BREAK A LEG: Quality local productions bring out a crowd

COMEDY: Happy as Gary by the Dubbo Theatre Company will be on stage from Thursday, July 26. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
COMEDY: Happy as Gary by the Dubbo Theatre Company will be on stage from Thursday, July 26. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

There’s something about local productions that bring out even the die-hard ‘I’m not into theatre’ crowd.

Maybe it’s seeing well-known local personalities in character, the expectation that family and friends have to attend or maybe it’s just plain FOMO – fear of missing out.

More often than not, a local production is of such high quality, the Theatre Manager wishes it could go on tour.

It’s no easy feat to be on stage, knowing there are up to 500 people watching your every move. The lively buzz of an audience taking their seats can be heard from the dressing rooms.

When you finally step out on stage, the heat and intensity of the spotlights can be overwhelming.

Add to that remembering your lines, your expressions, how to move, where to move, ignoring audience distractions like the person who forgot to turn their phone off, crying babies and so on.

As an audience member, all you have to do is sit back in the comfortable seats, clear your mind and immerse yourself in what unfolds on the stage.

This is exactly what we will be doing on Thursday 26 July when we go to see Happy as Gary by Dubbo Theatre Company.

You could be forgiven for mistaking Happy as Gary (written by and starring Andy Carolan) as a one man comedy.

However, audiences will soon see that this production is much, much more.

This work is a full length play, taking over a year to conceive and construct, with multiple plots weaved throughout the title figure’s life.

While Gary Tucker may be the only character visible on stage, he is surrounded by a cast of supporting voiceover roles, constantly influencing the protagonist’s decisions and chaotic journey.

The script contains all elements of a full length narrative, combining light-hearted laughs with strong desire and moving, thought-provoking drama.

The play’s setting has been cleverly designed and pieced together over a six month period.

The creative team have spent thousands of hours carefully designing and selecting appropriate props, wardrobe, character behaviour and dialogue to match (or conflict with) the main character’s preferences and lifestyle.

It’s really not a one man comedy.

It’s not a showcase, speech nor stand-up.

It’s an emerging playwright’s work of art and a group of pro-active theatre makers contributing to our community.

I really believe this production should go on tour, with the next stop being Dapto.

Why Dapto? Well, you’ll have to see the show to find out.