Mark Haslam reckons he’s an odd collection of inspirations. He’s written, directed and performed in theatre (as he does with Concrete Heartbeat) but he has also lit up Alexander MacQueen’s show at London Fashion Week, flash mobbed with thousands in Berlin and played performances in Adelaide to the total crowd of one. We speak to the the up-and-coming multimedia artist as he gets set to take on the stage with kdmindustries.
Who are kdmindustries? kdmindustries are a collection of artists working to create new performance styles by fusing non-traditional theatrical forms. For instance, we take staging and lighting ideas from festivals and raves, combine them with the language of slam poets and mix in the beats from bedroom producers all over the world to create unique theatrical events.
Was it a challenge to coordinate the background visuals with the live performance? Yes and no. Thinking about visuals is the same as any other creative medium – if it’s the perfect way to develop the story, use it. The killer is when people just use it as a backdrop (I mean, come on, we got rid of painted backdrops in the 1900s) or tack it in late in a vain attempt at cool or ‘contemporary’. We think about the visuals as we’re thinking about the story, and the integration looks after itself.
Is there really magic in “living, literally, as one in a million”? Absolutely! The collective mindset of a million people can achieve almost anything and the great luxury of being one in a million is that it gives the potential of anonymity as well, which can be relaxing every now and again.
Would this performance only relate to those living in a city? This piece is about people surviving and thriving in urban environments. Although, anyone who’s lived in a community will get the point. It’s not buildings, highways and concrete that make cities, it’s the people who live inside them that matter. The greatest cities and the smallest villages only exist because people choose to live there. I think anyone can relate to that.
Is this a one-man show or a team effort? Both really. I wrote the show but it’s the combinations of the visuals, music and text that really seal the deal, not to mention all the inspirations each of us have drawn from. That really is what kdmindustries was founded upon – the collective experience. In a way, the beggars in Belgrade and the kids of London and the office workers in Sydney have put in just as much effort to the show’s creation. I just wrote their stories!
What can the audience expect at CONCRETE heartbeat? 8 stories with heart. Missed opportunities, lives half-lived, potential being realised. It’s an unashamedly positive show, best experienced within the collective – so bring your friends along.
Mar 15 – Apr 3, Old Fitzroy Theatre, cnr Cathedral St & Dowling St Woolloomooloo. $21-$33. 1300 438 849, rocksurfers.org