This week The Cutting Room Floor and the Greens WA told us ’bout the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees at a thing called Home Open. TCRF’s periodical lounge room shenanigans went eco-and-politico-friendly with a special night curated by Senator Scott Ludlam and the WA Greens party that featured artists, candidates and politicians all together under one roof. It was an intimate night of fun, warmth, and consciousness-raising in a West Perth home absolutely teeming with books and art, all in the name of environmental and social justice.
For those unfamiliar with TCRF’s Home Open events, it’s something I might have described before as theatre happening: local independent and emerging artists put together six 10-minute pieces ranging from scene work, to contemporary dance, to music, to physical theatre, to film and many subgenres in between. Then TCRF takes over a volunteer’s home and throws the doors to the lounge rooms, kitchens and bedrooms open to the public for one or two nights, depending on the event. The location is kept entirely secret until you purchase a ticket, and after you’ve grabbed a bottle or two and landed on that stranger’s doorstep, you’re ushered in and divided into groups to watch each performance in rotation.
It’s a jolly way to spend a winter’s night, huddled together in warm rooms while performers avoid stepping on you. It’s a chance to meet new and different people or cozy up to someone special, but the key thing is to remember you will be rubbing shoulders and elbows and other parts with them. And you will be seeing a variety of pieces, all different in shape, form and tone. And in the case of TCRF’s Greens evening, you would have been invited to make a town out of cardboard, contemplate the nature of migratory birds, witness the dating desperation of the last penguin on earth, and sympathize with folks on interminable hold with Centrelink.
On hand to co-host the evening was Senator Rachel Siewert, who also performed in a piece written and directed by TCRF’s co-artistic director Scott Corbett, “Waiting for Gov” partially based on the accounts she’s collected from Centrelink customers. Sen. Ludlam was there in spirit (though not in person) with a piece he helped bring to life with Chris Brain called “Peak Cardboard” which featured Greens candidate for Perth, Tim Clifford. Tim had the audience gather around the dining room table to build a city out of cardboard and paper scraps, tape, egg cartons and pens. Andrew Sutherland wrote and directed a poetic and expressive monologue featuring Mary Soudi called “Traps” about migratory birds becoming trapped in a place of comfort, losing their language and becoming disconnected from their homes.
Greens candidate for Curtin Viv Glance was right at home among her artistic peers as she presented some spoken word poetry accompanied by Isalyn Bessel-Browne on the piano in “To Plant a Tree I’ll Never Stand Beneath.” Bridget Le May mused on the perils of bike riding and relationships with her piece “Fear of Merging” which featured Izzy McDonald and Jon Paul Fitzgerald. And in a vivid stretch of the imagination, Ann-Marie Biagioni mused on the perils of interspecies dating in the time of extinction, when a desperate penguin (Amanda Watson) goes on a blind date with an elephant (Elijah Melvin) in the hopes of eventual procreation and survival of her people.
The politicians and political hopefuls each had a chance to say a few words about issues near and dear to them, especially the issue of making sure that arts remains high on the Greens agenda, and they certainly ran with the opportunity to connect with potential voters in an uncommon, relaxed, and creative way. Though the evening was not about making speeches, shaking hands and kissing babies, it was held in the spirit of grassroots change, community building, environmental awareness and a passion for creation.
For more information about TCRF and to catch the last few tickets of their hit show What’s Love Got To Do With It? running now at The Blue Room, head to their website here or their Facebook page here, or visit The Blue Room website here.