Yack performance taps living memories
YACKANDANDAH Theatre Company last week delivered powerful performances of a new collection of locally-written monologues inspired by the lives of Yackandandah Health residents.
The company’s powerful production last year of ‘From here to there’ set the bar for collaborative theatre in which three organisations – Yackandandah Cemetery Trust, Yackandandah Historical Society and the Theatre Company – worked to recreate the lives of six local people from the past whose remains were buried in the cemetery.
It has since worked with the residents of Yackandandah’s innovative health campus for the elderly to create a fresh series of monologues entitled ‘Living Memory’.
Writer-director and Yackandandah teacher Brendan Hogan said the show was a unique collaboration.
“Written, produced and performed by many local artists and musicians, the performance aimed to connect a community with its elders by dramatising the memories of seven residents,” Mr Hogan said.
Writer Beverley Lello said ‘From here to there’ – on which she also worked – had been “a hard act to follow”.
“But by collaborating with Brendan Hogan, Kate Rotherham and Lisa Mason we decided to work with Yackandandah Health and talk to residents and discover significant events in their lives,” she said.
“Some residents are in their nineties and some are over 100.
“They have lived through huge social upheaval and change, surviving the after effects of World War I, the financial hardship of the Great Depression, followed by the trauma of World War II and then the huge changes of the second half of the 20th and into the 21st centuries.
“We started with Albury obstetrician and gynaecologist David Nelson (written and played by Brendan Hogan) who delivered many babies in the region.
“Ninety two year-old Pepita Hodgetts’ story was told as her 10-year-old self (played by Nina Edwards).
“Nina was amazed to discover that until she was 10 Mrs Hodgetts never had her own doll or a new dress – she always had hand me downs because she was the second last child from a family of seven sisters and one brother and they were all very close.
“Rebellious teenager Isabella Robinson (written by Lisa Mason and played by Sophie Colehill) managed to escape a very strict upbringing to become an independent woman.
“Mother of five boys and one daughter, Edie Dryden – now 101 (played by Lisa Mason and written by Kate Rotherham) – remembers a very traumatic time in her life when she had to nurse her only precious daughter and watch her die from rheumatic fever.
“Former policeman Harold McQuilton recalled an incident from his police career and how he married his childhood sweetheart. They were together for 70 years.
“Hazel Fox, who survived an unpleasant marriage, made a very good life for herself and her only daughter, and spent the rest of her life travelling the world.
“An engineer and talented tennis player, Earl Peatt, who has been a resident of Yackandandah Health for 20 years, closed the show with reminiscences about his long life and the remarkable changes that he has seen in his 94 years.”
RECOLLECTION: Pepita Hodgetts with actor Nina Edwards, who played Mrs Hodgetts as a 10-year-old, and character writer Beverley Lello. The cut-out was used to represent Mrs Hodgetts’ seven sisters and her brother.
MEMORY: Edie Dryden, now 101, was characterised by Kate Rotherham (left) and played by Lisa Mason.