Performing in Fog

Janice Florence
Fog Theatre is a drama group for people with a disability. It started in 1991 in St Kilda. The members love playing music. They also like to act and dance. Fog recently performed a show called Forest of Gongs. It was a great show. After the show the performers enjoyed meeting the audience.
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Janice Florence on 09/09/2011
A man sits between two large musical gongs and is looking down at his hands. Another man is reaching out to touch him.
Fog Theatre

Fog is mysterious and poetic

Fog is mysterious and poetic, like what happens when this group performs, says David Wells. Mr Wells is director of the drama group Fog Theatre.

Fog was formerly known as JustUs Drama. All members are people with an intellectual disability. Fog is part of a rich arts program run by the City of Port Phillip.

Mr Wells says Fog workshops and their annual performances are very powerful. The creative rituals shared together are powerful and intimate, he says. There is not much talking, as many members do not communicate by talking.

Forest of Gongs

Fog Theatre recently performed the show Forest of Gongs at Theatreworks in St Kilda. The show is about human connection. In the show, the music drives the action. Group members play drums and gongs and sing. Others mime, act and dance. They display a huge range of human emotions including joy, love, fear and menace.  

The show features a series of gleaming brass musical gongs. The instruments hang on wooden stands. They create an atmospheric landscape and soundscape. During the performance, the characters hide, creep and dance among the gongs. They search together and then flee from some unknown danger through the gong forest.

After the show, the performers enjoyed mingling with the audience.

Great stage presence

Melissa has been with the group for two years. In the show Melissa performs the part of a scarlet bird. She squawks, stalks, darts and circles gracefully. She is a naturally gifted dancer with great stage presence.

 The best thing is singing and dancing, mainly dancing, Melissa says. I just love performing.

Another performer Moshe talks silently in an expressive language of gestures and looks. Mime is his day-to-day way of communicating. It is striking when on stage.

Tim is a relative newcomer to Fog. I enjoy it, he says. I enjoy performing and making friends, doing scripts. (And) I love dancing.  

Clem also performs with Rawcus Theatre Company. He is an experienced performer who has been with Fog for many years. Clem loves dancing and drumming. He sometimes helps teach the newer members.

Another actor Peter says he likes dressing up, dancing and making up my own speeches.

Totally original

There are around 15 members of the group. Throughout the year they meet once a week for a four-hour workshop in East St Kilda. The group began in 1991. David Wells has been directing them for six years.  

I have great respect for them, says David. They are totally original, emotional and sensitive. They have great commitment. I love the humour among the group.

Mr Wells is also impressed by the performer’s versatility. In the last show they all did music. This time we worked on dancing and acting-the concept of being bad if you are not. It’s been a great creative challenge.

New show

Fog Theatre will perform a new show later this month called cumulus nimbus. It is a series of short works that incorporate dance, original music and humour.

The show is part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Performances will be held on September 21, 22 and 23 at Theatre Works in St Kilda. Tickets can be purchased from the Melbourne Fringe Festival website (opens new window).

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