Tuesday, July 19, 2011

South for the Winter

'Twas a combination of all things good. Melbourne, a city I love, a city I have had so many fabulous shopping- and food-fuelled weekends in, a city I could live in if the stars aligned and I stopped making excuses. And friends. Dear women friends who go back many years and with which I share such a wonderful, creative, nurturing bond.

We worked out that it had been eight years since our last and original Melbourne sojourn. Some months previous, Aimee and I decided it might be fun to write and produce a musical. A musical about yoga. And why not perform it at the upcoming Melbourne Fringe Festival (it was 2003, I think). Easy-peasy, nothing to it. We gathered a pair of performer friends and an amazing production manager and launched ourselves in. Such bravado. Such naivety.

Within the space of a few months we'd written a play, complete with songs, and rehearsed it up in readiness for the festival. We tackled major roadblocks like they were mini-humps in the path. One conversation went something along the lines of - AMANDA: "I've just got the forms here for the festival. It says we need a venue and dates before we can register." ME: "Shit. I thought they provided all that." AIMEE: "Can you make a few calls, Amanda?" And that afternoon it was all in place. Venue booked, dates firmed, commitment in stone.

It was exhausting stuff, and I won't say we produced a masterpiece, but it was a great learning curve, our audiences had a few belly laughs, and it was enough of a success that we took it back into production for the Adelaide Fringe the following year. Four stars, baby, four stars.

The upshot of it all wasn't glittering careers in the arts, names up in lights, writing contracts, Tony awards. We didn't even manage to find a Sydney venue willing to give us a go. But what we had was an amazing experience undampened by the wisdom we gained from that experience, if that makes sense. We didn't know how hard it was to do so we just did it. I really should apply these lessons in everyday life...

Anyway, one of us has recently moved back to Melbourne from London, and another was back in Sydney for a few weeks from her new home in Hong Kong, so we decided a reunion was in order. Flights were booked, accommodation at Chateau Uncle was arranged, car seats and bassinets for the two small babies that would be accompanying us was hired. The itinerary included a bit of shopping, a lot of eating and then a bit more eating.

In the eight years since we were last in Melbourne together, there have been three weddings (with another around the corner) and six babies, two overseas moves and a couple of interstate ones. We may not be lighting up the stage with our creative genius but we're running homes and businesses, making families, production managing lives busier than we ever imagined they would be. And how lovely to take a tiny break from those lives, gather together and breathe for a couple of days. 

And vodka at breakfast was a nice touch...for old times' sake.

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