Is that the distant sounds of hooves or the rumblings of a town preparing themselves for the arrival of a hero? No wait- methinks the ruckus could be coming from the Old Gazette Theatre Dorrigo.
The final touches are being made as Robin Hood rides into Dorrigo this Wednesday- the opening performance of the pantomime Robin Hood under the directorship of Dina Luciani. Dina has a an extensive history with the Dorrigo Dramatic Club spanning nearly 20 years, but is brimming with excitement about this current adventure.
“The audience can expect the unexpected, the ridiculous and be prepared to do a lot of booing and hissing!!!” says Dina.
We interviewed Dina amidst the pre-show frenzy.
Can you tell us about your history with the Dorrigo Dramatic Club?
I became involved with the theatre in 1999 when the production of Banished Cavaliers was being directed by Michael Vlasto. I auditioned as an Italian dancer and ended up with a main role as an English gentlemen Fredrick Blunt- quiet the comedian !!!
I then went on to play many varied roles…Jewish grandmother who fell in love with “God” who was played by Leo Bradney George. After God said his was heralded from above…my response was…ah your name is “Harold”. It was with a heavy Italian/Jewish accent. After having coffee with my parents my mum said….but wherea you geta thisa stupi accent you talka with? Bahaha …maybe from you!! I not talk like this, she says…haha.
Then Pearl in Summer of the Seventeenth Doll and many others.
My dear friend Ralda Nash [passed] was instrumental with bringing Shakespeare to the stage at Dorrigo Dramatic Club (DDC) for many years. Ralda told me I had excellent focus on stage and encouraged me to do some directing.
I then went on to become President of DDC in…I think 2003 and I’m still here!! I am a life member….that just means I can’t not be active within the club!! nice little ploy…
Has the theatre always been in your blood?
I think the theatre has been in my blood from a young age without me knowing..my first stage experience was at Ebor Public school..that’s right….I was Brere Rabbit!!! I still have a memory of the excitement I felt waiting behind the bushes to hop out.
Bringing an epic like Robin Hood to the stage must be quite a feat??
OMG bringing Robin Hood to the stage….a whole lot of laughs, frustration, teeth gritting and a mass of time spent at home studying the script, a whole lot of time spent at the theatre making sets, props and costumes, and even more time rehearsing. There’s also been a fair bit of time making soup to take to the rehearsals so everyone’s blood sugar stayed up so they could focus. BUT I LOVE IT.
What makes a good director?
Well you need focus, imagination, inspiration, patience, foresight, insight, skills in management and I believe you need to have acted on stage so you have that understanding of what you are asking of your cast. Ooff
Do you prefer acting or directing?
mmmm…..I would possibly say directing. I love the stimulation and satisfaction of seeing a play from the first script reading to opening night. Some of my friends would say I prefer directing because I like to be in control….well you know when I’m being directed and the director isn’t doing it right well I might get a little edgy. But I don’t need total control…hahah. I do love a good, challenging acting role though.
So can we expect some familiar faces treading the boards on Wednesday?
So there is a cast of 13 !!!
Robin Hood….Liam Clements..high school student
Marion…. Carolyn Nelson….mum and much more
Evil Sheriff…. Wayne Burley..dairy farmer
Dennis. Snivelling off-sider to Sheriff….Ken Gardner….semi retired, loves to sing but cries when reciting something emotional……
Winnie widebootom..a double act…. Kate Smith…retired teacher, vice president for DDC and much more. Icia Molly new to town, lovely and enthusiastic.
Tuck….Rob Capps…truck and bus driver, likes a schooner, is very Australian !!
Alan-a-Dale….John Pitkin…retired medical man. Distinguished, looks good in shiny tights!!
Tommy….Marshal Kellet…school student, cricket, rugby player, son of a farmer
Tilly….Elle Nelson….just too cute for words!!
Rabbit one….Kye Nelson…school kid, focused, enthusiastic and bakes a mean cake!
Rabbit two….Jed Capps…school kid, cricket, rugby and rabbit revolution leader!!
Cindy….Teh Clarke….school student, assistant director, assistant set changer..etc
I get a sense the theatre really is your happy place.
The theatre for me is a place where once I enter the space the day to day “doings” disappear and the imagination starts.