Mum and Dad came to see the show last night. That’s right. On Good Friday. There was no bar due to licensing laws. So it was a very quiet audience. I told them after the show that they were a very quiet audience. I joked that they could have done with a drink before the show because, at first, we weren’t even sure they were out there.
Travelling North is not a comedy but we were beginning to get used to quite a few laughs since the preview on Monday night. David Williamson’s writing is witty and the characters are funny because we recognise them (and their flaws). Without being a comedy it can be quite a comical play.
My parents don’t usually see my shows because they typically book international flights during the week leading up to opening night. I know. I know how it looks. I’m sure it’s not a calculated gesture, it’s just a terrible error, which has, admittedly, happened several times. They once flew out of the country the day before opening night and returned to drive back to the coast from Brisbane International, only just catching the closing night of La Ronde in Mooloolaba (I miss doing a show in a shop! Nathanael Cooper missed it too so that link is his review of Erotique, which you’ll see is happening again NEXT)! This indicates that they don’t always mean to double-book. Or that they finally felt bad enough to make sure they got there.
Their feedback after the show last night? All positive. They enjoyed the lighter moments that came from the daughters’ involvement/interference (Andree, Julia and I). Remember, we didn’t have drinks so any criticism will come up at a later date, I’m sure! Mum’s comment was that the whole thing was “a little too close to the bone.” She was clearly affected. My grandparents in Toowoomba both have their problems at the moment and she and her sister have taken turns to care for them, particularly for my grandpa, for years. As is always the case in a Williamson, the reality of the situation hits home pretty hard if you’ve been there yourself. Of course, every single person in that audience will have had a different response to the story. Each audience is unique, in their reactions and in what they take away from the experience. They’ve all come from right out of their own stories and into the theatre having had a good, bad, great or indifferent day. And they must all go home to their own stories. In between, there is a little bit of magic that we can offer. I love when an audience surrenders to the magic. You can hear it, feel it; that moment when most of them have let go and melted into our world, happily (or even reluctantly) leaving theirs behind for a little while. That’s when, backstage, we look at each other and smile: “Got ’em!” (I’ve noticed, at Noosa Arts Theatre, the FOH volunteers really do look after their audience too. It’s all part of the experience, part of the magic).
Keep an eye out here for Mel White’s review of our production of Travelling North. I haven’t spoken with her. I don’t know what she thought of the show. I guess we’ll see. However, you’re unlikely to see any more arts space in the local rag (I was bemused to see a Bundaberg story in there today, despite them knowing that our boys won third place at the Sydney Short + Sweet Finals) and now that The Weekender is gone, you’re just going to have to get online more often to find out what’s happening at your local theatres. Follow this blog, follow us on Twitter, find us on Facebook and check out livetheatre.com.au to keep up with Sunshine Coast theatre. Don’t miss any of the magic!