Friday night was a special occasion. The community production ‘Red Soil White Sugar’ was premiered in Childers. I had been part of the production team until the cancer diagnosis and Mike was to play a major part. I grieved for the loss of the connection as I have little enough chance to be around live theatre these days and I believe they missed me – they were kind enought to reward me with a magnificent bunch of native flowers for my role in the early stages and I could see bits of Pippen influence in many of the scenes still (not to mention several of my household chairs amongst the props). There would have been 200 people n the audience, including playwright Errol O’Neill and they responded very well to the story of the 1911 sugar strike and the industrial action surrounding it. What I loved most though was the thing that brings me back to community theatre time and again- the enthusiasm and commitment of the local volunteer actors, the distance that the high school students playing parts had travelled over the rehearsal period, the dignity of the Childers matrons playing male roles with aplomb, scaling the unprotected entrance stairs and not letting anything unnerve them. It was a tough call. Errol had sourced material from the period with its legal trials and political diatribe. The cast took it in their stride, and while there were a few moments when the prompt was kept busy, the characters told the story with intelligence and clarity. David Horner, Director, perfectionist, terrier for detail; Tony Carey of Treble, composer who went way beyond the brief in a generous flowering of creativity; Gillyee of the costume genius and milliner extradorinaire. Bravo!
Red Soil White Sugar