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A Guide to UnWrapped September

The shows and talks from the independent creators of UnWrapped

Esther Crowley
Sydney Opera House

UnWrapped is back with a line-up of shows that are inventive, eclectic and extraordinary. Curated by Sydney Opera House Director of Programming Fiona Winning, get the lowdown on what to expect in September with our handy guide to the program. 

The Irresistible

11 – 15 September

What is it?

If Stranger Things and Twin Peaks had a baby, this show would be it. Collaborators Side Pony Productions and the Last Great Hunt use their combined powers to present a show that is intriguing, gloop filled and undeniably bizarre.

Born way out west in Perth, this bite sized two-hander has played to sell out audiences and great acclaim at Dark Mofo (Hobart) and HOTA (Gold Coast). It lands in Sydney this week with scarcely a ticket to be found.

The lowdown from Fiona

The Irresistible is a meeting between sci-fi and fantasy, looking at deep seated gender and family relationships in a contemporary and fragmented way.

UnWrapped artist make works that nobody else could make, and that’s certainly the case with this show. I haven’t seen anything like it. It’s narrative based, but not neatly resolved, and beautifully presented with technology that modulates the voices of Adriane Daff and Tim Watts. They are two of Australia’s most extraordinary performers in my book. They play an incredible number of characters and you never have any doubt as to who they are, from a disturbed child to a creepy old man.”

A note from the artist - Zoe Pepper

“Tim, Adriane and I all studied together and have been collaborating in different configurations since.  With The Irresistible we tried to break old patterns of working and really strive for something new, it was a great and terrifying process.  We set out to make a show about unconscious bias, and really leant into sci-fi and the supernatural as a way to try and make our invisible subject matter visible.”

You’ll like this if...

You are trying to fill a gaping Stranger Things-shaped hole in your life, and want to impress all your friends with how well placed your finger is on the proverbial cultural pulse.

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High Performance Packing Tape

18 – 22 September

What is it?

The kind of crazy stunts and tricks you wished you could do as a kid but weren’t allowed, performed live on stage to the power of ten. 

Physical performer Lee Wilson, from Australian performance geniuses Branch Nebula, makes it his personal responsibility for an hour to push packing tape, cardboard boxes, balloons and rubber bands further than anyone would ever think possible, or sensible. Leave your expectations at the door for this one.

The lowdown from Fiona

High Performance Packing Tape comes from a live art world in many ways - it’s bold. It begins with really basic items that you might have around the house, and Lee Wilson builds different mechanisms, cubbies, swings and tightropes out of them.  This is a simple work, conceptually, but realised so beautifully and pushes the concept further than I thought possible.

The bigger theme is that we now live in a very risk adverse world, and this is challenged through playful physical engagement with objects in front of our very eyes. In the theatre on the night, you sit there going “he’s not going to do that… no, he’s not going to do that! Surely not.. oh my god, he’s doing it.” That’s a very joyful albeit edge-of-your-seat experience as an audience.”

A note from the artist - Lee Wilson

“The initial development of the work took just 20 hours in a warehouse and was very lo-fi, driving around collecting materials from Officeworks, Bunnings and objects off the streets of Sydney to make our show.  We found interesting objects and materials and we would each begin exploring. I would explore physically, and would multiply materials to increase their strength and then push the possibilities of what you can do with them as suspension devices, for example.”

You’ll like this if...

You want an edgy date night with a promising online match. Time to test their artistic kudos.

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You're Safe Til 2024

14 September

What is it?

A bleakly funny climate change alarm clock, wrapped up in a performance lecture. Prepare to hear the last word on our future collected straight from the humans on the inside – scientists.

Performer David Finnigan is no stranger to climate controversy. His previous work, Kill Climate Deniers, holds the dubious honour of an incendiary Andrew Bolt op ed. You’re Safe Til 2024 premiered at Batch Festival earlier this year to rave reviews and no word from Bolt yet, so you’re in safe and experienced hands.

The lowdown from Fiona

“David is a super interesting writer and his work around climate change has been provocative and contemporary. After he performed its first draft at Batch at Griffin, I asked my colleagues about the work and I got really vivid descriptions which is always a great sign.

I think levity is David’s strategy for initiating conversation around climate change, and it’s really useful. It’s also absolutely backed up by thorough research and deep understanding. It has a kind of vulnerability: what the hell can we do? And what are some appropriate individual responses?”

A note from the artist - David Finnigan

“Climate change touches every aspect of my life, it affects everything in my world, in the past and in the future, and yet most of the time, I don't even think about it. When it does crash into my consciousness, it's always a complex, messy feeling and different every time. Art (in this case, theatre) can provide a space for a group of people to sit for an hour with these big global issues, together.”

You’ll like this if...

Occasionally, out of the blue you are overwhelmed with existential crisis and the feeling that everything is pointless because isn’t the planet doomed, and what’s the point of submitting this task on time anyway?

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15 September

What is it?

French Dame of Dance Rosalind Crisp is a highly successful choreographer. Prior to her stellar dance career in Australia and abroad, she was raised in country Victoria. This work is all about what happened when she went back to find the forests of her home razed to the ground.

This performance is apt, from someone whose life and livelihood revolves around movement of the body. Prepare to interact, move and be moved. 

The lowdown from Fiona

“Ros is an extraordinary dancer and creative. She’s always rejecting the choreographic urge, and diverting where the movement might be taking her.

When I saw this work I was very touched by her personal story of returning home, and her incredible grief about seeing this horrific degradation. In some ways, her work in this piece is driven by, 'how do I deal with this grief? And then, how do I actually do something?' What I love about it is that she’s found an answer.

Ros is a very warm performer so she welcomes people into the space. She will talk with us, she will tell us some stories, she dances in the work,  she will show us some footage and she will ask us to experience the space differently from the floor. She will make us think about our bodies in a way that non-dancers will find interesting.”

A note from the artist - Rosalind Crisp

“The town [where I grew up] hasn’t changed, but the forests have gone, stripped by logging and replaced with industrial plantations. Huge “planned” burns dry out whatever’s left. What can dance say? What can dance do? Perhaps it can ruminate well on the extinction crisis, since both body and crisis are a buzzing, humming, crackling, smouldering mess.”

You’ll like this if...

All the existing noise and gloom about climate change is getting you way down, and you would appreciate a different way of thinking.

Buy tickets now

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You may also like...

High Performance Packing Tape

Gripping tension. Inescapable suspense. Mind-bending predicaments. Experience beyond edge of your seat theatre as artist Lee Wilson pushes his self-made obstacle course past the breaking point. Cardboard boxes, balloons and packing tape – a DIY dream.

The Irresistible

Wild creatures. Plane crashes. Mysterious happenings. Stranger Things meets Twin Peaks in this binge-worthy scifi thriller. Direct from Dark Mofo, this is your chance to experience an other-worldly live performance that is simply irresistible.

The confronting power of ‘soft sci-fi’

The creators of Stranger Things-esque 'The Irresistible' let go of reality to undermine oppression.