A handbag for all generations
From the starring role in Cinderella at Balclutha Primary School at the age of 12, to a onewoman show emanating from Wellington’s Circa Theatre and touring 29 different venues may seem like the stuff of dreams.
But that is what actor Helen Moulder has achieved. Out of 50 pupils in Mr Egan’s class at the school, she was chosen as the lead for Cinderella.
‘‘About ten years ago, we had a reunion. The sister of one of those classmates is here tonight.’’
In those early years she also lived in Winton, Darfield and Nelson, the daughter of an ever-shifting postal worker.
Gloria’s Handbag is a literally spell-binding performance. Belying her 70 years, Moulder easily held the attention of the audience of more than 60 people for 80 minutes, with a combination of acting skills, magic tricks, audience participation and opera singing.
Without changing her clothes, she managed to portray a very elderly woman, her son, her granddaughter, an academic, an odd-job man, and a woman living in 2075.
Gloria is trying to decide what to do with all her beloved possessions when she buys a very colourful bag full of surprises. Her son and daughter want her to downsize in a major way, and the future shows a society with virtually no physical objects. The clash between young and old in this respect is a feature of the play, while some inconsistencies in their attitudes show – the 47 teddy bears in the baby’s bed, for example.
It had a lot of resonance for the audience, with many people grappling with the same issues, either as older people or their families. The audience included a wide variety of ages from teenagers to people in their 90s.
Moulder wrote this play with director Sue Rider, using music from Mozart’s The Magic Flute for Willow Productions. She said writing your own plays meant you could put what you are good at in it. It was stagemanaged by Deb McGuire.
The Owaka performance was the 13th out of 29 shows. It was part of the Arts on Tour productions for Showtime in The Catlins. Forthcoming events are: Toru, a bluegrass instrumental band playing on June 11 at The Catlins Cafe´; a workshop, potluck tea and ceilidh on July 8; and a World War One theatrical, Tourists, on September 21.