A Star is Born

A Star is Born.

Well, that is a catchy blog post title if ever I saw one.

Actually the star to whom I refer was born 20 years ago, and has been shining ever since.

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This is my daughter, Georgia Belle, and I’m writing this post to alert the world (or anyone who might stumble upon my blog) that she is madly saving money for her lifetime adventure – to study acting in New York.

She auditioned for the prestigious Stella Adler Studio of Acting  and was accepted into the 2 year Conservatory Program.  Naturally this was thrilling news but now we just have to work out how to get her there and keep her there whilst she studies.

She will be living in New York on an Australian student visa and under this arrangement she is not permitted to work to earn a living for herself which is frustrating to say the least.

So she was prompted to set up a GO FUND ME page to help raise some much need funds, and here is the link to her page:

https://www.gofundme.com/georgiastellaadler

I am astounded by how many people request funding through various platforms, but I am also astounded by how many generous and kind benefactors there are in the world, who have the time, interest and money to donate to someone who is trying to achieve their goals and make their dreams come true.

I thought I would post this to help her along her way, and it is true that every dollar helps.

I thank you in advance and so does my gorgeous, young rising star.

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I left my child in New York city (part 3)

Every parent tries to do their best when raising their children, from the very first night they are brought home from the hospital right through all those school years and into young adulthood. Depositing them in a strange country, over sixteen thousand kilometres away (or just over ten thousand miles) may seem akin to throwing a baby into a pool to see if they can swim, but it seems that when I left my child in New York city it wasn’t the worst thing I could have done as a parent; she survived the ordeal and has now safely returned home.

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Before I left my child in New York city though, I stayed with her for a week to help her settle in (i.e. cleaned her dorm room and purchased everything she would need for her stay) and I got to see a little of New York before leaving her all alone in the Big Apple.

 

During her stay in Brooklyn Heights she did discover some flaws in her skill set that could be improved upon before she heads out into the world again.  For example, she found was wasn’t overly enthusiastic about using a laundromat (coin laundry), nor was she confident in asking for directions, and she definitely wasn’t keen on cooking in a communal college kitchen.

Important as they may be, these skills can be practised at home – she was in New York and set about making the most of her time there.  When she wasn’t attending classes at the Stella Adler summer conservatory course she went to as many Broadway productions as time and money would allow, and she squeezed in extra stage door photos with a who’s who of American talent.

Life in Camelot - I left my child in New York city

Georgia with Ramin Karimloo

 

 

One Broadway star, Cheyenne Jackson, took pity upon my poor child, (all alone in New York city) as he clearly did not want to let their meeting pass into the history books unrecorded,  so he took selfies of the two of them and threw in a special kiss.

When not kissing Broadway stars she still found time to dine out at local establishments and go to class, which was the purpose of this stay in New York.

Then it came home for this little chicken to fly home so she boarded a plane at JFK and 24 or so hours later, after flying thousands of kilometres, she arrived home with very tired wings.

She had survived by herself in the Big Apple.  She had worked as a student, grown as a person and lived the dream of every budding actor and actress in the modern western world, if only for a few months.  She had been immersed in ‘musical-theatre nerd’ heaven.

She returned a little bit the same and a little bit not, but it was all worth it.  So if you should ever require any parenting advice regarding your teenager, don’t forget to ask me about the time…

I left my child in New York city.

I Left My Child in New York City (part 2)

After several earlier inadvertent attempts at abandoning my daughter in the Big Apple, this year I nailed it and finally left my child in New York city.

Life In Camelot, I Left my Child in New York city, The Big Apple

As she is a budding actress, it wasn’t too difficult to lure her back to New York –  the mecca of acting – where she was accepted into the prestigious Stella Adler Studio of Acting to undertake the intensive summer conservatory course.  It then just became a matter of logistics (and enough money) to get her there and leave her there for 10 weeks of her young life.

Life In Camelot, I Left My Child in New York City, Stella Adler

In order to ‘leave’ her in New York I had to travel there with her so I purchased 2 seats on a United Airlines flight from Melbourne to LA, through to New York.

But we were forced to cancel our reserved flights the evening before departure due to the fact that her passport, complete with US Student visa, had not returned from the US Consulate in time.  Luckily our travel agent arranged replacement flights (that cost yet more money) scheduled to depart 24 hours after the original flights, in the hope that the passport would be with us by then.

Then we received a text from United Airlines to say our new flight from Melbourne to LA was cancelled due to ‘airport maintenance’.

Life In Camelot, I Left my Child in New York City, cancelled flights

Several more hours on the phone to our diligent travel agent resulted in alternative flights on the same morning that would take us to Sydney with Qantas, where we would then catch the connecting United flight to LA and change there for the flight to New York.

How this travel agent manages to do her job every day without any obvious alcohol abuse remains a mystery to me.

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The passport eventually arrived and so the following day we awoke at about 4.00am in order to catch our 6.00am flight to Sydney that was inexplicably delayed in leaving Melbourne.  Approximately 2 and a half hours later we did take off and, you guessed it, we missed the connecting flight to LA, along with 19 other angry passengers.

Life In Camelot, I Left my Child in New York City, cancelled flights

Neither Qantas nor United Airlines seemed terribly repentant and both blamed the other for the stuff up.  Consequently, we spent the entire day inside Sydney’s international airport before boarding the next United flight to LA that left at about 5.40pm.

We made the most of the day by duty-free shopping, eating and making plans for our stay in New York, including booking our first Broadway show of the trip on my iPad.

Life In Camelot, I Left My Child in New York City, flightsLife In Camelot, I Left my Child in New York City, flight

We finally arrived at our Brooklyn hotel around 1.00am, almost 36 hours after leaving Melbourne.  You could say we were tired.

After a few nights in that hotel it was time to check into the student accommodation.  This concrete room in the old St George Hotel in Brooklyn Heights was to be my daughter’s home for the next 2 and a half months while she experienced the life of a New Yorker.

I kept myself busy for that week in New York whilst my daughter settled into her new home and her new school.  I walked, watched and wondered at the marvels of Manhattan and I even got to catch up with my friend, Michelle, whom I’d met on my European backpacking adventure, 29 years earlier.

I didn’t want to leave this town but the day arrived when I had to fly back to Australia, and this time I really left my child in New York city.

See what happens next in Part 3 of I Left my Child in New York City…

Murder on the Nile – Nanette Frew, The Genesian Theatre and the genius of Agatha Christie. (Theatre review)

This is my mother, Nanette Frew, and a great review of her directorial swansong (or so she says) at the Genesian Theatre in Sydney.

Lisa Thatcher

If Agatha Christie were a man, she would be considered the kind of genius no female could ever aspire to. She is the best-selling novelist of all time, and her books have sold roughly four billion copies.  After Shakespeare and The Bible, her books rank as the most published in history. She is the most translated individual author, having been translated into one hundred and three languages. And Then There Were None is the most popular mystery book ever written, and one of the most popular books of all time. Christie’s play The Mousetrap is the longest running play in history, having opened at the Ambassadors theatre in London on the 25th of November in 1952 and is still running after more than 25,000 performances.

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Death on the Nile, published in 1937, started off as a play by Christie titled Moon on the Nile. Once she’d completed Moon…

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Vale Sir David Frost and That Was The Week That Was

Last year I was fortunate enough to see Sir David Frost speak on board Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth; sadly the same ship he was travelling on when he suffered a heart attack this week.

The Royal Court Theatre was absolutely jam-packed and there was standing room only to see this veteran of the entertainment world.  I got there early and secured a terrific position, 2 rows from the front of the stage, to hear him interviewed by the ship’s resident Entertainment Officer, Mr Keith Maynard.

He was as good an interviewee as he had been an interviewer.  He regaled us with many funny stories and highlights of his career.

I wanted to share some of the images of the event I took on my antiquated iPhone 3.

Please feel free to share any memories and encounters you may have had with this terrific interviewer and entertainer, Sir David Frost, broadcaster and writer.

Celebrity Lap Dancing

A friend of mine was feeling frustrated about the behaviour of some modern fans towards the popular objects of their adulation.  Whilst most fans are appreciative of all they do receive from public figures, some people take it a little too far in their assumptions of ownership over these high-profile performers and expect more than is necessary in return for their allegiance.

Here’s what she wrote –

CELEBRITY LAP DANCING

While it may sound like a new reality TV show, Carrie Fisher used the term “Celebrity Lap Dancing” to describe sci-fi conventions. Those places where actors – often even good ones – parade themselves in front of adoring fans and basically perform like trained monkeys for said fans enjoyment. For me this stretches not just to Comic-cons, but as a theatre fan, to stage-dooring, and I recently thought to include social media.

I have always felt that all an actor owed me was printed on the face of the ticket. I still believe that. It is a negotiated contract between the performer and the audience that the party of the first part (the performer) will act in accordance with the information provided by the promoter, and the party of the second part (the audience) will sit there and enjoy it. That’s pretty much it. And to a greater or lesser extent, that is what happens. After that, the terms of the contract cease to be binding, and we all go home.

This applies to everyone. Even, or especially, fan club people – the members and the organizers – seem to feel an obligation is owed to them by the focus of their admiration. They do what they do or join what they join without the target of their collective affections asking them to, or in some cases even knowing the group exists. They are acting voluntarily with no mention of reimbursement of any kind (literal or figurative) even being discussed. Why would they expect anything more?
Why do people assume that simply because they have made an emotional connection with someone on stage, somehow that emotion is reciprocated? These people are actors – making emotional connections is what they do for a living. The same way we do the filing.
Don’t get me wrong. I am well aware of the slight flutter experienced when a person you have admired replies to a tweet or likes a post. However, I don’t see that somehow talking to an actor on a social media site like Twitter or Facebook – no matter how regular it is – somehow constitutes a real relationship. Performers have friends – even best friends. They don’t need us for that. We are simply fans. If you want to spend more time with them buy the official cast recording.

So many times I have read comments from fans talking about how this actor or that one doesn’t appreciate their fans because they didn’t stay to chat after the show. And I have wondered at the level of presumption some people have. How do we know that the actor isn’t sick, or tired, or late for something else? Maybe they appear grumpy because they are injured and just want to go home. Maybe they don’t want to give you the cold that they can’t shake (because they have to spend an hour each night outside the stage door talking to fans). What right do we, as audience members, especially those claiming to be devotees, have to expect or insist people we don’t know stay behind and talk to us?

Now, the term “Celebrity Lap Dance” has a ring to it. An implication perhaps, of something a little cheap and seedy, something that to some extent debases both parties. It is not how I want to view someone whose work I admire. It is certainly not the way I want someone I admire to view me.

And that is why I probably won’t be waiting in breathless anticipation for anyone to exit the theatre.

Please let us know what you think of the pressure put upon modern performers and the narrowing margin between their public and private lives.