by M. DeVille
A Play I saw in Sydney, Australia inspires this soliloquy ...
A Play I saw in Sydney, Australia inspires this soliloquy …
Delusional Dude is the new sobriquet I have chosen to accompany the other, better known one of a Baby Boomer.
Aaahh! But I digress. Let me tell you about…
yet another sojourn to Sydney to see Bambino in a major end of year production that had me sighing in resignation. This, reader, is not because he's not a good actor but because my mind had yet to conjure up another original way to say 'Wonderful! Very Moving.. funny, tragic, you really pulled it off! Interesting take on that play!
In the mirror of my mind’s eye, I waltz into my son’s arms as we greet each other in the foyer, just maybe no words would be necessary! I picture my …
Face One: kind, indulgent, motherly display of pride in offspring – words escape me.
Face Two: bright eyes and wide smile, accompanied by…
‘Simply astounding, Darling! The best so far, you just go from strength to strength!’
Face Three: a reflective and thoughtful, if not bemused expression invades my face - pseudo intellectual; with the near fatal words…
‘Mmmnnn, interesting take on that play’
(as it turned out, this last’ proved to be my authentic and spontaneous response. )
I groaned, making a sound like a deflated bag-pipe, finished packing my bags and made my way out to the airport. My flight had been cancelled! Not the one before or after - my flight.
I did not make a fuss although I really wanted to! Instead of a 09:30 am flight I can only get an 11:00 am booking, arriving just in time to hurl my bags into the reception area of my hotel and say I’ll complete check-in when I get back, jump straight back into the waiting taxi and ... arrive at the theatre in plenty of time to stand awkwardly for an hour and a quarter before the play starts.
They have removed all seating in the foyer to enable costume displays to be exhibited to an admiring public.
I try to phone my son, to let him know that I’ve arrived, and hopefully do a quick catch up before he disappears into the mysterious subterranean regions of the theatre, where the cast’s dressing rooms are. But no, my optimistic call is met with a response from his voice mail. I left a message, and looked yearningly at the closed bar, I would love a drink! Various innocuous beverages are on offer but no alcohol, and a wretchedness and gloom descend upon my psyche.
The play will be three hours long.
How does one feign excitement about such a prospect?
My son comes upon me looking mournfully at his photo amongst others behind the bar; I was actually lost in reverie, but am misinterpreted.
‘What do you think of my photo? Do you like it?’ he asks, in an anxious tone.
‘What! Oh. Yes, of course, Darling! I was just wondering if I was going to see you before the play, I didn’t have a very good morning…’ I babbled feebly at him.
Perhaps sensing the real reason for my unenthusiastic demeanour, he focused in on me in a determined way and proceeded to give me a brief of the portrayal of The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney as directed by the Delusional Dude. This is my personal, damning pronouncement on the director, due to my own projections of the outcome.
How could a sixty-odd page play turn into a three hour pilgrimage! Rrrrrighty-O! I’ll be there!
I was sure it would turn out to be of an Apocalypse Now-Genre; overly cerebral inspiration with a notional delivery by the play’s current director. A man of the Baby Boomer Epoch.
I go in to see the 2:30 p.m. matinee show with a pleased, pleasant expression fixed on’, willing my body language to follow suit. There is a brief interval of 15 minutes, roughly half way through. By necessity, the play is running to as tight a schedule as possible because there’s an evening performance starting at 7:30pm.
Are you with me? Matinee at 2:30 p.m. … three hour show and- next! 7:30 p.m.! Six hours of gruelling performance by the actors – and I attended both. I’m proud of my own, stoical performance of which I imagine others’ notice and think…
What a woman! How does she do it? What a good mother!
Another cause for anxiety is that Patricia, an old school friend of my son’s is supposed to meet me in the foyer for the evening performance. She has flown from Melbourne especially to see it and I am not sure that this play will please her at all. Unglamorous, with minimal costuming and sets, it is hardly a theatrical extravaganza! But she is a loyal and loving friend and sits with me through the scheduled three hours of the 7:30 p.m. show.
What amazes me most though, is that I’m genuinely impressed. The acting by these fine, elite young actors is Grand! They have pulled it off, and it was a big ask of young actors who played middle aged and older characters with aplomb. A few of them performing in the central role of Richard Mahoney, as he degenerates into an early dementia. A compelling portrayal, overall, which moved me to tears.
However, after the final act and resultant applause subside, Patricia and I are finally relieved of the cramped and unyielding seats that we’d occupied. Standing, we trail the others’ leaving the theatre and Loyal Friend and I adjourn to the fresh air for a lung-lolly , where we wait for my son to join us before flagging down a cab to take us away for a late supper.
Sydney, Australia! Only in Sydney have I ever seen mauve Taro-Milk Tea served with Mulberry coloured pearls – in an Asian restaurant. Delicious! Here we discuss the merits of the play with the various representations by all the cast in some detail, and I assure my son truthfully that he is indeed, a fine actor.
Next morning, it’s raining in Sydney and we trudge down the road from our hotel, looking for another taxi to take us to breakfast before finally going our separate ways amongst a flurry of kisses and goodbyes.
Back at Sydney Airport, I dreamily wander around to the bar and decide to order
something special. It’s all been worth it as I knew it would be and as I sip on my Tia Maria topped with whipped cream and a simple garnish of sprinkled nutmeg, I raise my glass in a silent toast to The Bard.
In the best tradition of Shakespeare
All’s Well That Ends Well!
*** The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney, written by Australian author Henry Handel Richardson (pen name) real name: Ethel Florence Lindesay Robertson (1870-1946) The story was based on her own father, also a Dr, born in Ireland, and educated at the University of Edinburgh. The story is based around the times of the gold rush in Australia. Adapted by Michael Gow as a play 2002.