I knew it would go quickly, this season, but it has flown and here I am with 2 shows to go ya. I have loved – am loving – every moment of the ride.
The monumental task of putting it together solo, instead of as hired hand/cast member of a working company. Memorising the poems, finding a rehearsal space, spending hours on Marketplace looking for the set, hiring geniuses like Rob Sowinski and Justin Gardam to work with, working out what to pay them… being a producer, in fact. First time for everything. Old dog new tricks.
The frustrating, terrifying task of trying to find crew when the our industry has been ravaged by COVID, driving so many techs out of the ruins to find ‘real jobs’ away from the work they love. We approached 32 operators with no luck until – a week before we opened - by the luckiest of breaks, we got to work with the wonderful Hayley Fox – La Mama’s Venue Manager – the perfect stage manager.
The joy of sharing the bill with an ideal companion – Jayne Tuttle – only to witness the cruel sight of her being hit by the dreaded virus and having to cancel the 2nd week of her show. Hard times. Crushing disappointment for her and her director, John Bolton. All that work….Thank modern technology you are still able to see her wonderful one-woman show Paris Or Die online via the La Mama portal.
The fluke – thanks to Liz Jones - the enormous pleasure and privilege of being back at La Mama. The place where I started out as a baby actrene back in the heady late 60s. To experience, first hand, how good a job they have done reconstructing and augmenting this Melbourne cultural icon, this undisputed birthplace of modern Australian theatre. The spooky sameness of those walls in contrast with their spanking new solidity and all mod cons – like heating and a dressing room shower! Looxury.
Last time I played La Mama was in 2001 in a play by Barry Dickens entitled Go In Tight. And wouldn’t you know, this time around Barry’s son, Louis, has opened his first ever play Cheer Up Carl at La Mama Courthouse this very week, to rave reviews. Synchronicity rools.
I have been so touched by the number of friends (and acquaintances) who have come to my show. The plague is still raging, people are justifiably nervous about going out, but my friends and family made the trip, in the middle of this particularly bleak winter and I am deeply grateful for all their feedback and beautiful posts on ‘the socials’.
It almost goes without saying that it’s been great working with Terence O’Connell on this, our 6th show together. All the way from The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole in 1986 to this, Terence is that solid, trustworthy, guiding voice you want out there in the darkness keeping you in line, whipping you gently into shape. We laugh a lot.
But here I am, with the Saturday show at 8.30, the Sunday at 4pm to go. Still some seats available for both and I’d love it if the metaphorical curtain came down on a full house.
Next week it’ll be back to the paintbrushes and my weekly Thursday sing at Claypots Evening Star but I have cherished these past 2 weeks of being allowed to strut my stuff in that beloved space more than I can say.