Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Oz Opera La traviata Blog Series: Week 4, Chinchilla
Getting to know you, getting to know all about you...
Any show folk born into a life on the road will tell you that it can be challenging when you are away from your family and friends.
As we settle into the rhythm of touring, the long hours in strange hotels turn into long days in strange hotels, and our thoughts often turn to home. Friendships made in the thick of rehearsal and performance develop into conversations about life and art and all that! The things that make us different from each other become topics of interest over a glass of red and a chunk of cheese with crackers. Small groups form: morning yoga, morning walk, evening jog, quartet rehearsal in the room down the hall, martial arts fitness classes, and the list goes on. The crocheting habit (shades of La Stupenda's predilection for needlepoint) produces soft toys that delight and decorate prompt corner nightly.
Today we celebrate a 30th birthday on the bus to Chinchilla, where we will give a free concert for people affected by the floods earlier this year. The 'Party Bus' is bedecked with streamers and balloons, and the kindness of the strangers that have now become our friends perfumes our morning. We share some cake, and little gifts are brought out of bags to present to our birthday boy, Chris Hillier. Plans are hatched for the towns ahead of us on the road - to take a walk in the local botanical garden, get a steak at the pub, swim at the local tropical island, or even take a dunk with the crocs in Darwin. (More about that one later!)
And so, throughout all this, the performances that we create together become deeper, even more musical and nuanced - from the smallest venue in outback Australia to the grandeur of the Empire Theatre in Toowoomba, complete with a 1000-plus crowd and a visit by the Governor of Queensland. Words of encouragement and even words of helpful criticism create a taut group of performers striving for the best performance we can possibly give.
For us on the stage, to look down to the pit and see a colleague and friend transported by this union of music and drama is something inspiring. Home may be far away, but we are kept warmer by this company of strangers as we keep traveling on...
We are now in our last week in Queensland, after which we head to the big beyond of the Territory.
Lots more ahead. 'till next week!