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In the Bio Box

Hello. Before you start picking holes I realise that normally “hello” is followed by a comma, but there is nothing (as far as can be determined) that says you can’t have a full-stop, so leave any hole-picking for bigger grammatical deviations.

Now that we're into September I’m sttarting back from Monday 12th June, the day following the final performance of Bow Wave, after its three weeks season. It was quite a bright and shiny day, the sort that starts with pirouettes and entrechats around the kitchen and ends with the newsreader saying “...before turning the gun on himself”. And how was the Bow Wave season? A hint could be found in that the theatre treasurer had stopped scowling at a sheet of A4 received from the Bendigo Bank and was doing quite respectable imitations of Scrooge McDuck, snorkelling in a large glass tank of filthy lucre. Or in Variety parlance it was “WHAMMO!”.

As suggested in earlier Bio Box rants the Indee had ventured with some trepidation into its three weeks season of the cruising holiday disaster comedy.  Not because we had little faith but because we were still in the early stages of a new venue, the Yandina School of Arts and we had so far only staged a pantomime (with passable results) and a Hooray For Hollywood concert (with reasonable results), but not a major production. Plus other shows on the Coast were running and/or overlapping in the timeslot and should I mention we are not really top-line when it comes to social media. And these were all the positives.

 

Bookings started to trickle in from early April, soon became a steady stream and stayed that way right to season’s end. Indeed relatively it was the most successful season we’ve had since we were eased out of Eumundi, a couple of years back.

The end of Bow Wave marked the final on-stage appearance of Indee stalwart, Ruth Montgomery. For non-ardent Indee followers, Ruth had been a strong part of the team for around a decade, starting off by enrolling No.1 son in the youth acting classes and helping make props and scenery (at which she is quite brilliant) for the youth theatre productions. From there it was but a short pace to stage left to take on chorus work, then small parts, larger parts and finally lead roles, in a great many productions.

But community thesping is not noted for producing anything in the way of load-bearing income and a girl has to eat. So when an offer came to be heavily involved in a brand-new tourist venture, including tea-shop, Ruth leapt at the chance. Unfortunately she had to leap across the Tasman to take it.

So theatre alumni gathered to raise a glass, wish her well and knowing her passion for collecting teapots, presented her with one, to add to her collection. This particular teapot resembled an adorable hedgehog (Ruth has an English background). During the course of the evening her theatre friends encouraged her to study the nightly weather maps, highlighting just how damned cold it is in downtown Tasmania. We also told her that the Tasmanian economy is so bad the government is about to slap a huge tax on tea drinking and that it will soon become law to join in the annual Hobart, winter solstice, nude swim. Sadly none of it worked, she still went. 

By now, if you’re crying out “What next?” take heart, I’m about to reveal all.  Based on the fallacy (and one time Mortein slogan), that “when you’re on a good thing, stick to it, the Indee Play Pickers (a small Ozark influenced group) decided that another comedy would best fit the end-ish of year bill and so have placed a three weekend run of The Op-Shop Ladies in October, opening on Saturday 14th .For a while it was hard to cast but finally it all fell into place.  Indeed the die is cast. That is, Di Meyers is cast, as Lulu.  Lulu, the mega-optimistic op-shop vollie, who tries dragging her co-workers, writhing in their sup-hose and girdles, into modelling careers. Lulu, who, had there been a china shop handy, would not have been out of place, dressed as a bull. Unwillingly following in her footsteps are vollies, Rita Walker as Emelia, the community theatre buff, trying out for Lilly Loman, in the all-female, Death of a Salesgirl, Carol Burls. as Sybil, a nervous grey nomad, who, because the roads are too dangerous, never ventures her campervan out of the driveway and Dunia Tarrant as Betsy, whose life motto is “A woman should never wear anything that might panic a cat”. 

So the above quartet take the leads in The Indee’s new comedy, The Op-Shop Ladies and they’re backed up by a six-hand supporting cast.

Since the two biggest crazes of our times are cruising and op-shopping, it’s a foregone conclusion that the first cruise company to introduce a luxury liner, fitted out from stem to stern with op-shops, will annihilate the opposition. But until that day arrives you’re invited to travel with The Op-Shop Ladies as they sail into sheer mayhem

We also scheduled a Sunday matinee of three one-act comedies about retirement and seniors to mark the final day of Seniors Week on Sunday August 27th.  Since these would be "rehearsed reads" we didn't expect more than twenty to thirty in the audince.  We plugged "pay what you like" and left it to the good folk.  We ended up with one-hundred and thirteen people, for us a capacity or even slightly over capacity audience  

Meanwhile looking at the world in crisis, it’s hard to pinpoint why the ABC’s early evening programming policy of showing the same half dozen programs, over and over, for the past one hundred years, still continues, with not even a suggestion of a bit of unabating. In the beginning, decades ago, the policy was of great benefit to old-age viewers, who couldn’t operate video-recorders, by eliminating the need for them, but sadly those viewers have long since left this mortal coil as have, mostly, video recorders. .

Meanwhile Antique Roadshow has long been itself antique and Kevin McCloud has long been looking a tad fed up with the continual string of new home projects that (a) by the time the foundations are dug, over-run the estimates by about treble the original quotes (b) follow up by (because of (a) ) running out of money (photo-shop worried looks) and (c) fail to get the roof on before the rainy season sets in (the only way out, do the roof before the foundations, but that would ruin the format). Although to give early evening a newer look they’ve dug up post WW1 copies of the franchised New Zealand Grand Design – same problems, finance, rain and no roof. . Even more lately Restoration Man, a UK series, sort of like Kevin McCloud, only they drink champagne at the end of each episode, which the ABC repeated every few days. I note we're now back to McCloud again.

However I digress and it’s now time for A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR

I’f you’d like to become involved in The Independent Theatre, in any capacity, Front of House (meet and greet), backstage (handling props, stage managing, dressing) or on-stage (doing proper acting stuff), do give us a call on 5472 8200 anytime.  You’ll be very welcome and it’s quite good fun.