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Posts from the ‘Sydney’ Category


The boyfriend and I saw “Terminus” by Mark O’Rowe with Declan Conlon, Olwen Fouéré and Catherine Walker. T’was the Abbey Theatre /Amharclann Na Mainistreach production at the Sydney Theatre Company. I wasn’t sure if the boyfriend was enjoying it. I did notice he was sitting forward on his seat quite a bit with an intent expression but I needn’t have worried, at the end he said it was “the best bit of theatre” he’d ever seen. I thought it was brilliant.

As is our wont we were at the performance when the actors pop out afterwards to answer questions. I love to hear their personal voices and look at the way they move in comparison to the way they “act.” But some people were starting to leave!  Had they forgotten? Did they not know better? Andrew Upton suddenly popped up from the seat in front of us and announced that we should wait if we wanted to”Meet the Cast”. I don’t know why that bit was relevant other than it was a bit of a surprise to have Andrew Upton pop up in front of us and address the theatre. There was that moment when I thought someone was transgressing social norms, which would have been exciting. We were in a theatre after all. The boyfriend said, “Oh, it’s Andrew,” like he was our old mate from way back.

I’d like to report (not that it matters one bit) that the actors were back out on stage in NO TIME AT ALL. Truly, they must have rushed. If you consider that they had just performed without a break for 90 minutes and then they were changed and back out in a flash. I was impressed.

Anyway, I had no intention of asking a question. I didn’t have any questions. I was satisfied and quite happy to soak it all in like a bristly dry sponge. That is, until the STUPID CODGER opened his mouth. Oh, shut up, mate. Sydney is on display here. We have to come up with half decent questions for these brilliant Irish actors who have just performed a brilliant play. What does he ask? Honestly?

STUPID CODGER: That could really be a radio play. There wasn’t much acting in it.


ANDREW UPTON glances at BRILLIANT IRISH ACTORS, next to him on the stage.

I reckon the expression on Andrew’s face was an instant mixture of apology, embarrassment and humour all in a split second until everyone else in the theatre decided the old bloke asking the question was stupid and a codger. Although, for the sake of completeness I would like to report that the SC seemed to be with a female companion. The best phrase to describe her is ‘one who is hunkered’, but in defence or embarrassment of the SC I could not say.

My heart started to race. I had to ask a question, bloody hell. I hate asking questions. I like to be like the actor on stage who wasn’t answering questions (Yes, indeed but why was this cast member so quiet? I longed to hear her speak. Speak, silent actor! Speak!) But the reputation of Sydney audiences was at stake. I had to think up a question worthy of the BRILLIANT IRISH ACTORS and the BRILLIANT PLAY. Okay.

In this question, I wanted to:

Thank the BRILLIANT IRISH ACTORS for coming all this way. I couldn’t get to Dublin to see this show. Yes, I was grateful. But I am aware that an expression of thanks is not a question. I needed a question pertinent to the play. So, I decided I would ask about the rehearsal process. I was interested and it was relevant and perhaps, hopefully redeeming.

I raised my hand. I had competition from two other raised hands but Andrew Upton looked straight at me and said, ‘Yes, up the back.”

I can report that my question went down a treat. The audience clapped in response to my expression of thanks to the BIA for performing in Sydney. This established that the SC was outnumbered, phew! I used the word “Brilliant” in reference to the play. Then asked the question about rehearsal. When the attention was off me, the boyfriend leaned in and whispered, “Good question, well done.” I said, “I had to,” glancing at SC.

One would think that all was right with the world by this stage but no. We were dealing with a SC. As soon as my questions was answered he squeaked up in his peeved voice something along the lines that he thought it was unfair/outrageous that “we” had paid “$200 or something” to see something “we” could hear “for nothing” on the radio. Yes, the impossible, the inconceivable had happened again.

I’m not going to write another word about the SC other than to say that I did a “Writing for Radio” Course at the NSW Writer’s Centre last year and the boyfriend mentioned that the SC was probably on the course with me because he was such an expert on radio plays. Do you know, I think he was, even though I could only see the back of his head. Seriously, I think he was.

Time to sign off now but I’d like to leave you with this thought:

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ” Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

Necessary qualifications:

  • That quote is sexist.
  • The SC is not really the embodiment of evil.
  • That quote  is usually used in response to fascism but you know the wedge does have a very thin edge.

Gross und Klein

Gross und Klein

A year after the event might seem like a long time to some people, but who cares about them?

I loved this play; still think about it. Lotte wandering the stage; lonely, alone; talking, talking, talking –  to us, to herself, to anyone who’ll listen.

We took the whole family to this one, which is an EXTRAVAGANCE  but what else is there worth spending one’s money on in this crazy world? I could buy my girls shoes like this but no, I’d rather spend my money on theatre experiences they don’t understand.

Indeed, our youngest teenager emerged from the theatre to announce that she didn’t understand a thing. I spent most of my youth watching or reading things I didn’t understand so I reckon that’s okay, possibly even the way it should be. The boyfriend also announced that he didn’t understand any of it either. Later, I asked him, privately,  if he really hadn’t  understood it at all? His reply – he’d just said that so our daughter got the message that it was okay not to understand stuff. Top bloke, the boyfriend.

As for me – did I understand it? Ja. Nicht. Vielleicht. But it made sense to me. Complete and utter sense. I’d like to see it again but I can’t.

It happened, it’s gone and lives on only in our memories, old ticket stubs and blog posts that come a year after the event. Bloody good theatre.


Take Your love to Belvoir


From the book by Ruby Langford Ginibi
Adapted by Eamon Flack Leah Purcell Director Leah Purcell

I saw this production on Friday night the 28th Dec and I’m still thinking about it now. In my blog, which this is, that’s a sign of a great piece of theatre.

I just have complete and utter praise for the performance, adaptation and spirit of this production. Leah Purcell is perfect in this role, just perfect. She manages to present the unending challenges and heartbreak faced by Ruby Langford Ginibi in a spirit that is constantly generous and independent. Transitions between parts of the story are perfectly timed. One incredible almost unbelievable story will end, we have a beat to gather our breath, and then Leah’s gorgeous smile will light up the room and we’re headed in a new direction. We’re in good hands. It’s a mature performance, truthful, surprising and satisfying.

It wasn’t Ruby Langford Ginibi in front of us but surely the spirit of this wonderful woman was with us. It was very emotional night. Well done Belvoir. Great theatre.

In three words – generous, satisfying, respectful.

Uncle Max and the Whale Dreaming

Today we visited the aboriginal rock carvings near The Basin at Pittwater in Sydney. I’d been wanting to visit these carvings pretty much from the time I first heard about them which was maybe thirty years ago but for some reason or other I’d never managed to get there. Well, today we had the opportunity to go with Uncle Max and we rushed out the door.

This is Uncle Max.

Uncle Max has been spending time with the senior girls from my daughters’ school. Teaching them about his culture and respect for the land. It’s had a big effect on the girls. He told us today that you  have to give it away if you want to keep it. So, he shared some of his knowledge with us.


This  tree is female.

Her skin is soft and smooth.

This is a fella…

We visited two sites of rock carvings and Uncle Max told us about the Whale Dreaming that he had been told as a child by his Dad and the other elders. I’m sorry this photo isn’t so good. I have to learn to use my camera.

We couldn’t work out what this one was …

Uncle Max told us it was a goanna, which is kinda obvious once you know.

Here is the real thing …


We weren’t lucky enough to see one in the wild today.  All I saw was Magpies,  bush turkeys and huge bull ants but we didn’t venture off the track too far so I’m sure there were more wild things out there.

We couldn’t work out why these little pools had been carved into the rock.

Uncle Max explained that they could scoop the water out of these pools and throw it onto the rock.  The water would dry off the smooth surface but stay in the grooves of the carvings as an outline. This way the artists could see how their picture was looking.

I love the colours in this rock.

This is a Willy Wag Tail


We didn’t see one of these today but Uncle Max said that these birds stopped him from becoming one of the Stolen Generation. He grew up on the South Coast of Sydney with all his family, all the older people and lots and lots of kids.  If ever people were coming their way the Willy Wag Tails would become very agitated; chirping loudly and doing excited dances. Whenever this happened they knew that someone was coming towards them and the kids were told to run off and hide in the bush. It worked because those kids weren’t taken away like so many others were. So, this little bird kept his family together. I’ve always loved Willy Wag Tails but now I’ve got even more reason to.

Thank you Uncle Max for teaching us today and thank you for letting me post these photos.

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