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Posts from the ‘Theatre’ 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.

Tom Stoppard

“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”
― Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Don’t tell me the moon is shining…

In 1892 an editor asked Anton Chekhov for biographical information. This is what Chekhov wrote:

“Do you need my biography? Here it is. In 1860 I was born in Taganrog. In 1879 I finished my studies in the Taganrog school. In 1884 I finished my studies in the medical school of Moscow University. In 1888 I received the Pushkin Prize. In 1890 I made a trip to Sakhalin across Siberia-and back by sea. In 1891 I toured Europe, where I drank splendid wine and ate oysters. In 1892 I strolled with V.A. Tikhonov at the writer Shcheglov’s name-day party. I began to write in 1879 in Srekosa. My collections of stories are Motley Stories, Twilight Stories, Gloomy People, and the novella The Duel. I have also sinned in the realm of drama, although moderately. I have been translated into all languages with the exception of the foreign ones. However, I was translated into German quite a while ago. The Czechs and Serbs also approve of me. And the French also relate to me. I grasped the secrets of love at the age of thirteen. I remain on excellent terms with friends, both physicians and writers. I am a bachelor. I would like a pension. I busy myself with medicine to such an extent that this summer I am going to perform some autopsies, something I have not done for two or three years. Among writers I prefer Tolstoy, among physicians, Zakharin. However, this is all rubbish. Write what you want. If there are no facts, substitute something lyrical.”

And here is a quote from Chekhov that makes complete and terrible sense to me:

“I was oppressed with a sense of vague discontent and dissatisfaction with my own life, which was passing so quickly and uninterestingly, and I kept thinking it would be a good thing if I could tear my heart out of my breast, that heart which had grown so weary of life.”

But he did say this as well, so perhaps there is hope:

“Even in Siberia there is happiness.”

Katherine Mansfield nailed it on the head:

“Ach, Tchekov! Why are you dead? Why can’t I talk to you in a big darkish room at late evening—where the light is green from the waving trees outside? I’d like to write a series of Heavens: that would be one.”
Journal of Katherine Mansfield

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.

Beautiful One Day

Beautiful One Day

Great cast and concept. Loved the change of pace in the second half. This play should tour the schools nationwide. It really should. I wish it could.

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