Fri, Sat, Sun 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25 October
The Ballad of Edgar and Mary
a boutique musical of love and war
produced for the Centenary of the Drill Hall Mullumbimby
co -written & directed by Claude Gonzalez & Gregory Aitken
with music hall & soldiers songs from WW1
Sponsored by the Anzac Centenary Program
Edgar and Mary Stephens marry in 1914 and live at Left Bank Road Mullumbimby. In 1916 the Drill Hall is built for military training with timber from Hollingworth’s saw mill where Edgar is employed before enlisting. While Edgar serves in France, Mary dreams of a life in Paris as a chanteuse. Instead she joins a travelling enlistment show with a blind soldier poet, a veteran of Gallipoli, as the main attraction. The final show is at the Drill Hall. The mysterious Singer who narrates the entertainment in song is supported by L’Orchestre du Music Hall.
The Ballad Of Edgar and Mary is a music theatre entertainment commissioned by the Drill Hall Theatre Company, with assistance from the Australian Government’s, Anzac Centenary Grant Program, for the Centenary of the Drill Hall. The show is co-written and directed by Claude Gonzalez, twice nominated for an Australian Film Institute (AFI) Award and an IF Award and Gregory Aitken an actor and producer who has enjoyed 22 years of theatre work in the Northern Rivers.
Starring: Amanda Sebasio-Ong, Ben Mackenzie, Danielle Dwyer & Nu McCabe
Music: L’Orchestre du Music Hall – Coral Grogan and Graham Richardson
Producer: Gregory Aitken
Production design: Claude Gonzalez
Musical direction: Coral Grogan
Choreography: Michael Hennessy
Lighting design: Sunita Bailey
Dates & Times
9 – 25 October 2015
at 8pm Friday & Saturday Nights and 2pm Sundays
Opening Night Celebration – 7.15pm for 8pm show Friday 9 October
Closing Night – meet the writer/directors and cast – 2pm Sunday 11 October Q & A after the perrformance
$20 and $15 concession for regular nights
$30 for Opening & Closing Special Events
Special prices for Schools & Groups
The Drill Hall Theatre Company’s Centenary Production –
Media Release 7 September 2015
Collaborators in Dreams
“I was Executive Producer of the Byron Bay Film Festival and Claude (Gonzalez) was the Series Producer for ABC TV’s long running The Movie Show when we renewed our friendship. I knew the Drill Hall Theatre Company wanted a show to celebrate the centenary of the Drill Hall so over a period of eighteen months Claude and I co-wrote The Ballad Of Edgar and Mary. It’s been a joyful collaboration,” said local theatre veteran, Gregory Aitken.
The writers are also co-directing the music theatre entertainment. “Claude likes to think that we are a creative partnership similar to the film-makers, the Coen Brothers.”
The Ballad Of Edgar and Mary has over twenty music hall and soldier songs from the period. “Some of the songs are very poignant while others challenge the war. The songs are fantastic and when stirred in with with a bit of music hall comedy, plus astonishing performances this production has all the ingredients of a hit. More exciting, in my view, than the Drill Hall Theatre Company’s 2015 production, A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream. ”
Aitken who was the supervising director and adaptor of the Shakespeare play adds “ there are similarities with both productions. The Ballad is a love story set in Mullumbimby while The Dream was a love story adapted to Mullumbimby. Michael Hennessy is the choreographer for the new show as he was with The Dream. Two beautiful actresses from The Dream (Danielle Dwyer and Amanda Sebasio-Ong) flourish in the Ballad. For both productions, Sunita Bailey’s the creative lighting designer.”
The Ballad is set in 1916 and tells of the story of the newly-weds, Edgar and Mary . Edgar serves in France while Mary becomes a singer with an enlistment show. “We are a month away from the opening and the performers and the band are firing. If people enjoyed the production values of The Dream they won’t be disappointed by The Ballad Of Edgar and Mary. Claude is designing the ‘look’ which is sub-conscious fantasy, again, like The Dream. It’s great to have a really talented visiting director at the Drill Hall for the Centenary”, said the co-director, Aitken.
(The photo is of – left to right – Gregory Aitken, Claude Gonzalez and lighting designer Sunita Bailey in the background.)
COMMENTS FROM THE PREVIEWS & Q&A ON THE OPENING SUNDAY
“Authentic. An absolutely fantastic show.” Howie Randell
“The costumes are divine. It’s very entertaining. The story is great.” Yvette
“Wonderful acting. Beautiful singing.” Glad King
“Loved the songs and everything about the show.” Lucy
“The sets and costumes are stunning.” Norman Appel
“Every song is evocative.” Tim Winton-Brown
“The performers are wonderful. It’s beautiful music theatre.” Carolyn Bailey
“Refreshing. Its different from the usual theatre we see and very personal.” Georgia Martin
“Fantastic. It captured the era.” Ursula
“The music was brilliant. Particularly in the second half.” Michael Borenstein
“Brilliant. Fantastic statement and beautifully put together.” Anjali Walsh
“Very, very good.” John Bailey
The Ballad Of Edgar and Mary
Gala Opening Weekend
The Ballad of Edgar and Mary is a heart-warming and heart-wrenching story of a soldier, Edgar, who serves in France in WW1. His wife Mary dreams of becoming a chanteuse in Paris but lives in Mullumbimby.
The Ballad of Edgar and Mary tells how war affects ordinary people. Edgar reluctantly enlists because Mary believes that “if we all do our bit this war will be over soon”.
The mysterious singer comes to a different view in the song “Stay Down There Where You Belong” she sings that politicians and their masters are profligate with other people’s lives.
The Gala Opening, Friday 9 October, 7pm for an 8pm show, includes bubbles or a beverage from Coopers plus a slider. Or Saturday night when you can enjoy a post-show chat with the writers and the performers while on Sunday there is a Q & A with the cast after the 2pm show perhaps with a cup of tea.