Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Joy of Having Friends Who Are Actors and Performers

I was moved last week to write the following status update on Facebook:

One of the great joys of having so many friends who are performers/actors is watching them strut their stuff live, like tonight, and seeing a completely different side - it's some awesome form of magic and alchemy. 

The passion, the joy, the talent - the creation/inhabitation of "someone else" up there. It's Grace dancing in front of a big crowd, it's Rhoda belting out "911! Emergency" so that the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, it's watching Luc ad libbing his socks off in a play he had to stand in as lead at insanely short notice...

It's many and varied moments - in professional shows, amateur theatre, it doesn't matter - that just make me nod and smile. It really is kind of special...

This all started Sunday week ago when an actress I met all the way back in 2005 in a PAC1 workshop performed (as a dancer) in the city for the Chinese New Year’s Concert including a ballet piece. She was terrific in front of a big crowd - poised, elegant and danced so well. It could only but make me smile on a balmy summer’s night.

That was the beginning of a week of events including a script reading on Wednesday that was far and away the best I have heard at Script Lab to date; and attendance at three different Fringe Festival shows, Thursday through Saturday.

Again, wonderful discoveries – an actor I never knew could sing excelling in a musical; an actress I only know through Facebook who wrote and directed that show stealing proceedings with an hilarious number re being a vegetarian in charge of the meat section of a supermarket; getting a text afterwards from another actress asking if I had been in the audience because they recognised my laughter; the power of one person shows – the first with direct interaction with the audience; the second through amazing transformations playing five separate characters.

I always try and get along to support friends where I can. Amateur shows at bowling clubs, old church halls and established co-op companies through to professional undertakings. Recently, I’ve also seen 1940s America recreated at Christmas time with the Andrews Sisters; and a fiercely intelligent young actress play a ditzy chef in her first major production. All magic in their own ways.

I come away from these productions vowing to write for the stage – and indeed there is a first draft adaptation of one of my feature scripts somewhere and the beginnings of another piece. So, who knows… one day, maybe.

There is plenty of energy in Perth right now as the Fringe festival is in full swing with great venues and a diverse range of shows. Unfortunately, I simply can’t afford to go to everything but rest assured, it is a great thrill and privilege to see actors you know give full voice to their talent in front of an appreciative audience.

Long may it continue!

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