A handbag for all gen­er­a­tions

Clutha Leader - - WINTER MOTORING - CAROLYN DEVERSON

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.

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