The Bloom: Joyfully bringing a “Chaotic Worthless Explosion” to Crack Theatre Festival
Article by Cassandra Ramsay @cassramsay
Let’s talk about the elephants in the room – did that piece of performance actually mean anything or did we just read into it way too much? Are we allowed to ask that question or will that make us ignorant? Can human beings be relied on to make meaning out of everything? How much of that ability to locate narrative and intention is embedded within the human condition…
… The Bloom have taken these ideas and are throwing them at the wall at this year’s Crack Theatre Festival with their work Catalyst 189.
The Bloom are a new theatre company based in Melbourne which is run by emerging artists James Jackson, James O’Donoghue, Julia Martz, Katherine Monotti. The ensemble focus mainly on new works, either devised or texts sourced from young Australian writers.
Their work Catalyst 189 will explore the notion of anarchy through performance and the deconstruction of meaning and language.
According to James Jackson (co-founder of the ensemble along with James O’Donoghue), the project sprung from an interest in the position of the spectator in live performance. “Namely, that we are essentially meaning-making machines. From there arose an interest in a process with no real aims or motivations” he says.
During the festival the group hopes to initiate a discussion regarding why artists strive to make meaning in the theatre. Catalyst 189 will be the starting point for an experiment in whether or not a meaningful show can be made without the standard objectives provided of a production.
Drawing from the schools of Gaulier and Lecoq, the ensemble draws from clowning in forming their work. James goes on to say that their work reflects a young and explosive theatre, which locates the extremes of beauty and the grotesque. “[We have] a desire to locate meaning within a post-Disney dream world of an entirely constructed environment.”
Can you make sense or meaning out of any of it? Be sure to come along and find out.

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