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A Door Ajar

A DOOR AjAR 11 November – 19 November 2016 Blue Mountains from Theatre Trailers on Vimeo.

Fairmont Resort and Weatherboard Theatre present, A DOOR AjAR, by Dale Turner, in the Auditorium of The Fairmont Resort, Leura. 11 Nov – 19 Nov.

In 2013, I saw a production of a new Australian play, THE WESTLANDS, by Dale Turner, at The Parramatta Riverside Theatres and was wonderfully ‘bowled over’ (read my blog). It was a play about the Western areas of Sydney and its peoples. Written in a form reminiscent of Dylan Thomas’ UNDER MILKWOOD: a verse play. It was presented by Weatherboard Theatre Company, and a program, now defunct, due to lack of funding, known as True West.

Weatherboard Theatre Company, based in the Blue Mountains area, is a collective of professional performing artists, who have found a ‘collaborator’ in the Schwartz Family and the Fairmont Resort who have provided a space for them to present this work. There was sponsorship from Blue Mountains Companies and business as well. The ‘conceit’ of the work is to present a play in the form of a radio broadcast, complete with suitable advertisements, which, humorously, give credit to those ‘angels’.

A DOOR AjAR, is another verse play by Mr Turner, coming from research and interviews with members of the Blue Mountains community. There is overlap in time from somewhere after the First World War to not so long ago, the structure of the play moving through a non-linear recollection. We have memories of the train ride from steam train to the ‘Fish’ and ‘Chips’, of the weather with its snow and ice, of its heat and fires, of the people and their lives, of gossip and history and of ‘characters’ from a wide range of the local society (sadly, no indigenous history.) Those in my audience who were denizens of the Blue Mountains seemed , especially, connected and amused.

Shane Porteous, Tiriel Mora, Claire Jones, Maureen (Maudie) Green, Duncan Wass and Eliza Logan created, from readings, the many voices of the play and participated in the creation of the sound effects of the worlds conjured. Rebecca Daniel played her violin movingly, tunefully, for atmosphere and an aural reach to facilitate nostalgic recollection. Directed by Michael Pigott there were, also, selected projected visual images, organised by Laura Turner, sourced from the Blue Mountains City Library. (On the night I attended some ‘difficulties’ with the venue made that part of the work inoperable, alas.) Set and, especially, the costumes, warmly lit, anchored the performance into a ready state of comfort and restful recognition.

Mr Turner, as it was with THE WESTLANDS, reveals a sure and theatrically expert technique in the creation of this work. His writing is witty, musical and richly diverse in its econmic evocation of time, place and people. Seeing some of the writing on the Sydney stages: Griffin, Belvoir, Sydney Theatre Company, I can only wonder at the lack of interest that those companies looking for new Australian plays have given Mr Turner.

One hopes that Weatherboard and Mr Turner can continue to work way out there in the West of Sydney. Thanks must be given to the Fairmont Resort. One hopes there is a theatrical future for all three of the collaborating organisations.