Midsumma: Standing on Ceremony

Standing on Ceremony: the gay marriage plays is an American series of nine short plays about marriage. No one coming along to see it needs convincing about marriage equality, which leaves it as a celebration of love that’s as funny, frustrating and heart breaking as any relationship.

Standing On Ceremony. Photo by John Shelbourn. Brett Whittingham and Spencer McLaren
Brett Whittingham & Spencer McLaren. Photo by John Shelbourn.

With live music from David Ellis, Laura Burzcott and Karl Lewis, the mood is set and changed between each piece, and Justin Stephens’s design of moveable white boxes allows for projections that change while ensuring that all are part the bigger story.

With three directors and a cast of eight (including two of the directors), highlights include London Mosquitoes, a eulogy by Moises Kaufman (The Laramie Project) performed by Michael Veitch and directed by Wayne Pearn; My Husband by Paul Rudnick where a mother is so excited by New York’s new laws that she doesn’t care if her son doesn’t even have a boyfriend (directed by Russell Fletcher and performed by Luka Jacka and Helen Ellis); and Strange Fruit by Neil LaBute where Spencer McLaren and Brett Whittingham and, director, Pearn overcome LaBute’s dash to tragedy (and title appropriation that doesn’t sit as well as it should).

Pia Miranda and Olivia Hogan perform the two plays about woman, which, despite being by different writers and performed delightfully, may as well have been about the same couple and brought attention to the lesser representation of queer female voices.

Perhaps it’s a call for Australian writers to create the next series of plays that represent and celebrate the diversity of queer relationships and the issues faced and overcome on the road to equality in Australia.

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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