Saturday, 7 November 2015
This is Verity here.
It has felt strange to be so far away from the making of a new show, especially one as complicated as We Are The Ghosts of the Future. Rule One of making theatre is ‘Go to the 110% of anything you CAN fix, just in case something else that you CAN’T falls off the truck.’ And to be 15,000 kilometres away just doesn’t cover for that.
Still. There have been recompenses, not least the serendipity of research for another show throwing up small gems that illuminate aspects of my share of this current one.
I went to look at the cemeteries of the Australian war dead from World War I out near Amiens just north of Paris. There were a number of locations – principle battle sites, and various memorials. We stopped for lunch at a small auberge near Villers Bretonneux (now the site of the truly impressive Australian Government War Memorial). It caters to both locals and the tourist trade. On the walls in a room ancillary to the lunch tables was a series of photographs of letters from World War I soldiers back home. I’ve seen quite a lot of these, but in this rough context I saw them anew.
Harriet (director) and Hugh (designer) had asked for items for one of the installations for Ghosts; so one of the letters on the wall at this village inn in rural France became the basis for a letter from my protagonist’s beloved, Fred, back home to his family. Here is the photograph of one of the originals (not the one I used for Fred).
In a European culture that is far older than the transported (European) one we have in Australia, I have been thinking so much about history, how all of us are the ghosts of unimaginable futures. It feels great to be a part of a show that reaffirms our relative transparency, but also honours the signs that others have left.