On Centre Stage
By Douglas Kennedy
Gold Coast Shows, Theatre productions and Concerts in July

Each month in On Centre Stage (OCS) we plan to take a close look at the shows, theatre productions and concerts being staged on the Gold Coast.
The idea behind OCS’s monthly preview is not simply to report that a show is coming up (that’s covered in the Gold Coast Alliance Live Theatre and Performance Gold Coast Directory and through their web site) but to look at some interesting aspect of the production or its author.
Waiting For Godot MERCURY WINGS

Waiting for Godot.
Mercury’s Wings Theatre is presently staging Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot at the Gold Coast Arts Centre. The play opened a week ago, but there’s still shows down for Thursday- Saturday (July 21-23) in The Space.
Before TV’s Jerry Seinfeld was creating a record breaking sit-com, in which nothing appeared to happen, there was Beckett’s tragic comedy in two acts exploring similar themes.
The work has been hailed as ‘the most significant play of the 20th century’, although the director of its first English-language outing in London back in 1955 confessed to being confused.
During an early rehearsal a 24-year-old Peter Hall told the cast: “I haven’t really the foggiest idea what some of it means….But if we stop and discuss every line we’ll never open.”
Doing some research for these notes I stumbled on a magazine website called Sparklife and an article by a young lass named Janet Manley.
She drew – and I don’t think she’s the first – the distinction between Seinfeld and Godot.
The journalist draws on a small scene in the play when the two tramps at the centre of the play on stage, with a lone tree for decoration, have small slice of dialogue. The two men spend the whole play waiting for someone called Godot.
Vladimir: Well, shall we go?
Estragon: Yes, let’s go.
They do not move.
When Godot opened it was mired in controversy from all sides and Seinfeld’s TV show was rather slow to take off. However, since 1955 some of the world’s best actors have played in Godot and Seinfeld has a significant place in TV history. Maybe Sam and Jerry just happen to stumble on the meaning of life?
However, Godot is a play worth catching and I would recommend having a look at Ms Manley’s article, which explores the idea that Seinfeld will help modern audiences to appreciate Beckett. To find the Janet Manley article just Google Seinfeld and Godot.

7 Little Australians – The Musical.
Now for something completely different being staged at the Tweed Civic Centre by the Tweed Theatre Company on various nights from July 15 through to July 31 (see directory for details). Peter Gray is directing this 1988 musical adaptation of the classic Australian children’s novel penned in 1894. English-born Ethel Turner was living in Sydney when she had the idea to tell the story of the seven mischievous Woolcot children growing-up in Sydney in the 1880s. The writer already had a reputation as a children’s writer having had columns in the Illustrated Sydney News and The Town and Country Journal. The book was such an enduring hit at home and aboard that it earned the distinction as the only book by an Australian writer to remain in print for 100 years (1894-1994). During that time it was adapted into a stage pay (1914), a film (1939) and two TV series (1953 & 1973). Turner wrote two more novels featuring the Woolcot family. The story’s patriarch was the stern father Captain Woolcot who fathered a blended family and a swag of children who got up to lots of adventures. When the 7 Little Australians – The Musical (music David Reeves, lyrics John Palmer and book by Reeves, Palmer and Peter Yeldham) came out in 1988 Melbourne critic Leonard Radic described the story as ‘warmhearted, sentimental and ever so wholesome,’ and the music as ‘bright and conventional.’ Turner’s original story has been digitalised and can be read on line at the State Library of New South Wales. The Tweed Theatre Company has cabaret-style seating.

After January.
The Javeenbah Theatre Company’s latest production, which runs from July 22 to August 6 (see directory for details), is a story of a life changing adolescent relationship directed by Amy Louise Anderson. After January is one of three Nick Earls’ novels to be adapted for the stage by playwright Phillip Dean (who also wrote the Matilda award-winning play Long Gone Lonesome Cowboys). Both talents are Brisbane-based. Earls, who was born in Northern Ireland in 1963 and came to Australia in 1972, has written several novels often with funny pop themes which deal with the trials and tribulations of growing up. Earls began his professional life as a doctor and was a GP before turning to writing. His two other novels, which were adapted by Dean for the stage at Brisbane’s La Boite, were 48 Shades of Brown and Zigzag Street. Thanks to his focus on Brisbane suburban life, Earls has become quite a celebrity in the State capital and has featured in a major tourist campaign for the city. After January premiered at La Boite back in 2000. The adaptation of 48 Shades of Brown was adapted into a film and OCS believes it is now available on DVD. OCS saw Phillip Dean’s stage adaptations off Earls’ work at La Boite and recalls them being often funny, engaging and entertaining. Notes. The Matildas are Brisbane’s annual awards for the theatre and 48 Shades of Brown was released as a movie in 2006 as 48 Shades (in the US it was called Australian Pie: Naked Love).

Mistletoe Mystery.
Christmas in July with a murderous twist is on the menu when the Inside Outside Theatre joins forces with the Mount Tamborine Theatre Company at the Zamia Theatre for a one-night only interactive theatre night on July 23. The premise of the production is that detective Erin Dawes is solving a murder in Santa’s Grotto. The audience is asked to bring their BYO food and drink as well as Christmas hats, scarfs and jumpers.

An Evening in Paris and Symphony by the Lake.
There’s music aplenty with the Gold Coast Jazz and Blues Club presenting a smorgasbord of French sounds – including the music of Edith Piaf – on July 22 at the Gold Coast Arts Centre’s Paradise Room. Meanwhile, the Gold Coast Philharmonic is opting for something more orchestral at a Varsity Lake-side music and picnic night on July 30. It is all part of the Varsity Winterfest and is a free event. (See directory for details)

For dates and times on all shows go to the Gold Coast Theatre Alliance website and click on July box.

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