Monday, 4 February 2013

Day 61: Curtain calls...

Day 61 (4 Feb) Monday, back to work, or the office. Work can happen anywhere, anytime really. So it is up early with the usual chores and habits. Teaching is still a couple of weeks away so the time now is used for meetings, workshops, seminars etc. As if I didn't have enough to do as it is. Today's plan includes trying to get time to watch the tribute to favourite Queensland actor, Bille Brown who died last week aged 61. But before then, there's a workshop to work on a 25 word citation. Should be easy for a member of the twitterverse...hehe. 

Lunch in the making, at 6.12am
But before then, there's the usual things: fed the loris, watered the bonsai, reviewed today's meeting notes, read yesterday's paper; and at 6.12am, tried to put together something for lunch from the almost bare pantry. 'Pasta and...' is usually my emergency option. Besides, it's an alternative 6.12 shot to yoghurt and fruit which was also on the bench. 

At 8.12am confirmed I hadn't won lotto on the weekend so continued to work, on to the workshop then resumed the usual place at the computer continuing to prepare classes, deal with admin, consult with colleagues. 

I had hoped to be able to attend Bille Brown's celebration at QPAC in Brisbane when I heard it announced. However, a number of things conspired to prevent that and so I opted to watch on the live-stream instead. I've been a fan of Bille Brown for many years now and his death from cancer came as a shock. He's just one of those actors you expect to always be on stage. His life was celebrated by friends and colleagues in that wonderful happy/sad way of people of the theatre. I've been a regular theatre-goer here in Brisbane for about twenty years or so and Brown was always one of those actors I'd go to see doing anything. I mentioned to friends the other day that I once saw him in the foyer at QPAC but felt too shy to go up and say hello and thank you. Wish I had. 

It was a marvellous chance to recall his stunning performances in The Marriage of Figaro in the brand new Playhouse, his superb performance as Oscar Wilde in The Judas Kiss, his role in his own play School of Arts. The brute force of mortality was present in another marvellous role in his play Bill and Mary. The part of Mary (Dame Mary Gilmore) was originally written for Ruth Cracknell who died not long before it was due to be presented. The role of Mary was ably played by another QTC favourite Carol Burns. 
Vale Danjuro, at 6.12pm

When I returned to work after the tribute, I soon learned that a favourite Japanese kabuki actor, Ichikawa Danjuro had died yesterday. He was 66. His death occurred just weeks after another beloved kabuki actor, Nakamura Kanzaburo who died in December aged just 57. In fact, I was just reading an article about him as 6.12pm chimed in. It was an odd feeling this evening to read of Danjuro's death, while still reflecting on Bille Brown. 

In the case of Danjuro and Kanzaburo (it is common for kabuki actors to be known by their first names), I have been going to and from Japan long enough to have followed their careers closely. I remember when Danjuro was granted his kabuki name (shumei) in 1985, carrying on a generations-long tradition. Kanzaburo too, had a way with acting and challenging traditional kabuki in a way that endured. I arrived in Japan last year just a few day after his sudden death and the theatre-going public of Japan mourned his death dearly as well. 

Although their traditions were different, I reckon Bille, Danjuro and Kanzaburo could have quite readily swapped roles on their respective stages...together they've taught me to love the theatre, here in Brisbane or in Tokyo. The curtain calls, but their characters will live on. 
Vale to the three of you and thank you. 

*Today is also three years to the day since I learnt of the sudden, utterly unexpected death of a good friend and colleague. I dedicate this page today to his memory, and remain vigilant in the hope that one day the sector in which I work will be free of bullying and harassment. 

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