Schlusser is turning to his favourite novel, one of his ‘Ur-texts’, Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, combining it with the recent Pussy Riot trials and the darkly theatrical world of C21 Russia.
M+M is wholly situated in the here and now, playing off quotidian behaviours as a way of framing the fantastical elements of the novel, grounding the work in the physical disciplines of the performers but not shying away from the supernatural and magical motifs, investigating the themes of devotion, evil and genius. M+M will be a powerful and exciting original work for the stage.
Stage One Development
In 2010, performers Alexander England, Julia Grace, Annie Last, Ben Pfeiffer, Sophie Mathisen, Josh Price, Mike Steele and Karen Sibbing gathered in a farmhouse courtesy of Hothouse Theatre’s “A Month in the Country” residency program. With Daisy Noyes as photographic dramaturg they made the first steps toward creating this epic work.
Stage Two Development
In February 2012, Theatre Works invited Daniel Schlusser to further develop the performance template for this work. Performers Josh Price, Karen Sibbing, Edwina Wren, Fiona Macleod, Pier Carthew and Alexander England worked with theatre artists Emma Valente (on lights) and Michael Pulsford (music). Anna Cordingley generated early design drawings and the performance text was finalised. This all culminated in a showing of the materials, presented in the form of an “open rehearsal” and the announcement that Daniel Clarke at Theatre Works would be seeking production partners for the realisation of the final presentation stage of the work.
Press and Reviews – Developments
“…a wicked and wildly impromptu open-rehearsal-showing of the work based on the now characteristic Schlusser language.”
Eugyeene Teh, Promptside
Andrew Fuhrmann interviews Daniel Schlusser in Time Out (http://www.au.timeout.com/melbourne/theatre/features/1138/daniel-schlusser-the-master-and-margarita)
Daniel Schlusser being interviewed on the ABC during the Hothouse (Stage One) development.