Sunday, May 06, 2018

14.9.67 - Feeling sorry for myself

Sydney 14.9.67
Dear Mother, here follow the Trials and Tribulations of a poor County Youth who got snared by the Big City.

All right – it’s not as bad as it sounds, but it’s been a rather frustrating day – with nothing accomplished and little done. Rang S. Hall this afternoon, but he was in conference and so his secretary answered. She read out a letter that I should have received (and which subsequently turned out to be downstairs) which sez: ‘Dear lovable Mike – thanks for coming and playing this week. While we all liked your playing (!), I am unable to offer you anything at present. If you wish I’ll be happy to mention you to the Ballet (!) who might need someone for their forthcoming season.’
So I said I’d ring him back later!

Well, poor little old self-pitying Michael went down to Elizabeth Bay and threw himself in! Unfortunately, no one was watching so he clambered out again and spent the rest of the afternoon thinking (!) and talking to animals who either barked at him or ignored him entirely.

Finished up thinking that even the Ballet isn’t the bottom of the rung, so when I rang back to see if I could speak to Hall, he still wasn’t speaking to the likes of me and his charming secretary (who was the last person I felt like talking to – her name’s Miss Swan) told me that she’d see what was happening and contact me tomorrow, or if I didn’t hear from her, for me to contact her. AAAGH!
So – I said all sorts of funny things to cheer myself up and then went and paid the bill for the last week – which I’d got this morning. It was for 7 days – yes, one week - $61.65 (still with me?) which I managed to get reduced by 75c because they charged me Room Service, which I don’t recall having had! So - !

This plurry room is $8.40 a nite (with Brekfit) not the $5 or so I expected.

A lovely day!

However, rang Anne to see how she was and inform her about news and ask her if I could borrow her room from Sat morning on (over the weekend) (anyhow) and she finds that it fits in beautifully if I care not to go out on Sat. night – and stay home and babysit for her 9 year old boy. Well, as I see it, if she’s good enough to have (vaguely) offered the room, then I can do that?!

So! she reckons the Ballet could be quite good as they go on much longer than the Opera – they’re about to start another season here (the Ballet are) so -! We’ll see what eventuates and not raise our teeny hopes too high this time!

Was originally going to go to the pictures tonite, but eventually decided to go and see another musical, Fiddler on the Roof – there were no really good films on for the mood I was in, so I thought this might fit the bill. Anyway, I can probably catch upon the films later.

Her Majesty’s is the hardest theatre to find – I asked 4 people all told (on two different trips – I didn’t get there the first time) and it was only after much foot-slogging that I found it tonite. Of course, I would pick to walk all the way – from KC. It must be getting on for 3 or 4 miles! No kidding.
It was worth it.

FOTR. I wouldn’t have missed for worlds. Forgive me if I’m phrasing like a Jew, but you see, that’s all this show is about. The Jews in Russia before the Revolution. Like Oliver and Half a Sixpence it ends in hope, but not happily. But what a terrific show. The music is nearly all based on Jewish-type themes, and they’re terrifically hummable. And it’s so sad one minute, then so happy! Sniff! I loved it. All the way thru there’s a guy pretending to play a fiddle on stage (and very well done, too) and though as far as I recall, he only plays one tune, it fits all moods. And we get all those Jewish type foot-stomping, hand-clapping dances, with a bit of Russian thrown in at one part. I really wish you could have seen it – it’s one in a million.

Must go – that show was well over two and a half hours long and it’s after eleven.
See ya, love Mike

Hayes Gordon
[Fiddler on the Roof really was one in a million. This particular production outshone the London one I saw a few years later, by far. The London one was tired; this was vibrant. The stage effects, though no doubt not all that original, had a marvellous freshness – I can still remember the ghost of the Grandmother sailing onto the stage with horrifying effect, and though you knew it must be someone on stilts, there was something utterly fascinating about it. [2018: can’t have been stilts: she swept around the stage as though she was on rollerskates, as well as being about ten foot tall.] I think the lead was played by an American, surrounded by a mainly Australian cast, and he was far more right in the role than either Alfie Bass who played it in London, or Zero Mostel, who played it in the film. Perhaps it was just that it was all so fresh in every respect that made me appreciate it and remember it; perhaps it really was one out of the bag.] [2018: the lead was Hayes Gordon, an American musical comedy star who’d been in the original production of Oklahoma. Blacklisted in the 50s, he went to Australia to star in Kiss Me, Kate, and carried on living there, establishing a theatre school there.]