All good things come to an end. So it is with sorrow I finish this Five Photos – Five Stories sequence of posts. ButÂ before I present you with my final tale, let me present to you the talented person to whom I will hand over the responsibility of Five Photos – Five Posts. Her name is Kylie Ison and her blog site is Slim Beyond 40.Â Kylie is a gifted software engineer,Â has travelled far and wide, dances ballet and tap (I love her dance troupe’s concerts!), has raised four boys while still maintaining a career and competes in cross country running races. She is also my sister-in-law. So make sure you read whatever it is that she writes :)
Now some of you may recognise the photo that I am about to show you. It made a posting a few months back. But let me lead you into it…
… turn back the clocks over three decades. There was an eighteen year old boy who longed for love. I think he was more in love with the idea of love than with any particular girl. It was all the fault of movies. Besides an addiction to horror and science fiction films, this young lad (much to his own shame) had an insatiable appetite for American musical comedy and romances. How embarrassing! Even to this day he can sing most of the songs from the 1956 filmÂ “High Society”. And while this may be seen as eccentric in a 50 year old man in 2015, it was seen as something quite peculiar for an 18 year old boy in 1983.
Let’s call this young lad “Greggar”. It was a nickname he was to get in 1984, but it does the job.
So in 1983 some of Greggar’s mates participated in a small musical called “Not Rackovitch” (I think that was how it was spelt). The musical was essentially pop songs with a vague story line. It was produced and directed by a very talented young man named Peter Mapleson. He called his troupe the Ephesus Theatre Company, and this first production was held in the hall of Cronulla Uniting Church.
Greggar was captivated. He had to have some of this. Not only was it musical but the troupe’s female cast members vastly outnumbered the male. So here was an opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere of the musical while chasing love (i.e. girls).
The first musical that Greggar auditioned for was called “This Hand is Cold”, to be performed at Caringbah High. Music and script written by the aforesaid Peter Mapleson, it was a romantic yet dramatic take on the Mafia. The lead was played by Greggar’s mate “Gazza”. Yes, I know, Australian nick-naming conventions were not particularly inventive back then. It was basically take the first syllable of someone’s name and then add an “a” or an “o” to it. Anyway, I auditioned and got the dual roles of pop-corn bystander (the name says it all – I stood around in scenes eating popcorn)Â and barman.
So here is the picture with me at the front in the white trousers.
Somewhere in that photo is also Kylie. She was one of the dancers. See, already you can see that she has interesting tales to tell.
This play convinced me that I loved acting. It also convinced me that I could never be the slick, lustful, womaniser that I so desired to be. You see, at a certain point in the play I had to exit one side of the stage and rush to the other side for my entrance 20 seconds or so later. That coincided exactly with a change of clothes that one particular young lady had to do. So she was always topless every time I ran by.
So you get the picture. Some of you will be tutting at me. No need.
As desperate and as lustful a young man as I was, I was actually incredibly embarrassed, would hold my hands over my eyes as I rushed past (almost running into things), and would apologise several times over as I did so. No – I would never make a decent letch.
Funnily enough my next stage role was quite lecherous. This time the venue was Cronulla High (where I would some day be a teacher for a couple of years). I played the man in Godspell who declares “Her body is more than clothes” and then has to be dragged off some poor lass. This ended up being problematic one matinee. You see, we were all wearing overalls and when I was dragged off Liz my overall straps snapped, sending them down past my knees. So there I stood in front of the matinee group (mostly old age pensioners) in a pale blue shirt and under-briefs. I guess it made their day.Â Worse still, we were playing Godspell in a wire cage on stage, so there was no easy way for me to get out and get the overalls fixed. So I had to sidle up to the cage and discretely stand there while a stage hand in black tied a knot in the back of the overalls to keep them up.
Having proven that I could bare my body on stage and sing, the next role I won was significantly larger and very suited to my falsetto. I was to play Mary Sunshine in Chicago. Now if you have only ever seen the film, then know this: the play is different. Mary Sunshine has a much bigger part. I had my own theme song (“There’s a little bit of good in everyone…”) and got to wander around in high heels and a dress with a long soliloquy at one point that was a devil to remember. The highlight of the play is when the solicitor states “Everything is not always what it seems” and pulls the dress off Mary Sunshine to reveal its a bloke in drag. Do you know, I actually had many people fooled til that point.Â Mind you, you wouldn’t believe it from the photo below.
There were other plays. I regret that I never got to do Shakespeare because the role of Falstaff called at me. The nearest I got to anything like that was playing a chancellor in “Saint Meriasek”, a Cornish play written in 1504 and that I performed in around 1991 atÂ Sydney’s Seymour Centre.Â I also got to play the magic rock during the Chancellor’s down-time. A really crappy photo shows some of the rehearsal. I am standing behind the soldier with the red shield.
Anyway, these were not the final acts of my acting career. I hope that some day some one will offer me another role. I would love to be a bit player on some science fiction or fantasy movie/series. So if any of you need a fat bloke who can do a mean “If I were a rich man” routine, then just let me know :)
Anyway, enough of me. Now onto Kyle.