Family, history, music. They are just some of the themes that the much-loved Australian show The Sapphires explores.
While mostly everyone will be aware of the 2013 movie of the same name, what some people may not be aware of is that long before The Sapphires became a huge hit on the silver screen, it was a musical stage show.
Written by Tony Briggs, The Sapphire’s is his mother’s true story and he will be taking the stage production to Dubbo this in March for a performance at the Dubbo Regional Theatre.
This is the first time Mr Biggs has directed this version of the production of the story. The character of Julie in the stage show is based on his mother’s own experiences.
Different versions of the stage show has toured nationally and overseas, but Mr Briggs wanted the most “raw” version as director.
“I decided that I want to strip it back and keep it as raw as I possibly can,” he said.
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Mr Briggs said it was “surreal” to be able to tell his mothers story. Upon the time of the interview rehearsals were in full swing, and Mr Briggs said they were in a “really good place.”
“It’s really shaping up very nicely,” he said.
Mr Briggs believes what makes the story of The Sapphires so loved is that it resonates with so many people because it’s about family.
“Everybody can understand the dynamics of family, whether your a single child or a family of thirteen siblings,” he said.
“There are similarities in the story that everyone can relate to. It’s a human story, it’s about people who strive to become the best version of themselves. That’s what this is about.”
Mr Briggs said the imagination of the story has captures a generation of people, particularly regarding Vietnam and the music.
“The music that we play in the show is music that is played on the radio today…,” he said.
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Mr Briggs pre-warned audiences not to expect to see the four Sapphires from the movie on the stage.
“It is the rawest form of the story because the film came out of the stage show,” Mr Briggs said.
Mr Briggs said every single character on the stage is an amalgamation of various people in his life and that the show is layered with his family and was peppered with history.
He said the story came about through conversations with his mother and asking about their history.
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“That was one of the reasons why I wanted to do the show again, just to remind people, the younger generation, this is not about me at all, it’s about a bigger picture,” Mr Briggs said.
“This is only a small part of my family’s story but the key is about communicating with the Elders and communicating with your mothers and fathers if we’re fortunate enough to have our mothers and fathers in our lives still, then we need not take it for granted and don’t just think they’re going to be there all of the time...”
His hope is that people have “an awesome night” at the theatre.
“And enjoy beautifully, talented people entertaining them. That’s all I can hope for,” Mr Briggs said.
“I can hope that people have a sense of fun around the story and just get a smidgen of understanding that our people were instrumental in all of the wars, whether it be especially as fighters.”
Mr Briggs said the character Jimmy in a sense is a metaphor character for a of Aboriginal people who were either conscripted or chose to go to the war for fight for Australia.
“Our people were there too.. and they’re fighting for our country today,” he said.
Mr Briggs gave a special mention to everybody in the cast.
“We’ve worked tirelessly and for a few of the women in the show it’s the first time they’ve had the opportunity to really show their talents in a main character format in such a high profile piece,” he said.
“All these actors in the show are extraordinary individuals, They’re really proud Indigenous women who are happy to express themselves for the enjoyment of to others and they do it with gusto.”
The stage show first begun in 2005 at the Melbourne Theatre Company.