Bridging contrast and connection at Bankfoot House

Last weekend was not the break we were all needing - a break from this horrid heat and humidity. But, yes there is a but, it was made more interesting by going to watch The Radioplay Hour - Pinocchio at the Bankfoot House in the Glass House Mountains.

To summarize my week, it was a constant fight between mustering the motivation to go into the oven that my office has become in this heat wave and the temptation to abandon all hope and let myself become a vegetable under the fan… Not very productive, you say? And I AGREE! But I could feel my brain cells melting with any movement made, add to that my irritable nature when uncomfortable… I swear to you, reader, I became a harpy… I needed the distraction, and boy I was not disappointed.

The heat was still there, I grant you, but I laughed, I sang (badly… woops) and I kind of forgot for a minute, about this darn sticky heat.

So, without further ado, let me tell you all about it!

First of all, the Glass House Mountains is my favorite place to go on a hike since I moved up from Sydney. So going there was an absolute treat. There, I was welcomed by the experienced guides of the heritage listed Bankfoot House, who gave me a very thorough tour of the property. Stepping into the house was like stepping into the past and I could perfectly picture the original owners of the house, sitting on the veranda, listening to the radio, after a long day’s work.

On the radio, I could very easily imagine, yes I am making the connection, The Adventures of Pinocchio. What a coincidence! I was there to see the Live performance of the Radioplay Hour Nathan and his team had concocted for us, the audience. So, my head still filled with the house’s past, I made my way to the show.

In the cast, we have Charlotte Seymour Smith - making a Pinocchio more real than life-, Debra Joy Sykes - giving her beautiful strong voice to Jiminy-, Peta Schulz - pitch perfect as a soprano for the delicate but watchful Blue Fairy-, Thian Sykes - perfectly portraying the good-natured and loving Gepetto-, Magen Seymour Smith - the amazingly amusing Stromboli and Honest John-, and Deacon Folk - giving his voice as the sound effect elf who was narrating and assisting Nathan with the sound effects.

The ensemble worked superbly together. They played off each other, embracing the unforeseeable ups and downs bound to happen when performing live. They were energetic and lively, and in this heat, it is truly a feat.

A young mother told me after the show that she was amazed to see her young toddler being so captivated. “She is not yet 2 and she has a very short attention span” she confided, laughing, “so, good on them for keeping it so interactive for the kids, but also funny and engaging for the adults!”.

It’s all about making us use our imagination by picking our curiosity and playing with our emotions.

The ensemble also treated us with a few songs, and I being an animated-movies fiend, I mostly sang along the Disney ones, but the rest of the audience were more than happy to join in the rest of the songs as well.

There is such a purpose in performing in this way, and choosing this venue to do it. Nathan has thought of it very carefully to bring to life his vision. And it shows.

Driving back home, I was silent, thinking about all the connections and contrasts during this experience, and I know there was no mistake: he was making a point.

The contrast between the traditional (life at Bankfoot House, the classic story of Pinocchio and relying on ingenuity for sound effects, rather than a sound board) and the unconventional (the concept being so different from what we usually consider theater) is also a connection.

It is the root of storytelling. This brings me to a point that was made during the tour of the House. The three generations that lived there never got rid of anything. Everything had a purpose, and eventually got recycled into something entirely new.

Nathan does exactly that. He finds objects in his house and will work them until they deliver a sound he’ll use in his shows. And that is truly an amazing thing to see live. In the end, it is not about contrast and connection, it is about bridging the two and embracing the experience as a whole.

The classic becomes the contemporary, and so on. I hope I haven’t lost you in my bubbling thoughts...

Be sure to visit Bankfoot House and see their new exhibition Christmas at Bankfoot House.

See you soon, dear readers.

Stay tuned, or subscribe, for more news on The Drama Merchant front.

Please note:

Christmas hours- Bankfoot House Heritage Precinct closed w/e 25/12, 26/12 and 27/12/2020 and w/e 1/1, 2/1 and 3/1/2021.

Christmas at Bankfoot exhibition runs through to Sunday 31 Jan 2021- General open hours Friday- Sunday 10am-3pm.

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#bankfoothouse #thedramamerchant #theradioplayhour #liveaudiotheatre #radiodrama #creativity #culturalheritage #oldtimefun

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