Television Works

a production

Background

Television Works was a multi-media performance by → ↑ →. The project was developed with theatre cabaret producer Ralph Kerle and sought to bring media-based performance of the kind → ↑ → had specialized in to a wider audience. Ralph had been a key figure in producing and staging experiments in cabaret and live performance in Melbourne, and suggested the group do something for this context. Philip Brophy came up with the idea to do something on television - mainly because the theatre scenes (both mainstream and alternative) held strong disdain for the medium and its industry - despite the television industry giving countless actors, writers and directors stable income.

Jayne Stevenson, Philip Brophy, Leigh Parkhill, Maria Kozic & Ralph Traviato - The Met, Melbourne © 1981

Philip was mostly interested in how television at the time was a cesspool of contemporary image production in all its ugly glory. Television Works revelled in the swill, deconstructing and turning upside down most of its honoured cliches and numbing conventions - all live on stage. The show was divided into two halves - Daytime and Prime Time. True to the medium, 50% of the content of Television Works was devoted to advertising. In the face of politico attacks on Orwellian nightmares of 'the media', Television Works finishes with all 5 performers (dressed in colours referencing television colour-bars) exiting the stage to re-appear dancing on a TV monitor, living the dream of finally becoming televisualised.

Philip Brophy - The Met, Melbourne © 1981

Credits

Script, direction, video, audio & slides - Philip Brophy
Producer - Ralph Kerle
Performers - Philip Brophy, Maria Kozic, Ralph Traviato, Jayne Stevenson & Leigh Parkhill
Costumes - Maria Kozic & Jayne Stephenson

1981

The Met, Melbourne

Poster © 1981

Overview

From the original programme note

A message to those who don't watch television: television represents the real world. A message to those who do watch television: television does not represent the real world. The central issue of Television Works is representation. What exactly do the millions of television images represent? How do they represent? And why? And how do we present these representations to a gathered audience> A million questions for a million images.

Answers? Well, there are two ways of coming to terms with television. The first is to turn it off. The easy way out. The second is to engage in a battle in order to determine a wider view of the relationship between Viewer and Television than television allows. Television Works is an 80 minute excerpt from such a never ending battle.

Ralph Traviato, Jayne Stevenson & Leigh Parkhill - The Met, Melbourne © 1981

Technical

Programme

Daytime

Good Morning Melbourne. The New Ed Allen Show. Safeway. Hiltons Store. The Mike Walsh Show. Topex. Days Of Our Lives. Maxi Shields. The Young & The Restless. Gilligan's Island. Here's Lucy. I Dream Of Jeanie. Simon Townsend's Wonderworld. Clayton's. Red Rooster. 10 Eye-Witness News. Skippy. Family Feud. $50,000 Letterbox. Sale Of The Century. Fab. Coca Cola. World Of Sport. Lipton's. Disneyland.

Primetime

"Rapper's Delight". Dukes Of Hazard. Chips. The Sullivans. 10 Eye-Witness News. The Australian Army. Big M. Southern Comfort. Happy Days. Countdown. Asphixiation. Feed The Man Meat. Pal. Barry Jones' Wide World. The Don Lane Show. Dallas. Cop Shop. 60 Minutes. The Restless Years. Tattslotto. Bert Newton.

Philip Brophy, Ralph Traviato, Jayne Stevenson, Leigh Parkhill & Maria Kozic - The Met, Melbourne © 1981