Thursday, 22 January 2009


I know I should have made an entry on the blog before rather than after the Sydney season of THE NARGUN AND THE STARS, but any writers out there will know just how fierce the final weeks of rehearsal can be. The complications of cutting and editing textual contributions to a highly visual show involving video, large, medium and small scale puppets, black light sequences and enormous items of set (A Nargun, a bulldozer, a tractor no less) without diluting the narrative drive are quite extreme. One was pretty stretched.

But it all came together on the night, as they say and we (by that I mean Erth Physical and Visual Theatre, the initiators, and Performing Lines, the producers, and me as adaptor and all the rest of the creative team and other workers on the show, have just had a dream opening season of NARGUN at Parramatta Riverside Theatre as part of the Sydney Festival (triple thanks to the audience on the Thursday preview...any of you out there who might stumble across this blog will know what I mean!)

Responses have included: ' The visual imagination and technical adventurousness is matched with a coherent and resonant narrative... a rare and pleasurable work that manages technical brilliance, cultural insight and enchantment in one go' - Stephen Dunne SMH 19th Jan;

'This production reaches into a realm that is all too infrequently explored. It provides a magical introduction to theatre, and to Aboriginal stories for children' Troy Lennon, Sunday Telegraph, Jan 19;

'An enchanting story no child should miss' - Sally Craig, Arts Hub, Jan 20 (NB Sally - Patricia Wrightson didn't 'adapt' her own story. There was a theatre writer who adapted her beautiful novel, namely me. It was quite hard work, as it happens, so acknowledgement is welcome when it comes.)

So now, tired but happy, the cast and crew are taking a well-earned rest before travelling to Perth for the Perth International Festival for a season in the Regal Theatre, opening on February 19th.

I have been thinking so much about how and why we make theatre, what it takes to get it right, how necessary, not to mention basic is the generosity that ensures that all partners in a creation can fully participate with their best work, the magic gift when you find there is someone there who is brave enough to 'hold the room', the necessity of developing the emotional muscles to be that person when you see it's needed, all this. The irony is I'm too tired at the moment to attempt to articulate it. So. Enuff.

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