The Adelaide Show Podcast putting South Australian passion on centre stage

293 – A Taste of OzAsia Adelaide

A Taste Of OzAsia Adelaide with Steve Davis and Laura Kroetsch

In this week’s episode of The Adelaide Show, Steve creates a taste of OzAsia Adelaide through two intriguing elements of the festive, on from October 17 to November 3, 2019.

The first is the production, Light, the play that explores our darkness through a revisionist history of the theft of Penang, the birth of Adelaide, and the rise of the British Empire.

And the Jaipur Literary Festival’s manifestation as JLF Adelaide. This free program, guided by advisor Laura Kroetsch, former director of Adelaide Writers Week, introduces you to some of the Asian region’s most celebrated writers, thinkers and performers.

This week, the SA Drink Of The Week is a Blanc de Blancs from Grey-Smith Wines.

And in the Musical Pilgrimage, we hear a new love song by local singer/songwriter, Steve Charles.

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Running Sheet: A Taste Of OzAsia Adelaide

00:00:00 Intro 
00:02:10 SA Drink Of The Week
Blanc de Blancs from Grey-Smith Wines, Coonawarra. A vintage wine with no vintage claimed on the label. Also meet the winemaker Uli Grey-Smith as we explore the SA Drink Of The Week.
00:06:40 Light: Thomas Henning and Terence Conrad

I was at the OzAsia Festival Launch earlier this year and one show stood out against all the rest for me was, Light. As someone who has produced 6 years worth of podcasts putting South Australian passion and history and endeavour on centre stage, I was intrigued to think a co-production between local and Malaysian artists could shed more light on the famous (or is that infamous), Light family. To shine a light on this production and some intriguing history, I have Australian writer/director Thomas Henning, and Malaysian theatre maker, Terrance Conrad from TerryandTheCuz.

In 1786, Colonel William Light’s father, Francis Light, claimed Penang, a Malaysian island, as British property. How is this story taught in schools in Malaysia?

We do hear apologists for the Empire claim that many of these outposts would have been undeveloped, destitute, and prey to primitive and savage justice and systems, were it not for British influence. What do you think Penang would have been like were it not for Francis’ actions?

Leonard Cohen wrote there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. In any sense can we find “light” in the darkness of one nation stomping in and claiming ownership over a land?

I have lived in South Australia most of my life and cannot recall ever learning about Colonel William Light’s father, Francis. Thomas and Terry, do you think the William Light story NEEDS the Francis Light story, or are they self-contained?

What do we learn about William from Francis? How pivotal is the role of William’s mother in all of this?

Did anything Francis did influence William’s plans for Adelaide?

Terry, how do you react when you hear us boast of our well-planned city?

Where were the seeds planted for this project?

If audiences here feel drawn to visit Penang, firstly, should they (I hear that tourism is running rife and there is great resentiment), and secondly, if they would be welcome, what would be a good approach to take?

How active is the theatre scene in Penang? How much would be accessible to visitors?

00:34:30 JLF Adelaide: Laura Kroetsch

The Jaipur Literary Festival is the world’s largest, free, literary festival and during OzAsia, we get a taste of the event with JLF Adelaide. The team behind the event is Teamwork Arts and their advisor is a familiar name to anybody who loves books and writers, its former director of Adelaide Writers Week, Laura Kroetsch.

Laura, I would like to publicly apologise for never having attended an Adelaide Writers Week Festival event. I feel ashamed. Why did I not take time off work and invest a day in such an event?

How does JLF Adelaide compare to the Jaipur Literary Festival – is it a brother/sister, a cousin, an uncle/aunt, or a casual aquaintance?

You have long been an advocate of free literary festivals. Why must such festivals be free?

I would love to hear how you distinguish literature from fiction and by way of prelude, I would like to take us to New Zealand, given you directed writers week festivals there before Adelaide. Since 1988, I have regularly referred to a quote from Janet Frame’s The Carpathians. It is a line in which one of her characters shares this immensely beautiful, compact reflection on a small town in New Zealand as being typical of all small towns with its “factions, frictions, fictions, and fractions.” That is eloquent writing. So, is it that the quality of reflections in the narrative that distinguishes literature from fiction?

Or is it the themes? For example, the blurb for JLF Adelaide says we’ll explore themes of myth, privilege, history, violence, gender, hope, and peculiar places. Most of these are themes that draw people in with wonder. But novels exploring privilege, I would expect that the people who might benefit from reading such work are going to wonder – do I read something that will be an exhilarating and/or entertaining journey, or will I read something where I’ll be constantly bashed over the head by messages telling me how bad I am?

Do you have a sense of market share between literature and general fiction?

Do you think there might be a need for a LITERACY festival to make sure we have a pipeline of new people for LITERARY festivals in the future? I ask because I saw this post: OH SNAP ADELAIDE!! SURPRISE GIG TOMORROW // Slide in early to get a spot, limited cap, selling a bunch of cool stuff + we’ve got the stellar lahds from Stork (band) + Ethanol Blend ripping tunes on the decks how good. Now, Peter Carey wrote his Ned Kelly novel without punctuation for literary effect and it was a pain to read. How do we get the balance right between being a fussy irrelevant grumbler and someone who relishes word play in all its manifestations?

On Smart Arts recently, you and Peter Goers got into a discussion about Young Adult Fiction and you made a comment about there being lots of bad YA fiction, in fact, lots of bad fiction. Can you define what makes fiction bad?

You also riffed a little about Harry Potter and bemoaned the fact that the series was so dominant. I’d like to hear more about that, given my 11yo has just become swept up in Potter fever. And to chart a course, she asked some of her friends to explain why they like Harry Potter. Here is what a group of 11yo girls said:

  • The animals are cleverly created
  • Harry Potter inspires people and activates creativity including a friend who has made four inventions
  • Because of all the owls
  • When you read it you feel like you’re there; it’s realistic. It’s set in a mysterious place
  • The story behind the author (a girl not a boy)
  • All the spells
  • The tons of different characters and their detailed personalities
  • Dumbledor has a good looking beard

How can we best prepare ourselves for JLF Adelaide?

How do we sift through the program?

01:15:50 Musical Pilgrimage
In the musical pilgrimage, we have a track called Lonely Hearts by Steve Charles.

Here’s this week’s preview video – there is no video this week.

SFX: Throughout the podcast we use free sfx from for the harp, the visa stamp, the silent movie music, the stylus, the radio signal sfx, the wine pouring and cork pulling sfx, and the swooshes around Siri.

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