Friends gather to re­mem­ber Diane

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

LAST Satur­day at Kar­nak, on a glo­ri­ous sunny af­ter­noon, a group of friends gath­ered to cel­e­brate Diane Cilento’s life.

Many of us who knew her in­ti­mately al­ways felt we were in the pres­ence of great­ness that goes be­yond the celebrity sta­tus, Hol­ly­wood fame, or Os­car nom­i­na­tion.

Diane’s great­ness was not any of that. It was in the way she lived her life, her sense of pur­pose and the abil­ity to shake, stir and in­spire peo­ple around her.

She touched this Earth lightly, shared gen­er­ously and af­fected deeply.

Diane had a gift to bring out the best in peo­ple and make them laugh.

She was funny, dis­arm­ingly hon­est and di­rect, and hugely en­ter­tain­ing.

A born per­former, a great con­ver­sa­tion­al­ist, a heart with­out mea­sure, Diane was a friend to many, yet she be­longed to no one.

A free spirit, she de­fied or­di­nar­i­ness, re­belled against medi­ocrity, smiled in the face of ad­ver­sity and lived her nine lives ac­cord­ing to her own script.

Diane’s dream of an out­door the­atre in the bush came true when she opened Kar­nak play­house 20 years ago, bring­ing world­class mu­si­cians and top shows to the peo­ple of Far North Queens­land.

We all won­dered how she did it.

Last year our lo­cal com­mu­nity and in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors in the area were the for­tu­nate re­cip­i­ents of Diane’s breath­tak­ing solo per­for­mance at Kar­nak of Wo­man Be­fore A Glass to a full house stand­ing ova­tion. She was 77.

Ear­lier this year Kar­nak brought out two great op­eras to its stage, The Mar­riage of Fi­garo and La Travi­ata, played to a full house.

Diane did it again, to the amaze­ment of all.

We sat around the pa­tio on Satur­day af­ter­noon, re­mem­ber­ing Diane’s life and re­liv­ing those spe­cial mo­ments we had with her.

And it felt as if she was there watch­ing over us from the cover of her book My Nine Lives pre­sid­ing proudly on the big red cane chair, Diane’s favourite.

In a re­flec­tive mo­ment, I won­dered yet again how this won­der wo­man had kept Kar­nak alive and kick­ing all these years.

Diane went on gaz­ing with in­tense cu­rios­ity from the book cover. I only wish she could hear me say: “You are a hero, Diane. You did it. Against all odds, you did it. And, the show will go on.”

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