Last night was the opening night of Rita Kalnejais’ First Love is the Revolution and the air is still filled with perfume.
Bouquets of flowers for the actors are sitting in the dressing room, good luck cards from loved ones and faxes from other theatre companies are pinned to the wall, filled with wishes for a great season. Thank you everyone!
In the middle of the notice board is a beautiful poem ‘Fox‘ by Alice Oswald. Phil Spencer stumbled across and thought it would inspire the actors. It starts:
I heard a cough
as if a thief was there
outside my sleep
a sharp intake of air
a fox in her fox-fur
the grass in her black gloves
barked at my house…
You can read the rest on the Poetry Foundation website—it’s gorgeous and a perfect opening night gift. You might even be inspired to buy a book of poetry and give it to someone as a Christmas present. As a bookmark you can slip in a Griffin gift certificate to see a play at the Stables next year. One of the joys of loving writing is getting to share it with people you love.
It’s like sitting in the theatre with friends watching a new play unfold.
As the lights come up on First Love is the Revolution, no one has any idea where the story is going to go. We trust in the genius of the playwright to weave a story we could not possibly imagine ourselves. And we trust in the combined talents of the beautiful actors to make us believe in the world of the play. Before we know it we are swept up in a fable that is funny and sad and a bit weird…like all great Australian plays. 100 minutes of our life is given over to an imaginative, provocative tale. A tale that makes us think about who we are as humans. A love story like no other. And it all started in the brain of Rita Kalnejais!
This is where I run up against the first law of thermodynamics, also known as the Law of Conservation of Energy, which states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; energy can only be transferred or changed from one form to another. And yet somehow I feel that new play creation defies this law on the imaginative plane—that playwrights who create new plays are making something new out of the nothingness. Some bits of energy inside Rita’s brain became words, typed onto a page, breathed into the bodies of actors, trickled into your ears and hearts in the theatre, printed in books to sit on shelves around the world, picked up by directors not yet born in years to come to inspire next generations about the power of love. Big somethings created out of…what? Original writing. Importantly original Australian writing. There is nothing like it.
Please come and see this play. It is a great piece of writing to take into your hearts as we head into the end of the year. The play is a source of hope and joy in a year that very much needs it.
Bring a friend.
Ps. thank you Alice Oswald. You should meet Rita Kalnejais. She is a wonderful Australian playwright living near you.