How capriciously the deck is shuffled.
- Assistant Director
- Lighting Designers
- Sound Designers
- Daniel Schlusser and the Ensemble
- Daniel Schlusser
- Katya Shevstov
- Romanie Harper & Anna Cordingley
- Nicola Andrews & Niklas Pajanti
- Michael Pulsford
- Darrin Verhagen & James Paul
- Sarah Ernst for Daniel Schlusser Ensemble
- Melbourne Festival, Theatre Works - Daniel Clarke, Hothouse Theatre
Texts about M+M
One of the most beautiful love stories ever told. One of the most subversive and slyly funny novels of the twentieth century.
In the hands of Daniel Schlusser Ensemble, Mikhail Bulgakov's anarchic epic The Master and Margarita is funnelled through a contemporary context of political incarceration and sees religion, atheism and the politics of post-capitalism combust in a frenzy of dramatic defiance. From heart-breaking intimacy to explosive punk spectacle, M+M traverses the extremes of theatrical experience.
Press and Reviews
"...out of this tension evolves, with a flawless emotional logic, moments of stunning beauty that destroy the premises of theatrical representation and reach beyond them to a raw but irresistible truthfulness, a reality which exists wholly in the present moment. It’s impossible to describe the transformations that transpire in the course of the performance. Slowly, patiently, the metaphors shift: the performance ceases to represent and instead becomes a pure theatrical act."
Alison Croggon, ABC Arts
"This is an intelligent inquiry into a canonical text, but also a freeform, chaotic stage event; a Lynchian phantasmagoria, through which elements of Bulgakov's novel refract with dreamlike logic...its emotional impact is direct, and devastating. Simultaneously vast and elliptical, it does more than justice to the complexity of the source material."
Jana Perkovic, The Guardian Australia
"Schlusser's images are startling, visceral in their violence and beauty, yet artifice, humour and mundanity are never far away."
Rebecca Harkins-Cross, The Age
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 producion 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