In Shakespeare’s “As you like it” we hear Jaques tell us that “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.” He’s quite right … either Shakespeare or Jacques, you can take your pick. The character Jaques is a cynic: he does nothing, he just thinks. This reminds me of that poster that used to adorn the occasional wall in my youth. It showed a picture of a great ape and had the words “sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.” Shakespeare of course was making a point when he built the character. At least, I suppose he was … how many people do we know who just sit and think but never make a difference as a consequence?
Above: These fearsome people will be on display in December
I doubt that the industrious Linda Heald would wish to be compared with Shakespeare and she is certainly no Jaques. She is a person who does things. Perhaps you do not know of this woman. Her day job is something to do with libraries. In her spare time, she has written and is now directing the production of a pantomime called “Peter Pan: the Eurobodalla chapter”.
Among the play's many stars of stage and screen, it's the Deputy Mayor, who plays the role of; well that would be telling...
This magnificent ornament of the dramatist’s art is to be performed on 8 and 9 December 2017 at St Mary’s Performing Arts Centre, Queen Street, Moruya. I do not know if any play of Shakespeare has ever been performed in Moruya. I am not a betting man but if I were I should bet not. If I am right in this matter then Linda Heald has one over Shakespeare. She has written a script that is funny and full of what my daughters call “dad jokes”. And it is to play in Moruya.
I must claim a vested interest in this production for I have a part in it. In fact, I have two parts. The reason for this is that the Red Door Theatre Company is short of players. There are more pirates in this production than aspiring actors in the Shire. Hence, I am the crocodile and I am a pirate. This involves the fastest costume change known in the history of theatre for I leave the stage at the end of Scene 2 as a crocodile and return at the start of Scene 3 as a pirate. The real challenge, however, is to the audience: if I arrive upstage improperly dressed then I can only say that no pirate worth his salt was ever properly dressed. Not only has the playwright managed to persuade me to perform two parts, she has also inveigled our illustrious and much-admired Deputy Mayor to sing a song and to sing it solo. In another time and place, when the world was a smaller place, there would have been a hit single released and a new number one for the Christmas charts. But, even so, it’s worth coming to the play if only for Anthony Mayne’s vice-mayoral rendition of a particularly catchy number.
Above: A real-life crocodile
Linda’s script has been carefully written to balance the performing load: there are no truly massive parts, everyone has a go. There are even non-speaking parts. But it’s not only actors that are in short supply. A theatrical production is a project of some complexity. There is music in this production so we need musicians. Once you have musicians then they need proper arrangements. There are no proper arrangements, it’s a fact of musical life: they need to be created, hand-crafted. Then the audience needs to hear the music so you need a guy working the sound. You need, as it is called in the trade, a desk. That’s like a big junction box that balances the sound from different sources. Then you need people to work the lights … that means another desk but this time one that lets you turn the lights on and off, and fade them up and down. Building scenery is another occupation for the theatrical enthusiast. So far, I have built two tree trunks (papier mâché is an art in itself), a large net for catching people, and a boat made out of cardboard. A fellow thespian has painted the papier mâché tree trunks and they do really look like tree trunks. The Moruya Community Shed has built boats and waves. People have made costumes.
This production has been a whole new experience for me for another reason. We have a choreographer. We are not allowed just to throw any random shape. Our moves are choreographed. Now my dancing capabilities fall well short of anything that is required if a lady is to maintain her toes in an unbroken state. I think that a lot of my fellow cast members may be the same. Yet a choreographer has been found and the sword fighting scenes are not as random as they may seem. Every move is carefully planned if rather less skilfully executed. Jack is our choreographer and quite how he has squeezed any choreographic capability from us is a testament to his immense patience and good humour.
So, if you have read this far you will know that the entertainment opportunity of a lifetime awaits you, right here in Moruya. You will also know that we need more people to keep our production going. You do not need to strut your stuff in front of an audience if you are a shy and retiring type. You can be shy and retiring and be on props or making scenery or prompting. But volunteer to help. But even if you don’t want to volunteer you can still come and watch. We’re likely to make fools of ourselves but thing is: we don’t care.
“Peter Pan: the Eurobodalla Chapter” is showing at St Mary’s Performing Arts Centre, Queen Street, Moruya
7pm Friday 8 December
2pm Saturday 9 December
7pm Saturday 9 December
Tickets are adults: $15, concession: $10, children under 16:$5, children under 5: free), families with 2 adults and 2 children: $30
Where do I get a ticket?
Tickets are available from Bayside Therapies, Moruya Books and online at southcoasttickets.com.au/events.