October 2011

Arts & Letters

Television masterpiece

By Marieke Hardy
Chris Lilley - ‘Summer Heights High’, 2007

Note perfect, Summer Heights High searingly captures a slice of Australia’s psyche without mockery or judgement. It provides a sublime bridge between creator Chris Lilley’s sweet syrup of We Can Be Heroes and the more abrasive chip-on-shoulder of Angry Boys. Above all, it is funny. Show me any other short-run series that can simultaneously inspire sniggering teenagers to draw cocks on their backpacks and send menopausal women into sobbing spirals. Lilley dares to offer us flawed, self-involved, megalomaniac protagonists and then forces us to care for them – even to love them, in the long run. He marries the sort of jokes that have you looking at your companions in startled comradeship with beautiful, human storylines about love and loss and pain and hopelessness. Whatever you make of his more recent creative offerings (the vaguely controversial S.mouse giving faceless internet detractors something to bicker over for tedious months), Lilley’s is a carefully crafted, important, uniquely Australian voice. He knows us better than we know ourselves. I say we give him the key to the city and let him run wild.

—Marieke Hardy

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In This Issue

Scene from 'The Theft of Sita'. Image courtesy of Melbourne Festival.

Music theatre masterpiece

An Australian–Indonesian production - ‘The Theft of Sita’, 2000

Words: Shane Maloney | Illustration: Chris Grosz

Robert Helpmann & Anna Pavlova

Theatre masterpiece

Tom Wright & Benedict Andrews - ‘The War of the Roses’, 2009

The incendiary Meow Meow, 2011. © Magnus Hastings

Queen of the night

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Brian Blanchflower, 'Canopy LI (Scelsi IV), oils, wax medium, pumice powder, acrylic on laminated hessian, January-May 2001, 221 x 172 cm.LEFT: Full painting. Right: Detail.Collection of the artist. © Brian Blanchflower. Photograph by Robert Frith.

Visual art (two-dimensional) masterpiece

Brian Blanchflower - ‘Canopy LI (Scelsi I–IV)’, 2001

The members of Ten Part Invention, founded by John Pochée (third from right).

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Ten Part Invention - ‘Unidentified Spaces’, 2001

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Hany Armanious & Mary Teague - ‘Lines of Communication’, 2010

James Ledger. © Bridget Elliot.

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