During 1970 and 1971 Linda was understudy for 'A Flea in her Ear' and 'One Day of the Year' and looked after either the sound or assisted as a stage manager.
A Flea in her Ear
Bill Shanahan took over from John Derum from the 4th of February 1970 in
the role of Camille Chandebise while Bill Farley took over from Robin Mouat the role of
Etienne Plucheux on the 7th of February.
The critics said:
The Rape of the Belt
The One Day of the Year
A Yard of Sun
What the critics said:
Stuntmen charge Eureka
THE largest cast for an Australian musical since Lola Montez must have been gathered by the Independent Theatre, Sydney, on Wednesday for its premiere of Kenneth Cook's play, Stockade.
This is the play, by the author of Wake in Fright, commissioned by the University of NSW Drama Foundation and rehearsed by last year's Jane Street Theatre company, but closed before dress-rehearsal.
Some tons of wooden scaffolding have been erected in the auditorium and together with hearty amplifying and lusty voices, they assault and envelop the audience in the blood, sweat, toil and tears of the Eureka Stockade.
Since the fatal 20 minutes on December 3, 1854, at Ballarat, when 25 diggers arid four troopers were shot in a confrontation over miners' licences, we have found in the confusion a fund of ingredients dear to the heart of Australians.
The miners' leader, Peter Lalor, for example, is the first of a long unbroken line of Irish militant trade union secretaries.
His fight for the miners' rights - the abolition of extortionate 30 shillings a month licence tax, the right to own land arid to elect representatives to Parliament was Australia's first messy but united stand by the free, common man, against imposed authority. The goldfields of the 1850s founded our first egalitarian society based on self-help and mateship.
Eureka was entangled in the Irish Catholic conflict against Protestant political supremacy; its leaders were a heterogeneous mixture of immigrants from Europe and the Californian goldfields. And it raised the old question: What kind of cause is worth dying for?
All these things are latent in Kenneth Cook's script and in Ross McGregor's production. But the directions never become clear.
Historical accuracy is not what one requires in the theatre - almost any of them might be drawn out of the confused events of this early, pint-sized Gallipoli. The one positive dramatic point which author and director make is that each side is spoiling for a fight.
Physically the production is splendid (except perhaps for the brothel scenes which made up in energy what they lacked in conviction). McGregor has managed to round up 40 burly men into his herd and they stampede and somersault to their death from the scaffolding as well as stunt men in any western,
But this seems to have become an end in itself.
The director has, quite rightly, become entranced with the idea of a punch-up on a grand scale to the music of marching feet and old American and Irish protest ballads and his musical director, Michael Caulfield, puts weight behind the idea too.
The trouble is that we down below want to know what it is about.
Not that the author did not try to explain. Every few minutes one character says to another, "I don't understand you," in the hope the point would be clarified. But the opacity is only reinforced.
A Shavian journalist called George Black keeps trying to explain how no-one knows. He obscures the clear and crowns each piece of action with a crashing cliche. And he gets the last word (no reflection on the unfortunate actor).
Cook has confused confusion and wrong-headedness with lack of motivation. People can die for the wrong reasons but they do not get in the way of a cannon for no reason at all. No light is shed the whole evening on the grievances of the miners, their relationships, self-interests or why Lalor is able or willing to lead them to their deaths.
But they all die beautifully.
The play falls somewhere between a realistic comedy drama and a pop documentary. But what is most disappointing of all from a successful novelist like Cook is that so much, of the dialogue is bad - not just undramatic, but woolly nonsense.
Despite this, however, the production has much going for it, including the excellent performances of two women Sue Hollywood as Mrs Bentley, owner of the Eureka Hotel, and Michele Fawdon as a young pregnant wife. Max Cullen makes Carboni Raffaello, Lalor's lieutenant, the beginnings of a fatly comic character in a group for the most part humorless. Rod Mullinar's Lalor holds the stage and would be better still if he better understood himself.
This goes also for Michael Caton and Michael Rolfe who lead the troopers.