|Venue||Powder Room, Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne International Comedy Festival|
BELOW THE BELT was the umbrella title for three short works developed by individual Handspan Theatre members for performance at the 1997 Melbourne International Comedy Festival..
BELOW THE BELT was the first work directed by the recently appointed Artistic Director at Handspan, David Bell, and the last membership-initiated project produced by the company.
The works in BELOW THE BELT were unrelated but loosely linked in expressing the darker side of sexuality and seduction billed as 'three new twisted tales that sit somewhere below the belt'1 . The work included:
Devised by Heather Monk, Waiting was a whimsical piece about a lonely waitress looking for love and ravished by a large and lewd puppet lobster.
Devised by Rod Primrose Gilda was a miniature piece set in a mini-Victorian theatre which transformed as the action progressed, following a drag queen’s travails in her escape from 'the hell of conformity'.
The piece was the next evolution of a series of creative development projects: Gilda Tonight (1994) and Gilda Under Glass (1995), the latter performed in the Myer Bourke St Melbourne windows for the 1995 Melbourne International Festival. Critics writing of BELOW THE BELT found this piece the highlight of the three.
|Sugar On Top|
A brief, rauchy skit, Sugar on Top was a revised version of Liss Gabb's sketch that the cast had previously staged independently at the Builders Arms Hotel, Fitzroy for the 1994 Melbourne Fringe Festival.
After BELOW THE BELT’s Showcase appearance at the Comedy Festival the work was not retained in the Handspan repertoire.
BELOW THE BELT was the last Handspan Vignettes production - works that developed puppetry manipulation performance in flexible styles that accomodated individuals interests of its artistic membership based on experimentation with new possibilities in animated object performance.
Under David Bell’s leadership Handspan Theatre was renamed Handspan Visual Theatre signalling a removal from Handspan's puppetry-based performance design.
at the same time as long-standing artistic membership continued to lapse in the new era.
|Devised and designed||Rod Primrose|
|Soundtrack music||Erasure, Kylie Minogue, Eartha Kitt, Portishead & Hugh Wayland|
|Puppet maker||Rod Primrose|
|Creative development (1994)||Rod Primrose, Hugh Wayland, John Rogers, Paul Newcombe, Rob Matson, Christine Mooney, Tony Hood, Matthew Hood, Boris Conley & Victoria Huff|
|Sugar on Top|
|Devised and designed||Liss Gabb|
|Original director||Peta Murray (1994)|
|Soundtrack Music||The Reverend Horton Heat & L7|
|Puppet Maker||Colleen Crapper|
|Project collaborators||Shane Grant, Nik Pajanti, Johnboy Davis & Pamela Morrow|
|28 March – 20 April 1997||Melbourne International Comedy Festival|