Andy Warhol In The Raw: The Complete Picture

In January 2013 Noel Anderson’s provocative play Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame sold out at La Mama Courthouse, Melbourne. Fast forward to 2015, Andy’s back, this time he is taking over Saturday Nights at the Jewish Museum of Australia.
Admission includes: The Raw Reading & performance plus viewing of the Warhol Exhibition, Geniuses. Warhol’s life and art under one roof with an especially reworked script by Noel Anderson for the occasion. This is the complete picture of Andy Warhol, the man and his art.
Anderson’s obsession with Warhol began when he was completing a writing course at NIDA.
“I wanted to write about fame and success and as I started to research Andy Warhol I realised he had a lot of things I really admired,” he says. “The more I wrote the more interested I got and it became almost like an obsession.”
In the era of Facebook, YouTube and short-lived overnight sensations, everyone is clamouring for their 15 minutes of notoriety more today, than when Andy ruled the world back in the 60’s and 70’s. Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame charts the artist’s struggle for success and descent into madness by his hand-picked superstar, Valerie Solanas.
Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame – In The Raw
Written and Directed by Noel Anderson

Where: The Jewish Museum of Australia, Melbourne
When: Sat Nights in May – 2nd, 9th and 16th
Admission includes: Raw Performance and the Warhol Exhibition, Geniuses.
Plus, Q & A with director/writer and cast.
Price: Adult $30 Concession $25
Bookings : http://www.trybooking.com/129490
Script Online: http://australianplays.org/script/ASC-1542

Albert Einstein in a box?

Albert Einstein in a box?

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“Art is what you can get away with” – Q & A with writer & director Noel Anderson

Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame: In the Raw with writer and director Noel Anderson at the Jewish Museum of Australia

Q: What can the audience expect from your play reading and performance?
A: A Warholsque experience of course! The play has been reworked specifically for the Jewish Museum and includes elements of performance art. I have the entire cast from La Mama’s sellout 2013 production back too. They’re itching to go, ready to turn the audience on to everything Warhol. There’s an element of improvisation now which the La Mama performance never had. In fact, it’s being done probably the way Warhol would have done it himself except of course; he would have his Polaroid camera there to capture the big moments. So, I guess expect to be entertained and educated. You’ll walk away with a complete picture on the man and his art.

Q: What thoughts and emotions do you hope to evoke?
A: This is a true story about the world’s most famous modern artist so I hope the audience feels empathy for Warhol and his family of superstars including Valerie Solonas…who attempted to assassinate him at his factory in the 1960’s. Of course, as well as the drama there’s a lot of humour too, you can’t tell the story of Andy Warhol’s life and not see the humour. So, I hope everyone has a few laughs along the way.

Q: Are there any surprises you can share with us?
A: I think people will be surprised when they find out the reason why Andy produced the Campbell Soup cans series. And, if they don’t pick up the answer during the raw performance then I’m happy to talk about in the Q & A at the end of the performance. Oh, they might be surprised by some of the strong adult themes and I hope moved by poetry of the piece. They probably won’t believe how well these two elements work together. It was a real balancing act when writing it.

Q: What do you see as Warhol’s most significant and lasting contribution?
A: This is probably the easiest question to answer. Andy Warhol documented his moment in time and the world around him like no other artist before or since. Andy Warhol captured particularly the 60’s as it was for the world to remember. You know he packed 612 cardboard boxes, filled them with things from his most unusual life, and then sealed them up. These he called his Time Capsules. I use this idea in the performance. Did you know a box has been opened at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh every 21 years since his death? They have lines around the block with people wanting to see what’s in them. That’s forward thinking!

Q: You’re obviously familiar with the ten portraits of Jewish Geniuses, which of these is your favourite choice?
Q: I think it is probably Albert Einstein. I’ve seen a lot of Warhol’s works up close over the years, I’m always moved by the colour and beauty in the work…well, Einstein is different.

Q: Why this choice
A: Well, when I saw it recently at the Jewish Museum I started to feel for a moment I was catching the Stendhal Syndrome. Do you know what that is? It’s a phenomenon that started in Florence in 1817 and affects people only when they view masterworks of art. The disorder causes rapid heartbeats, dizziness and you feel as if you are disappearing deep inside the art work. I’d never felt that before when viewing a famous piece of art…so for that reason I’d have to say Warhol’s Albert Einstein is my favourite work on display.

Q: If Andy was still alive and you could work with him, what do you think you’d both produce?
A: I reckon he’d be helping me finance a touring production of Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame…and we’d be doing the show in Festivals around the globe…touring with his art work of course, like at the Jewish Museum! Oh, yeah and drinking coke together…diet coke for me!

“Bobeshi did you know Andy Warhol is coming to the Jewish Museum of Australia in May? Well, I’m going…and I’m taking a nice apple strudel”

Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame
At the Jewish Museum of Australia 2nd, 9th, 16th May
Includes viewing of Warhol’s Geniuses Exhibtion

Booking: http://www.trybooking.com/129490

Lies My Mother Never Told Me

It’s Christmas Eve in Melbourne, Australia…I’ve eaten half a box of Chocolate Celebrations in my bedroom and I’m alone watching Carol’s by Candlelight. I’m not feeling sorry for myself understand, but this Christmas my mind is on my mother. You see Mum recently went into nursing home after being sick for sometime. When she was admitted I had accepted it as another fact of life, but as time rolled on I felt sad, very sad. Over my holiday break in private I’d think about my mother and life with her as a little boy. In many ways Mum had a tough life, more than her share of heartbreak, not to mention bad luck. She’d married twice, both times with disastrous results, with my father dying when I was just ten and mum left alone in her mid thirties. It was a tough on everybody I guess, and tough on me. My Dad’s death made Mum more neurotic than she already was. To be honest my mother could be a difficult. She dealt with life the way women of her generation dealt with hardship, she became workman like in her emotional identity and pushed aside pain. As a kid in Sydney most of the women I recall were all made of the same emotional makeup, strong women ready to fight for their beliefs…and ready to drag their husband’s home from the pub on a Saturday arvo. Aussie battlers is how you’d describe them. But, underneath my Mum’s stubborn exterior there was a frightened woman who hid her emotions. My Mum had some very frustrating habits I remember from when I lived with her, privacy when my mother was around was…well, it simply wasn’t possible. Everything was mother’s business, if you lived under her roof then it was her rules, no discussions.
Mum’s Rules of the House
Rule 1. Do as I say, not as I do.
Rule 2. Never tell anything but the truth no matter what?
(She was however exempt from this rule)
Rule 3. No privacy and no locked bedroom doors, ever.
I obeyed the rules, mostly. She was, and still is, a generous woman who would give her arse away and shit through her ribs to use an old Aussie expression. But her generosity was often conditional. If she did something for you then you could bet within hours she’d have a list of chores as long as your arm that she wanted done…pronto! Should you cross her you would never be forgiven, no explanation acceptable! However, this side of Mum was kept for the people who held little place in her heart. I was never struck as a child and for most part was well-behaved particularly in my teenage years. I was given freedom to do what I wanted as long as I told Mum the truth. Which I always did, and still do to this very day. Lying has always felt like a waste of time to me. I’m not someone who makes up stories unless it’s in a creative sense. As a kid it’s winter evenings with Mum I remember the most, her in a pink dressing gown, me in my pajamas often doing homework in front of the heater.
“Nobody will ever love you more than mum does” she’d say to me and give me a the biggest hug. Always a hug, never a kiss.
One night, Mum became aware of a strange sound coming from inside the roof…above us. I remember we stood together looking up at the ceiling. What could the racket be? Mum was convinced there was a family of rats living above us in the roof. I wasn’t so sure, I thought they were possums, but Mum would have nothing of it! At first Mum was terrified by the critters…and Mum being terrified, made me terrified too. But, gradually she plucked up courage to have a go at the noisy litter buggers and she started to fight back…shouting and screaming at them, and demanding that I do something to stop the noise above us!
“What can I do Mum?”
“I don’t…Kill’em” she screamed.
“How? What with?”
“Oh, how would I know.”
“Well, Mum if you don’t know, how should I know”
I was after all only thirteen years old at the time.
“Get a stick!”
“A stick?”
“Yes. Well don’t just stand there, son. Oh, get out-of-the-way Noel, I’ll do it myself.”
“But, Mum…!” In a flash, Mum returned from the kitchen with broom and proceeded to bang the broom handle violently on the ceiling.
“Get out you bastards” she screamed. The noise she was making was deafening, louder than any noise the little creatures were making. The banging sent mum’s rats into a frenzy and they began hurling themselves about, from room to room above us. It was nothing less than a commotion. Then everything went silent…Mum and I dropped to the floor, eventually sleeping soundly from exhaustion. The next night, same thing… brooms, banging and a helluva lot of commotion by Mum. If the possums/rats had any common sense they would have packed up and moved abode, maybe to Darryl Ford’s place next door…sadly for them they decided to stay and stick it out. This bizarre ritual went on for weeks. My mother becoming more crazed with every sound in the roof, the rats (or possums) refusing to leave, defying the madwoman banging the broom on the ceiling, dressed all in a pink. One day at the local supermarket I watched as mum reached for the rat poison. This was it, I thought…the final showdown. The possums/rats were dead unless I did something.
“Mum I think they’re possums.”
“Oh Noel they are not possums, they are very big rats.” Mum was always right!
“Mum I’m sure they’re really possums.”
“Rubbish son, I know rats when I hear them” she barked and pushed the trolley towards the checkout, rat poison on top of the grocery pile. That night the house was quiet, the possums must have known there was something up. Confused by the silence, Mum started banging on the ceiling an hour early than normal. Grabbing the step-ladder, she reached up towards the manhole in the hallway, and pushed it open.
“Noel pass me the poison” Mum said.
“Mum, they’re possums” I said.
“Noel, please” she shouted. I reluctantly handed her the rat poison. What followed is too ghastly for me to write about…I still feel a little sick when I think about it to be honest. Let’s just say the little critter’s in the roof met their match that night…with my mother! Damn! I just noticed the time…it’s New Year’s Eve 2014, I started this story about Mum a week ago. How long have I been writing today? I dressed, called a taxi and waited outside in the night air for it to arrive. The Indian taxi driver adjusted his mirror as I got in then asked politely where I wanted to go…? “Collingwood thanks, mate.”
“How’s your day, mate?” he continued.
“Not bad ” I replied looking at the time on my iPhone. “Yours?”
“Very good. I’ve been celebrating.”
“What have you been celebrating? New Year?”
“No, mate. My mother arrived from India yesterday and all the family are celebrating.”
I smiled to myself… I guess that’s exactly what I’ve been doing too.
“Nobody will ever love you more than ya mum” I said to him.
“Yeah I know” he replied as the taxi turned into Punt Road. I opened the passenger window and looked up at the night sky and thought to myself…Happy New Year Mum!
About the author: Noel Anderson completed NIDA’s Playwright Studio in 1996. His play Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame will be performed at the Jewish Museum of Australia Saturday nights in May 2015.
Bookings: http://www.trybooking.com/129490
Noel recently co-wrote a musical called Audrey Hepburn and I Consider Our Assets which secured its first financial backer in February 2015….but he is still seeking more financial angels. The musical is a six-year labour of love…you can find the songs on YouTube and you can like the musical on Facebook.
http://australianplays.org/script/ASC-1542 http://youtu.be/80d8gZ7Dghk