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Showing posts with label Theatricals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Theatricals. Show all posts

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Pinky the Drama Queen!

 For the fourth year in a row Pinky’s class has been allocated the role of staging the annual Easter play where we re-enact Jesus’ journey to his crucifixion. 

Not exactly light subject matter and a definite challenge for a class of vigorous eight and nine year olds who can barely sit still for more than twenty-five seconds at a time.

Just between you and me, I think it’s the only reason they keep me on at the school. Most of the other teachers don’t want to do it so they pretend to my face I have a bit of flair in the theatrics department.

“But you’re so good at it, Pinky!” they cajole, gushing like the fox that fooled Aesop’s gullible crow.

Well, this easy to fool old crow has been functioning on overdrive all week struggling to get the performance to an acceptable standard for the Friday night showing in the church next door to our school.

It didn’t do my blood pressure any good at rehearsal on Wednesday when one of the kids inadvertently knocked over the wine on the font table when hauling Jesus’ large cross in. 

The entire church was instantly filled with the discernible bouquet of fruity red wine. 

Bedlam ensued with kids loudly blaming each other for the accident while I could only stare in dismay at the wine dribbling on to the floor wishing I could lie underneath and catch it with my mouth.

“It’s not even Good Friday and Jesus’ blood has already been spilt!” I moaned to one of the other teachers later in the staffroom. “It’s a bad omen I just know it.”

And the actual night was not without moments of anxiety. There was an element of concern when one of our diminutive soldiers arrived late because he'd been attending a birthday party.

Just as he was about to go into the church he turned to me wearing a pallid complexion and bleated, “Mrs Poinker, I think I’m going to be sick!”

“No you’re not! Now get on out there,” I replied, veiling my utter panic and hoping to hell he wasn’t going to throw up an entire box of cheezels and birthday cake in front of the unsuspecting congregation. 

He didn’t.

By some miracle it all went well and the kids put on an amazing display of commitment and devotion considering their youth and inexperience.
Maybe I do have a bit of a knack for the dramatics after all!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Boxing Day with Basmati on the Side

“Come over for a feed of curry on Boxing Day!” my friend Dolly, texted me before Christmas. 

I love going to Dolly’s place with its fully air-conditioned confines, tasteful décor and guaranteed good company. Add the fact she’s an exceptional cook and it goes to say I was greatly looking forward to the outing.

Apart from Dolly gifting me with another snow globe from her recent trip to Italy, there was another surprise in store for Pinky.

This lot!

                       Michael, Madeleine, Pinky, Harriet, Ebony.

Oh, to be young, beautiful, talented and with the entire world and its opportunities spread out before you.

Madeleine and Harriet (Dolly’s daughters) were introduced in North Queensland's Got Talent.

Michael, who was one of Pinky’s favourite speech and drama students many years ago, is now a lawyer in the big smoke but still manages to perform when he has time. 

Ebony was in our theatre company’s first production and has been over in England treading the boards and wowing audiences with her exceptional singing voice.

I, Pinky, claim full credit for all of their success.

Jokes… but it was wonderful to hear how these brilliant kids have been going in their lives and rehashing fond memories with them.

Naturally, they had to pose “Eisteddfod” style for me.

A big bonus for Pinky was the fact that the girls had their hotty boyfriends with them!


Madeleine and her (Actor/Writer/Director/Producer) fiancé, Dan Mulvihill (who was on Home and Away girls!!!) have created Mad Dan Productions which specialises in film, TV and web based entertainment concepts.

Here’s the Facebook Link if you want to check it out! It’s very funny, clever and innovative… just up my alley.

Now, Scotto may have had to drag me out of the gathering after I’d imbibed in one too many Chardys and kept telling Dan how spunky he was and how if I was thirty years younger Madeleine would have to watch out… I don’t quite remember.

But… it was an excellent afternoon.

               "Can you get this woman away from me Madeleine...please?"

“How did you manage to make all these fantastic curries after you did Christmas lunch yesterday?” I asked the hostess with the mostest Dolly, in awestruck admiration.

“Rajah’s Restaurant,” she whispered confidentially.

Here is a link to Madeleine's 2013 Showreel (Dan's in it too girls!)

And here is a link to information on Harriet's show premiering in 2014... here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Totally Awesome Christmas Show

                                           Todd in the centre of his brilliant cast!

Way back in January I wrote a story about a childrens’ theatre group I once worked with here in... this silly story

I resigned from the group when I began working full time as a primary teacher but the reigns were adeptly assumed by one of our younger directors, Todd.

Well that was nine years ago and since then Todd has taken the group to a dizzying new level.

Where once the dramatic performances were based on the extremely cheesy and over-the-top style embraced by the likes of, ooh… let’s say Benny Hill, the group now exudes a distinctly contemporised, Tim Burtonesque flavour under the creative, original talents of hipster Todd and his crew (is ‘hipster’ a compliment? I hope so. See how un-withit I am).

Today, Scotto and I took my nephew Heinrich and Petal to see Props Youth Theatre’s “Totally Awesome Christmas Show” and I can assure you, it was… well totally awesome. From ages five years to about seventeen, the accomplished young actors were focussed, energetic, vibrant and entertaining.

The first half of the show delivered an alternative version of the Wizard of Oz and the second half, a lively, slightly bizarre depiction of Alice in Wonderland complete with the funniest Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee I’ve seen, EVER!

The only annoyance about the day was the stupid, self-destructive parking laws the city council has instigated in the city. You can only pay for two hours at a time but then you can’t simply go and top up the meter. Oh no… you have to move the bloody car because the vulture-like parking officers put chalk marks on the tyres.

For years our incompetent council has been desperately trying to coerce people back into a business-depleted and deserted city centre.

I never bother shopping in the city because firstly, there are no shops, and secondly, there is no free parking. I would venture into the tumbleweed infested, malignantly, hot city centre, however, to go to the movies or watch a theatre production but not if I’m going to be forced to hike it back to my car at interval (or half way through a movie) to move my damn car.

Despite this idiocy, it was a trip down memory lane watching what must be the twelfth installment of the 

Totally Awesome Christmas Show.

“I wish I could be in something like that!” was Petal’s review.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever really listened to the story of the Wizard of Oz,” was Heinrich’s stoic reaction.

I’m proud of you, Todd!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Pinky's Advice: If you can't do it... teach it!

                   Pinky fends off a couple of thespians. (Mark, Alan and Pinky!)

Amateur theatre did become a bit of a sporadic hobby for me throughout my adult years, despite the shaky start outlined in yesterday’s post. 

Let’s see... from the age of twenty-five until I was about forty I played a scheming servant; a psychotic baby-killer, a cruel and hypocritical religious fanatic, the self-absorbed director of an aged nursing home, a bossy theatre director, the child-hating socialite wife of an affable but hen-pecked husband, a bogan, a dishonest lawyer, a snobby factory boss hiding a terrible secret… are you beginning to see a pattern here?

When I lived in Sydney in my early twenties I joined a theatre group and was granted the role of a servant girl in a play called “The Chocolate Soldier”. My first entrance on stage was to run in and animatedly shout, 

‘The soldiers are coming! The soldiers are coming!”

I’d decided to wear a pair of ancient court shoes I’d discovered in the boot of my car as part of my costume. They had been on their way to the dump but seemed to suit the era of the play and I was on a budget.

On the highly anticipated opening night I lunged onto stage hollering my lines with all the dramatic flair I could muster, thrilled to be performing on stage in the big smoke (albeit amateur theatre). 

My spectacular theatrics unintentionally extended to slipping over in my worn shoes and landing flat on my bum. Naturally the audience found this to be hilariously funny and it took us a while to establish that the play wasn’t actually intended to be a comedy. The director was not impressed.

The same thing occurred the following night and the night after that. I wasn’t actually falling over by now as I’d managed to anticipate the moment my shoes were going to lose traction, but it was clearly apparent each time that I’d slipped and skidded and there was always a loud titter from the audience.

“Pinky,” sighed the director, “would you please do something about those shoes!”

On the final night the director’s wife brought in another pair for me to wear. My entrance was as smooth as a Nancy Kerrigan swivel but as I was exiting the stage I suddenly felt the elastic snap on my voluminous petticoat. 

I was forced to ungracefully hobble from the stage clutching the mass of heavy, white Broderie Anglaise in an attempt to drag it off with me, much to the amused delight of the spectators.

I went to auditions for the same theatre group’s very next production but unfortunately I didn’t make the grade. I can’t think why.

One time and one time only, did I manage to score the role of the leading lady. I was to play the role of Deirdre in “Deirdre of the Sorrows”; an ancient Irish princess who roams the Irish wilderness and tragically falls in love with the wrong bloke. Forced to marry the horrible, wretched old King instead, she melodramatically stabs herself to death at the finale. 

Not only did I have to come up with a passable Irish accent, I had to bring some credibility to a heart-breaking death scene. Three comments about my performance remain with me until this day.

Director: “Pinky, you look and sound like you have colic when you’re stabbing yourself. Can you work on that please?”

‘Friend’: “I felt so sorry for you having to wear that ugly costume, Pinky.”

Mother: “I don’t know how you remember all those lines, Pinky!” (This is one of the most back-handed compliments any pseudo-actor will ever hear.)

My swan song in the world of grease paint was to play an old crone (surprise, surprise) in the T. S. Eliot verse drama, “Murder in the Cathedral”. 

The director decided to costume the Women’s Chorus in itchy, thick cloaks made of what I imagine were horse blankets. Not a very sensible choice in the North Queensland Summer I can assure you. 

The performances were imaginatively staged in an actual Cathedral and the ‘women’ had to sit amongst the audience on the pews. Every now and then one of us would spontaneously leap out of our seat and loudly project our one or two lines of poetry, unnervingly startling any unwitting member of the audience who was unfortunate enough to be sitting beside us.

Our creative director (the late and great Jean-Pierre Voos) had procured a real horse to make a stagey entrance down the aisle in the middle of the performance. 

The nag managed to squeeze out an equine ablution every single night, filling the cathedral with the pungent aroma of horse manure. 

With the heat, the smell and the sheer boredom I swiftly deemed it was time I threw in the theatrical towel and seek greener pastures. Probably not a huge loss to the local amateur theatre scene methinks!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pinky's Big Break

                                Pinky about eleven years old.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. When Pinky was a little girl she wanted to be a ballerina/movie star/pop singer/airline hostess. A bit unusual for an eight year old, eh? I don’t know any eight year olds like that...  LOMARFL (or is it LMFOLAFEL?).

When I was about eight years old our teacher Miss Lang, courageously decided to join forces with the class next door and hold a concert for all the parents on the last day of school for the year. I loved the last day of school mainly because of the limitless slices of watermelon we’d be allowed to eat. 

How easy it was to please kids back in those days. 

The idea of being a part of a performance concert on such an auspicious day had me in a pink fit of exhilaration.

I was definitely not one of Miss Lang’s favourite students due to an earlier incident where I educated the girls in my class on the intricacies of sexual intercourse… read here

In fact, she made it quite clear on many occasions how irritating she found me to be. I’m not sure if it was her curled lip or forced smiles when I regaled her with my interminably long narratives that gave it away but I’m sure you are all nodding knowingly at this point of the story. A lot of my teachers were of the same ilk and I really don’t know why.

However as I was a particularly loud, overly confident little girl, Miss Lang awarded me a leading role in the short moral play “The Fisherman and his Wife.” I was to play the materialistic, whiny and superficial character of the ‘wife’, but the subconscious typecasting of my teacher went over my innocent head as I had more lines than the two teacher’s pets, Lynette and Kaylene. Those two goody-goodies were allocated the role of princesses, but they only had a measly one line each so I was quite chuffed.

Until, that is, they brought a rather negative aspect of my starring role to everyone’s attention.

“Look at your picture in the book, Pinky!” the girls teased, pointing out an illustration of a strangely unattractive woman with a big wart on her chin and wearing a scarf.

“And you’re married to Bruce!” they squealed in catty mirth.

Poor little Bruce was playing the ‘fisherman’ and suddenly the sheen of my future stardom began to fade. I really didn’t want to be married to Bruce Helmbright in any manner of speaking. Number one, he spat when he talked, and number two, he had a weird name -when I think about this now I suppose ‘Helmbright’ indicated that his ancestors were either very clever or merely wore bright helmets- but nevertheless I couldn’t in a million years be married to a boy named ‘Bruce’.

Miss Lang would hear none of it and I was stuck with the role of the haggard old crone.

“Does anyone have any special talents?” asked Miss Lang hopefully when organising the recital programme.

“I learn ballet!” called out an eager Pinky with stars in her eyes.

Miss Lang looked at me doubtfully, “Can you show me what you can do, Pinky?”

Now I did learn ballet and had recently been a ‘bubble’ in a concert with about fifty other ‘bubbles’, so I had a costume and everything.

I unreservedly kicked off my shoes, strutted to the front of the class and improvised the most ridiculously dramatic dance you could ever conceive. Astonishingly I fooled Miss Lang and suddenly I was not only the leading lady of the class play, I was also the Prima Ballerina of the grade four recital, performing a dazzling solo (sans music) to which I reinvented the steps every time I practised it.

“Tracy Roberts reckons you made that dance up. She told us it’s a load of rubbish,” sniggered Lynette and Kaylene after my glittering rehearsal in front of the class one day. 

Tracy learned ballet at the same studio as me and had also been a ‘bubble’. The big loud mouth was spot on though; my off-the-cuff dance was a load of rubbish and deep down in my heart, I knew it.

The final day of school arrived. I’d crammed the blue sequinned ‘bubble’ costume into my school bag, my lines were learned for the play and I was a nervous bundle of zealous anticipation. The various parents had begun to arrive (not mine I might add, perhaps they knew better) and Miss Lang, in a highly stressed state, was startled by someone tugging on her arm.

“Miss Lang! I think Pinky is sick. She’s laying under the desk and won’t come out.”

Miss Lang, controlling her panic like a trooper cajoled me out from my hidey hole.

“What’s the matter Pinky? Surely you can’t be sick.” She had a bit of an impatient tone in her voice as I recall. “The play is on in ten minutes and then you have your dance straight after that. The whole of grade four is depending on you.”

And just to prove my integrity that I was indeed very sick, I vomited all over the desk, the floor and my blue sequinned ‘bubble’ costume. 

The obligatory bucket of sawdust was urgently called out for, the concert was cancelled at the last minute and Miss Lang probably never bothered to orchestrate another concert ever again. Who’d be a teacher eh?

Thursday, January 10, 2013


During those early years I was the co-director of a youth theatre group of which all my progeny, as well as the neighbour Newman, were members. 

Every year we would stage a big musical production in the July school holidays and a smaller Christmas pantomime in December. 

Padraic and Hagar weren't interested in the acting/singing side of things, but they liked to hang out backstage ‘assisting’ the stage manager and partaking of the post-production cast party festivities. 

Thaddeus, Jonah and Newman usually performed in significant roles whilst Lulu was relegated to the chorus line as she was still so young.

One year we were producing “Peter Pan- the Croc Rock Musical” and we needed to get some props made for the ‘Lost Boys’, namely; bows and arrows, blowpipes and other such weaponry.

 Newman immediately volunteered his services as his Dad had only recently been fashioning bows and arrows with pieces of bamboo for him and George to play with. As soon as we arrived home from rehearsal the boys eagerly took off down the gully to Newman’s to construct the armaments.

I must admit when I saw their artistic handiwork I was quite impressed. They were fabulous and looked absolutely authentic (unlike our usual feeble attempts to create props).
“Great work, boys!” I gushed. “Make sure you thank your Dad for me Newman.”

At rehearsal the next day we handed out the various items to Slightly, Curly, the Twins, Tootles, Nibs and the rest of the gang with strict instructions not to actually fire any of the weapons as they would distract the audience and might fall on the floor and trip someone.
 “What about me?” trilled Tootles. “I have to shoot the Wendy bird, remember?”

After a swift discussion with the other directors we agreed that yes, Tootles (and Tootles only) could shoot the arrow off the stage into the wings, and that should be okay. Besides we needed to make sure the arrow didn't just drop lifelessly on to the middle of the stage.

The crucial moment in the play arrived. Tootles, with all the confidence of William Tell fired the arrow towards the wings. 

You know how at critical moments time seems to slow down? 

Well that is exactly what happened. 

I was standing with Todd, one of the other directors, in the auditorium. We watched the arrow magnificently sail high across the stage towards the wings on the other side straight towards the… Oh Shit!

There was a loud scream. We had completely forgotten about our unfortunate seventy-five year old pianist cheerfully playing in the wings. 
There was blood. 
Newman’s Dad had industriously added metal tips to the arrows to ensure they would have enough weight to enable a lengthy and accurate flight path.

 That was ten years ago and Mrs. Lappin has only just forgiven me.