Ok, for Charlie in particular,
Shellback Sheila was a ripper of a show. I was initially a bit sceptical, but by the National, the Forties had sung the songs in and they came out strong and gutsy. With Charlie's amazing research and Marg. Walter's research and programming it was a powerful and deep look at an amazing woman. In addition, the background on the ships, the times, the working conditions and the people made it a superb thing to be involved in.
The song settings came from a number of sources, and we also recited some as poetry. Charley, "The Lee Fore Brace" setting is fantastic. What is clear to me is that Cicely could well have heard or read Lawson's words and used the poetic scheme. Not only is the fit to the tune dead square, but it underlines the "Ten men hauling.." element dramatically.
The songs are powerfully singable and the choruses came out with all the force we expect of a good shanty.. not that the forties were unsubtle, "Limehouse Reach" was as moving as such a song should be, and I felt that my own rendering of "A Mains'l Haul" was not done with seaboots on.
The audience loved it and we were bombarded with questions and people wanting to share their stories at the end of the show.
For the rest, Yarri in the trocadero was murder on stage with the sound man playing ducks and drakes, and then the audience jumped up and gave us a noisy standing ovation. Yarri in the Troubadour was better, soundwise, with the same audience reaction. The Union Concert was a resounding success for the Forties with The audience participation in "Bring Out The Banners" being audible over the immense PA they have in the Budawang.
Re Kitty Kane, thanks for your comments. I hope they all meet me at the gate. "Ladies of Negotiable Affection" would be a great sort of workshop.
Oh, wonderful poet's breakfasts, lots of instrument displays and woodworkers doing demonstrations. I learned how to make both timber and metal handplanes. All up, an excellent festival.
Yeah! don't forget the crazy combination of Morris dancers and belly dancers- they have fiendish plans brewing for next year.
Good health all, Jack Halyard.