Saturday, September 17, 2011


Failing In Love Again - a musical cabaret

"When composer Friedrich Hollaender back in 1929, wrote the original version of Falling In Love Again for Sternberg's Blue Angel, he could not have forseen that in 1979 a brilliant writer/composer Jan Cornall, would cleverly paraphrase this title into the entertaining Failing In Love Again cabaret. The comparison between the two themes is not so far fetched. Cornall's cabaret artists blare out the summary of their sexual disenchantment in a way that makes us laugh, chuckle and nod our heads."
                                                                                     The Australian Jewish News 1979

Standing Up Bent - Woman on the Run (one woman play) plus Aroma Billings - multi cultural waitress.

"Comic genius! Standing up Bent is the expression of a remarkable comedienne. Jan Cornall shows us that a persons saving grace is the ability to laugh - at one's self"
                                                                                                        Canberra Times 1983

 Escape From a Better Place - play
" A witty clever comic cry for liberation from the tyranny of the materialism of modern urban societies and the constraints of the weary treadmills of working and domestic life.
                                                                                                         Canberra Times 1987

Talk - feature film starring Victoria Longley, Angie Milliken , Richard Roxborough.
Directed by Susan Lambert, screenplay by Jan Cornall.
Nominated for AFI best actor award.

" Brimming with female revelations, erotic conversations and frank and funny disclosure. These are women who don't simply talk, but as we see by the films conclusion, are empowered by their mutual support and easy confidence, to act as well."
                                                                                                             Cinema Papers 1994

At the Crossroads  - a musical about women on the land
Written by Jan Cornall.
Musical arrangements, additional songs and melodies by Chrissie Shaw.
Directed by Camilla Blunden.

"This is Australian theatre of the best traditional kind: entertaining in a slightly larrikin way, encouraging the audience to clap, cheer and whistle while also eliciting silent appreciation of the reality of peoples lives in the bush. Issues  are confronted through the women's stories, gathered in research across the nation, not in an ideological way but with humanity, humour and sensitivity to the complexities of land ownership, ecological degradation, love loyalty and spirituality."
                                                                                                       Canberra Times  1997

Hanging Onto The Tail Of A Goat - a solo performance by Tibetan/Australian, Tenzing Tsewang
Written by Jan Cornall from stories told by Tenzing Tsewang.
Directed by Brian Joyce.
Produced by Sabina Lauber.

 "Writer Jan Cornall has worked with Tenzing’s stories to produce a cyclically anecdotal.. reflection of this man’s life.... uses humour and lightness to tell a story redolent with loss, injustice and suffering. As my companion observed - a whisper can be louder than a scream. The jaded postmodern eye is surely confounded by this ingenuous, peaceful and honest work. There is very little theatrical drama, no tension or angst. With all the injustices and atrocities, hardships and disappointments that this man has suffered you’d expect to see anger, grief, resentment or questioning in the face of the loss of his country, wife and child. But there is none. Instead, a gentle recount delivered with respect and equanimity. Tenzing Tsewang demonstrates rather than tells the practice of Buddhism and refuses hectic and exhausting emotionalism. Under floating video clouds he allows us to contemplate the paradox of happiness, injustice and impermanence."
                                                                                                          Realtime Arts 2001

Performance at Utan Kayu Literary Biennale, Jakarta - performance poetry
Lauren Williams and Jan Cornall joined international and local writers and poets in an Indonesian three cities performance - Bandung, Lampung and Jakarta

"Poets Cornall, Williams: Artists are Ambassadors
Williams and  Cornall both feel that raising the profile of Indonesian literary artists can only be good for their country and conversely their own experience has shown the Indonesian public are eager and ready for such exposure. Cornall has found her own amusing subject in the helplessness of foreign participants to find their way during the tour. 'I'm lost', she recites (in Indonesian language  - Aku tersesat!) full of pathos and despair. The impromptu piece follows one such participant on a quest for milk for their tea, unable to locate a grocery store nearby. The poem ends with the character finally finding the store and milk only to turn around and moan - now where is the hotel? "
                                                                                                    The Jakarta Post 2005

Take Me To Paradise - novel
published by Saritaksu Editions 2006

While Cornall's first work of prose -- she has previously written plays, poetry, songs and a screenplay -- explores underlying themes of abandonment, self-denial and loss, it is never pedantic nor forced in their treatment, and at times borders on self-effacing. Instead, what stands out is her sense of humor, one that finds the comic in all encounters, especially the absurd and awkward.

Cornall's humor is particularly apparent in Marilyn's imagined monologues, whether to explain why she is going to Bali to the passenger beside her on the plane, or as she ponders over her past and relives experiences in full view of the reader -- such as her fumbling experiment with Internet dating.
These monologues are so honest, genuine and stark in their effortless delivery that one begins to suspect that Take Me to Paradise is semi-autobiographical.

And in the end, her escape is one that turns into a journey, not so much of self-discovery as one of self-awakening -- of senses and sensuality, independence and individuality. Paradise, in this sense, exists within oneself.

Part travel journal, part diary, Take Me to Paradise is a gem of a novella likely to become a well-worn travel companion.
                                                                                       Chisato Hara, The Jakarta Post, 2006

Take Me To Paradise - stage show based on Jan's novel of the same name.
Written, produced by Jan Cornall
Directed by Brian Joyce
Music by Deva Permana, Wendy Angerrani
Puppetry by Jumaadi
Poems and performance by Sitok Srengenge

"A combination of autobiography, cabaret and narrative, 'Take Me To Paradise'
was not only a superb entertainment achieved through a fusion of song, poetry
and cultural effects, but was provocative, ironic, funny and thoughtful. Jan
Cornall's vibrant energy matched and meshed with Sitok Strengenge's deep,
meditative and powerful poetic voice to provide the fluctuating rhythms which
made the evening so memorable. Supported by puppetry, traditional percussion
and tasteful jazz, 'Take Me To Paradise' was one of the highlights of the
OzAsia Festival. It made us re-think art and life ... what little difference
there is between them when talents combine and cultures intermingle to share
their history and their laughter."

                              Brian Castro, Chair of Creative Writing, University of Adelaide, 2008.

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