Cilento tribute attracts crowd
A PACKED house greeted the organisers of the tribute to actress Diane Cilento at her beloved Karnak Playhouse on Saturday to mark the 12-month anniversary of her death.
Cilento’s daughter Giovanna Volpe confirmed to the audience that a foundation in her mother’s name, the Diane Cilento Foundation, had been formed and in conjunction with Queensland’s two main universities would ensure that the Karnak Playhouse would live on and be a training ground for upcoming young artists.
The mood at the tribute was one of joy as about 500 people came to see Cilento “perform for them one last time”.
And in true theatrical style, she did - it bucketed down rain, the microphone died, son Jason Connery, who is now a film director in Los Angeles, tried to deliver a recorded commentary from LA but the DVD system delivering his message had lost its sound and local artist and Davvyd “birdman” Brown had trouble keeping his two cockatoos quiet while flautist Jane Rutter and her son Bertie Boekemann sang the Paul McCartney classic Blackbird.
But the crowd could not care less - they loved every bit of it.
Many other artists who were unable to attend the tribute night sent well-wishes including one of the world’s greatest pianists David Helfgott who sang the praises of his late friend.
And Jane Rutter spoke of her 20-year friendship with Cilento and she really was a “bright light and at times she was not afraid to scorch you with that bright light”.
And then almost on cue it began to bucket down and Jane had to fight to be heard above the falling rain.
“I can almost hear Diane saying, ’ Well of course it’s going to rain, it’s a rainforest’, and I can see her sticking out her tongue to taste the rain and we should all do the same - it’s magical,” she said.
Then on cue again, the rain stopped, the microphone returned to working order and further tributes and poems were able to be read out and this time everyone heard “take two” of Jason’s message from LA - the sound on the DVD recording had miraculously returned and the stage had been set for a perfect night.
Then everyone went downstairs and outside armed with popcorn to watch the western classic Hombre, on a big screen, starring Paul Newman and Cilento.