Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Away almost over

The Away tour is almost at an end. Tonight sees the first of five nights at the Canberra Theatre Centre, and then that's it. What a trip it has been since opening night in Brisbane on May 4.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Rave reviews

Away has been well received by Adelaide critcis, with The Sunday Mail's Matt Byrne praising the cast and summing up: "I know it's sentimental, I know it's aimed at the heartstrings that Australians protect so well, but Away works. And this production sets a new standard for what we can expect from this significant play - a fresh and poignant stroll down memory beach that reminds us who we are and who we can be . . ."
Samela Harris in The Adevrtiser says the play "remains as lively and funny as it is sad and serious".

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Show stopper

The play almost didn't go on at the Laycock Theatre in Gosford when actor Leon Cain had an issue with an usher. Leon, dressed as a schoolboy, has to run from backstage to the front of house to deliver a line from the back of the theatre. The usher caught him in the foyer and kept asking him what school he was from and insisting that he sit down when he was standing by for his auditorium entrance. The front-of-house manager has since been briefed on Leon's entrance.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Robust reaction

In an interview with the North Shore Times, Barbara Lowing describes her character in Away as "the type of person who makes people face their own demons". She adds: "Audience reactions to Gwen have been quite violent. I've been called all sorts of names and even been told to shut up." Away opens at the Glen Street Theatre in Sydney on Wednesday.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Off to the 'Gong

After a performance in Darwin last night, the Away cast and crew are now on their way to Wollongong for a five-day spell at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre.

Monday, July 31, 2006

In the running

Away is among the nominees for best play at tonight's Helpmann Awards, which will be telecast on Fox 8.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Cheers for the sponsors

Barbara Lowing writes:

Now we are in Cairns. Michael (Gow) and Fabienne (our fabulous Corporate Development Manager) arrive tomorrow, and we have the official opening of the northern tour of the play.

MFS - our wonderful sponsors on this tour - and this is an unashamed plug for MFS - will be there. Just gotta say something about MFS. They have taken on sponsoring the Arts for the first time, and they have been amazing. And I am not just saying this because MFS is sponsoring us. I am saying it because they took a risk with the arts, and they have been excited and supportive, and thank heavens that a huge company like this was there for the arts. Yay for sponsoring the arts!

We may not kick a piece of pigskin around (although some of us do. Many actors play AFL or rugby. I tell ya, don't get on front of Deb Mailman when she has a football in her hands! Me, personally, I love the Lions) but theatre makes people think and feel. And God forbid we do THAT in this day and age. And in this day age, don't we need people thinking and feeling?

Here's to the crew

Barbara Lowing writes from Townsville:

Well, the front runners went to Townsville on Sunday, and on Monday, 4 of the team headed over to Magnetic Island. I love Magnetic, but it is becoming grossly populated, with resorts and ravaging real estate agents. We - Richie, Amy, Allana and I, (four of the front runners - Ben is our fifth member) found the beautiful Florence Bay. I had been there before, and fell deeply in love with it. Truly, truly beautiful.

Allana and Ritchie were the more adventurous among us, and delved onto the depths with their snorkels and face masks, and no, Allana, a shark does not know the difference between a flipper and a leg! If it is going to bite, it will bite; it won't just nibble delicately on the end of the flipper. And no, I don't think they know the difference between your foot and a seal's flipper. Bless you!

The others arrived after a few days. It was lovely to have everyone back together after a few days apart. Even though we don't spend our time in each other's pockets, it is always nice to know we are there ... Does that makes any sense?

The shows in Townsville went beautifully. Again, lovely audiences. I must say this though; I am in awe of our crew. Ben, Ritchie, Amy, and Allana and Steve, our truck driver. When we, the actors, finish a show, we pack up our own wardrobe and bibs and bobs and then we head out and have a drink or head home to the hotel, but our crew have to bump out the set, which takes them a day and a half to put up, and at least six hours to pull down and sometimes they finish at 4 in the morning, after loading it into the truck. They then have to get back to their rooms and more often than not, they have two hours sleep, and then are on a plane to the next venue, and they spend the next 20 hours putting the set up again. And they do this with great humour, and never a bad word to us, the actors. I am sure there are words muttered under their breaths, but they always make sure that there is beer waiting for the local crews - there is a team of locals who come in and help with the bump in and out - at the end of the bump out.A show would NEVER go on without the crew backstage - so, to all the prima donnas out there, who think the world revolves around them, remember the crew builds the set, maintains the production, and makes you look good. All hail crews around the world and 'specially the Away crew.

Bronwyn Klepp was in Townsville last night. Bron is in charge of publicity at QTC, and she has an amazing ability to always look FABULOUS, and do her job to the empth degree, and always with grace and humour.

Empire strikes backs

Barbara Lowing writes from Toowoomba

We have just performed in one of the most beautiful theatres I have ever been in. The Empire Theatre, in Toowoomba (picturedabove). It is astoundingly beautiful. Everything about it is divine, from the art deco lights and ceilings, to the wonderful staff, who are so proud of the theatre and so proud to be working there.

If you are ever in Toowoomba, please make sure you take time to go into the theatre and have your breath taken away.

It is such a shame that we do not have a theatre of this type and beauty in Brisbane, because going to the theatre would not only be an artistic night out, it would be a beauteous and complete experience in the theatre. Why did destroy our beautiful theatres?

The shows also did well here. The theatre has such a warmth and a 'fullness' and wonderful acoustics, you can whisper on stage, and you will be heard by the whole house. I am amazed that the designers of these theatre 100 years ago KNEW about acoustics and visibility, and the beauty of theatre, and yet, these days, theatres are designed with such abandon.

The audiences in Toowoomba were lovely. Very giving. Even though the theatre is rather large, we felt - and this may soun odd - the 'pulse' of the audience. After we left The Stables, where the audience was so close they could put their feet on the stage and usually did, performing in much larger theatres again, had us feeling a bit aghast. Yes, we had done the show at the Cremorne, and that theatre is bigger than The Stables, but it is still close to the audience, and you can feel the 'pulse'. Once we got into the larger theatres, it was again a major re-wiring of the 'size' of performance. Finding the way of allowing the audience to 'feel' the play.

The thing is, we never want to let this play down. It is so beautiful, and every audience who sees it MUST have the best performance that we can possibly give. We want people to feel the emotion. That may sound self indulgent, but it is not meant to be, why do you go to the theatre, if not to be caught up in the story? The pulse is a barely tangible essence that you feel, as an actor, from the audience. They are either going with you, or- horror of horrors- going against you. And you always feel it. That is the pulse.

We dropped into QTC on our way through to the airport, and Sue and I went tearing through the office, trying to hug as many people as we could, before heading out for another 11 weeks.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Welcome to Townsville

The Townsville Bulletin welcomed the Away cast to the north with an article in its Guide section on Friday, July 21. Director Michael Gow is quoted as saying: ``People still go on Christmas holidays and people still have crap times with people they don't want to be around ... After 20 years I thought: `let's go back and see if it still works', and it does." Away will play Tuesday (July 24) and Wednesday night at the Civic Theatre.