Event The Drunken Boat
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Venue Sidetrack Theatre, Marrickville, NSW
First Date 21 November 1991
Opening Date 21 November 1991
Last Date 7 December 1991
Dates Estimated No
Status Professional
World Premiere Yes
Description The Drunken Boat was created to mark the 500 year anniversary of Columbus's voyage to the Americas. It took its title and a lot of its inspiration from Rimbaud's poem The Drunken Boat. The show enjoyed 3 highly successful seasons in 1991/92. Its main premise was that the theatre of today could be seen as an allegory of the aftermath of the waves of colonisation that followed in the wake of Columbus's voyage. The company at the time of its making described it as ¿a pageant of the mutilated forms of other times and other cultures¿.

The staging of the show was created for open spaced theatres. There was no seating with the audience and performers occupying the same stage space.

¿The performers emerge dazed from below decks and director Don Mamouney carries them to their places himself. (He will continue to direct them like a conductor for the whole show.) The performers try to jump ship but Mamouney brings them back and the voyage begins. When Columbus sailed west he didn't, as some expected, drop off the edge of the world, he stumbled on the Americas and unleashed what Rimbaud called ¿the triumphant hubbub of modernity¿.¿ (John McCallum. The Australian).

¿Five hundred years ago Christopher Columbus sailed to the ¿Indies¿ and opened a new chapter in the history of the world. In retrospect it was called Modernity. In The Drunken Boat we treat the contemporary stage as a cultural cargo ship. The boat we create is a vehicle with which we ask what is theatre today five hundred years after that fated voyage? Exhausted, commodified, satiated, a carnival of innovation hybridising and mutilating other cultures and traditions, trying to keep up with the times through constant renewal, recycling old lies as new truths. It draws on every available means to satisfy its appetite for change and innovation. And yet, it remains a poor thing, its self, having been emptied and appropriated by other media, by politics, by commerce and even the street.¿
Description Source Production Company
Primary Genre Theatre - Spoken Word
Secondary Genre Physical Theatre
Subjects Colonisation
Name Function Notes
Guillaume Brugman Actor
Jai McHenry Actor
Rolando Ramos Actor
Meme Thorne Actor
Meme Thorne Choreographer
Don Mamouney Designer
Don Mamouney Director
Bruce McHendry Lighting Designer
Peter Wells Musical Director
Peter Wells Sound Designer
Guillaume Brugman Writer
Don Mamouney Writer
Text Nationality Australia
Production Nationality Australia
Further Information Drunken Boat was presented as a work in progress at Sidetrack's Contemporary Performance Week 2 (September 1991).
Data Source
Source Description
Australian & New Zealand Theatre Record November, 1991
Sidetrack Archive Box 17
Event Identifier 13337