Mongrel 2020: music theatre, cabaret, and live performance to watch online

Still from Shattered Selves Chapter 2: Productivity. Supplied.
Still from Shattered Selves Chapter 2: Productivity. Supplied.

What happens when Music Theatre students and Interactive Composition students from the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music bring together their creative talents in the lockdown era?

"Mongrel brings together Music Theatre students and Interactive Composition students in a performance-making project which usually results in four live performances at Grant Street Theatre," explains actor, writer, director, and Victorian College of the Arts alum Maude Davey.

"In recent years, the show has been framed as a variety show, made up of several items, created by mixed groups of students. For the Music Theatre students it's their first taste of making something that showcases their talents and exercises their artistic authorship, according to the independent theatre or cabaret model they will encounter upon graduation.

"When the COVID-19 lockdown was imminent we threw the challenge out to the students: what can you make in isolation, for an online audience, which honours the principle aims of the project, which are about collaboration and progressing each students' conception of themselves as a maker of work?

"I am incredibly proud of and awed by the skill, innovation and grace with which they rose to that challenge."

We have curated a small selection of the student works for your viewing pleasure.

Alien Idol

Sponsored by the ABC (Alien Broadcast Company), Alien Idol 2020 was a fictional contest designed as a parody of popular music competition, Australian Idol. Performed and created by Nick Candy, Chloe Crick, Scout Hook, Jackson Howe, Sydney Miller, and Ryan Powderly, under the auspices of Head of Music Theatre Tyran Parke, Alien Idol 2020 was designed to let Instagram users vote for their favourite Alien superstar.

Ruth, the alien, performed by Scout Hook, was the winner of the competition. You can watch the hilarious videos of all five competitors on Instagram @alienidol2020.

Shattered Selves
Duality and dichotomy. Human beings are far from simple in the spectrum of self.

Shallow, deep, funny, depressed, horrifying, peaceful, brilliant, plain. All are a part of our conflicting existence and all of us must reconcile these shattered selves.

When pushed to the brink of self, how do we cope? When revealed, how do we engage with our darkness? In darkness how do we use our light?

Self is as fragile as a pane of glass and Shattered Selves gives a non-linear deep dive into the bizarre contrast of human beings. Through the collision of form, image, sound, tone, movement and bodies Shattered Selves creates a mirror for the audience to consider themselves and their surroundings.

Shattered Selves consists of five individual short video works:

1. Prologue - Kaleidoscope
2. Productivity
3. Dream
4. Clusterf**k
5. Demon Inside

Performed by: Tiegan Denina, Monique Vergara, Brandon Stoddart, Obed Wallis and scored by Ryan Basile and Melita Collins. With special thanks to Hudson Wallis.

Family Time
It’s monopoly time ... again ... for the XYZ family. This mini-musical subverts the idea of collaboration in isolation by reimagining the characters as inhabiting the same room – a collective dream of togetherness in the desolation of isolation.

Family Time was performed and created by: Phillip Humphrey, Asha Khamis, Monica Lim, Michael Goetze, Lachlan Phipps, Caity Plummer and Sam Richardson.

Mongrel presents new Australian works developed by Music Theatre and Interactive Composition students at the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. Read an interview with Maude Davey about the Mongrel project.