Posted by: jkirkby8712 | August 13, 2011

Thursday, 11th August 2011 – Shakespeare in a modern mode, and Adam’s horse has a run.

Took some time off work yesterday afternoon, and went to the theatre – to the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of Hamlet.  Generally sticking to the language of Shakespeare, it was however, a modern production/interpretation with the characters dressed in suits, and modern clothing, mobile phones, guns, computers, etc. While I had no real objection to such an interpretation of my favourite Shakespeare play, a gentleman sitting nearby was constantly overheard muttering ‘this is not my Hamlet’!! Fair enough I suppose, but he could have left his opinions until after the show , outside!!   This was the play which I studied in my final full year at secondary college – way back in 1964!!  One of my vinyl recordings, obviously purchased many years ago, is of a production of Hamlet, from the original play, and starring Richard Burton as Hamlet.

Very briefly explained, the story tells how summoned home upon his father’s death, Hamlet discovers his mother already remarried to his uncle and the country in disarray. A midnight encounter with a ghost sets him on the road to revenge. The question is, how can he be sure his cause is just? Not been a regular attendee at plays by the Melbourne Theatre Company [went to see ‘Boston Marriage’ last year], most of the actors were not familiar to me, however I was impressed by what I saw tonight, especially Ewen Leslie, as Hamlet, a very lovely Eryn Jean Norvill as the doomed Orphilia [well actually, most of the main characters in the play atre ‘doomed’!!], and as Polonius [father to Orphelia], we had the veteran actor & comedian  in Garry McDonald.  Also had Pamela Rabe, as Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother – she was one of the actors in the Boston Marriage, last year.  It was quite a long performance, almost three hours, to which time was acted a brief break early in the play, when an elderly lady in the audience decided to have a heart attack or something similar!  Hope she was okay.  Probably not surprising, with an afternoon performance of this nature – the majority of the large audience being senior citizens, apart from a large group of senior secondary school girls, who were obviously studying the text this year.  This was my first visit to the Sumner Theatre of the Melbourne Theatre Company, though of course, had been next door on many occasions, to the Melbourne Recital Centre.

Overall, a most enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, only spoilt perhaps by the weather outside – was raining, and miserably cold on both my approach and departure from the theatre. I parked up near my boss’s home in North Fitzroy, on her advice, because it was such a readily accessible spot to get into the city by tram[s]. Would normally have parked in my usual ‘expensive’ spot opposite the theatres but was unsure as to whether there would be spots available in the middle of the day, so decided not to risk it.  Saved $21 anyway!

Ended a cold night [Wednesday] with a somewhat reluctant attendance at a Family History Committee meeting, which was a lot more drawn out than usual this month, because of a particular need for the whole committee to prepare a grant application – didn’t really need all of us, and the tediousness of the process was accentuated by a couple of participants who tend to take some considerable time to make statements, etc, which usually leaves this ‘impatient’ member wanted to cry out  – please, just get on with it!!! Despite that, it is a good committee to work with, I guess this scribe was just feeling a little extra tired after what had been a very wintry, wet and cold day in Melbourne!

As for today, Thursday, well, a couple of weeks ago, my youngest son advised me that he had bought a part share in a horse – a trotter actually, for the harness racing. The major older was in fact it’s driver also, and the name of the horse – Dimensions. Had it’s first race [since Adam bought into it] today, down at Geelong  – the advice via Adam from the owner/driver was that  he was giving the horse another ‘light run’ so don’t go putting your wages on it!!! Hopes  to let it have a few runs before expecting much in the way of results.

Well I had as bit of a look at some recent form of Dimensions – some fair results, and looking at today’s field, it was placed about 4th in the betting.  So I let Adam know that I was going to invest the vast sum of $4 on his horse!!!  Needless to say, that ‘huge’ amount was money spent, and lost  – listening to the commentary this afternoon, Dimensions seemed to be running last for most of the race [Race 4 at Geelong over 2100 metres  – prize money of $5,000 on offer], I was expecting a bit of a rush of blood in the final lap – but no, the owner/driver was as good as his word, giving it a ‘light run’!!! I don’t think it ended up last, but certainly, near the tale of the field, will check that out later!!  I’ve actually always dreamed of  having a share in a racehorse, but it is the ongoing costs & commitment that has always  deterred any fulfilment of that dream.  But with Adam now involved, well it gives his Dad a specific animal to take an interest in, and follow! All is good!

The death occurred this week of Nancy Wake.  As noted in the ‘Australian’ this week, she was the woman who risked her life to help the French Resistance against the German occupation during World War II when capture would have meant torture and execution.  RSL national president Ken Doolan said Wake was a great heroine. “She was an extraordinarily brave person who did an enormous amount behind enemy lines,” he said. Before the war, Wake witnessed scenes of Nazi brutality in Austria and promised herself she would do something about it, if given the chance. That opportunity arose when the Germans occupied France in 1939.  Wake, the former Sydney schoolgirl and Liberal aspirant who died in London on Sunday aged 98, led a force of French Resistance fighters in 1944 whose task was to pin down the Germans as the Allies invaded. Branded the White Mouse by the Nazis and with a bounty placed on her head, she flirted with German soldiers to get information, and helped 1000 Allied airmen return to Britain. She escaped from France when threatened with capture only to return by parachute to carry on the fight.

In his weekly newsletter roundup this week, Liberal Senator Michael Ronaldson, paid tribute to this famous Australian heroine, and the following points come from that reflection of her life. The passing of Australia’s most decorated ex-servicewoman, Nancy Wake AC, ends a remarkable life of service and dedication to our nation, and the world. Nancy Wake AC, ‘the White Mouse’ as she was known, served during World War Two in counter-intelligence in Europe. In 1943, Mrs Wake had become so valuable to the Allies that the Gestapo placed a five million franc bounty on her head if she was captured.  Whilst Mrs Wake was not captured, her first husband was tortured by the Germans and died, something Mrs Wake did not know until the war had ended. Following the war, Mrs Wake was awarded the George Medal, the highest civilian honour in the British Empire for her services and acts of great bravery during World War Two. Mrs Wake was also made an Officier de la Legion d’Honneur Croix de guerre by the French Government, the United States’ Medal of Freedom and the RSA Badge in Gold by New Zealand, her native country. Mrs Wake returned to Australia following the war and remarried. She unsuccessfully attempted to enter the House of Representatives on three separate occasions, going within 350 votes of defeating Opposition Leader ‘Doc’ Evatt at the 1951 election. In February 2004, Mrs Wake was made a Companion of the Order of Australia, the highest honour which the Australian people can award to someone. Although belated, the honour was truly becoming of this magnificent lady who left a remarkable legacy for all Australians. Mrs Wake’s example was one to which many young women in post-war Australia would have aimed to live up to. Interestingly, when an earlier effort had been made to reward her, she said the government “could stick their medals where the monkey stuck his nuts”. She mellowed and grew proud of her AC.

Nancy Wake (1945).jpg
Nancy Wake c.1945

Out again tonight – the Annual General Meeting [AGM] of the Radio Station – where I found myself in the temporary roles of both  secretary & treasurer in the absence of the former.  A reasonable attendance, though disappointed at some of the absentees, who as I’ve noted before, usually are the members who complain the most when they don’t like something. Not in call cases however, as we did have a number of legitimate apologies. Anyway, the outcome of this meeting, was that I found myself re-elected as Treasurer again, for about the 4th year in a row, I think, while the committee overall lost a couple of general members [by choice] and welcomed two new members [who were also relatively new presenters at the station].  Let’s hope they remain invol.ved a little long than some have in the past.  The formalities of the AGM were over fairly briefly, the new committee introduced by re-elected Present, Olly, the presentation of certificates to some newish presenters, with those proceedings followed by a slightly longer general meeting of the members present.  All of this followed by a nicely prepared supper, as per usual form, thanks to one of our committee members in particular –  Maureen puts together a great sandwich!!


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