Acting in a play for my Catalyst course . . . Cool! It’s not exactly Hollywood stuff, more like the backblocks of Tasmania. Oh well, that was Errol Flynn’s birthplace, so that’s something.
The Golden Age is a strange play, about strange people. The strangest thing is the way the settlers talk, called argot. This made the whole play harder to read than Shakespeare. I needed the glossary to know what they were saying – then I had a shock!
Batsheb was an interesting character. She grew up in the sticks, as part of the community of exiles. However, she was the least damaged of them. She escaped the retardation from their inbreeding. Being young, she was the most adaptable of them.
She could have adjusted best to the real world – had they not been committed to an asylum. Even so she ends up the last one standing.
It’s quite a sad story, really.
Then I had to learn my lines. Although my character was the leading lady, she actually didn’t say that much. I was striding up and down going “rack and cat!” Who knows what the neighbours thought?!
That wasn’t the big dilemma, which was what I was going to wear. Something Victorian . . . my lacy skirt fitted the bill. I had an obsession with Victorian blouses, what one of the boys called a frill-neck. Course I couldn’t find any! When did all the op shops turn into yuppie boutiques?
I found a shirt, something a buxom wench may have worn back then. I bought a shawl to cover it with, useful this winter. I already had a good dress and 1930s-style shoes, for the scene where Batsheb is dressed up for the party.
I was terribly nervous that morning, but they say the greatest stars suffer from stage fright. Eventually I arrived at Darlinghurst.
Everyone was wearing their Victorian finery, shawls and top hats. John was directing the rehearsal. I know him well, but have never seen him as such a drill sergeant! That’s OK, he knows his stuff.
We ran through our lines, until I BECAME Batsheb. Now I wasn’t nervous anymore, was actually looking forward to it.
It was surprising how many people turned up for the presentation. I felt a twinge of nerves again . . . We went through the course, including our blogs.
I think I did OK in the role, think we all did OK. The audience certainly liked it, judging by the applause. That could be quite addictive.
I might join a theatre group now.
On the day, I could do nothing but walk backstage and flop into a chair. Rip my high heels off and put my feet up. Find a glass of orange juice. Then tell David:
“Thank goodness that’s over!”
Which is true. Though I felt sad in a way, too.