Malthouse Theatre Season Two Marion Potts

When was the last time you sat in a darkened theatre wishing you could rewind events, replay them from different perspectives, or better yet, change the ending? In what's destined to become one of the most talked-about shows of 2011, murder mystery, Half-Real, hands over power to the audience - literally. Using interactive technology, from the latest in real-time movement tracking, projected imagery and 3D movement mapping, the action on stage will fall prey to the desires of the audience.


"Just like Choose Your Own Adventure," explains Artistic Director, Marion Potts, "the audience can decide where the plot should stop or decide that they don't like one particular outcome and choose another."


If Season One was all about "the shock value", then Season Two at Melbourne's Malthouse Theatre is characterised by "epic journeys about the human experience" with equal measures of surprise, experimentation and artistic excellence.

"We're very happy about the range of shows we're offering audiences in Season Two," says Potts, who confesses that programming the lineup of any season is "hugely complicated".


"The most exciting part is talking to the range of artists that come to us with projects -it's always an embarrassment of riches. We shortlist the projects that have fantastic artistic merit and audience appeal, right from physical theatre, dance or text-based work that may cross into music. After that, we enter into a series of negotiations and logistical considerations. It's a big and complicated task, but thoroughly rewarding."


It's this interaction with "really interesting ideas," that has secured Melbourne's spot as the arts capital of Australia, argues Potts. "Melbourne's healthy and vibrant independent theatre scene is constantly fuelling the work that is on our stages."


These days, she is constantly on the lookout for "the highest quality of work" that will defy expectations and deftly manipulate the audience's emotional journey. "It's our responsibility to expose audiences to all types of theatre. Each show is designed to surprise and illicit a particular experience."


So strap yourself in and let Potts guide you through some of the highlights of Season Two:


Feel the fear with... Pin Drop . An exploration of our most private experiences of fear, drawing on interviews from people aged six to 92 years of age. Tapping into our primal urges and subconscious anxieties, the production won the 2010 Green Room Award, Outstanding Production (Independent & Hybrid Performance). "I'm thrilled to be sharing this enormously successful production with a larger audience."


Something to warm the heart... Namatjira combines narration, dance, mime and voice to deliver the story of Albert Namatijira - from early on in his life to his resounding success as an artist. "It's an epic journey that has some fantastic and rewarding moments." Bonus: Third-generation watercolour artists will create expansive works before the audience's eyes.


Draw on your introspective side with… Look Right Through Me . The instantly recognisable work of Australian cartoonist, poet and philosopher, Michael Leunig is brought to life in this production that incorporates dance and physical theatre. "It's very exciting that Kate [Denborough] who is a fantastic choreographer, is collaborating with the legendary, Michael Leunig."


Rock out with Tim Rogers in... The Story Of Mary Maclane By Herself tells the story of the revolutionary, promiscuous prophet, Mary Maclane - a no-holds-barred confessional by a 19 year-old and her contempt for moral hypocrisy. "It's a story that dates back 100 years and is still utterly fascinating." Bonus: The score is provided by the infamous Tim Rogers and his band.


Be moved by... Die Winterreise , recounts the story of a man who conjures his past in order to deal with it, expressed through the magnificence of Franz Schubert's genre defining song cycle. "Incorporating dance, music and the spoken word, it's a truly moving piece."


In the mood for a laugh? Catch Little Match Girl, directed by Potts herself, starring multi-award winning international cabaret sensation, Meow Meow. The famed bitter-sweet Hans Christian Andersen fable is retold with a twist. Featuring Mitchell Butel, (Avenue Q) in a fantastical tale that promises cut-throat comedy with a dark edge and a whiplash score. "This show will be really great fun and terrific for audiences in the lead up to Christmas.


Potts welcomes the experienced, mildly curious and first-timers to discover it's new works. "This season will be unlike any other," she says. "Most importantly, it will be affirming and hopeful."

Marion Potts presents Malthouse Theatre's Season Two from July 20 - December 11 this year at Malthouse Theatre in Southbank. For full programme details and ticketing head to malthousetheatre.com.au or call 9685 5100.