WHEN something happens that will change our lives we invariably have to make decisions about what we will do. While many of the choices we make prove to be the right ones, others lead to problems.
Newcastle-based contemporary dance performer and teacher Cadi McCarthy has developed a show, That Place In Between, which looks at the way people handle potentially life-changing issues. Featuring six professional dancers from Newcastle and other Australian centres, it will premiere at the Civic Theatre, with 8pm shows on Friday and Saturday, October 12 and 13. It will then have a show at The Arts House, Wyong, on October 19 at 8pm. Theatres elsewhere, including one in Sydney, have shown interest in the work.
McCarthy began putting the show together in 2014, talking to people in many places, including Canberra and Newcastle, her then two teaching venues, about issues they had faced. She interviewed 50 people, aged upwards from 14, with the matter taking her to several nursing homes to chat to retirees.
Some of the people had been involved in relationships that collapsed. Others were looking at changing from one job to another. Her conversations revealed that older people reflected on the choices they had made, while many younger people were still stuck in the moment they made a decision.
“The work looks at many decisions,” she said. “What happens after a divorce, for example. You don’t like your job, but should you stay in it? Can you avoid falling into depression when you are at a low point in your life? And there is a humorous side to many of the situations.”
McCarthy sees people’s reactions to choices they made as appropriate for a dance work. “We learn so much about people from their body language,” she said. “Words can be used to try to cover everything, but on the inside you can be feeling something totally different.”
The show’s six dancers have won praise overseas, as well as in Australia. They are Craig Bary, Angie Diaz, Nicholas Jachno, Allie Graham, Skip Willcox and Mikayla Nangle. The show has a background mix of music and sound developed by Newcastle’s Zachari Watt, including violin and electronic accompaniments, plus projected images.
The Civic season will also be the official launch of McCarthy’s company, Catapult Dance, as Newcastle’s first professional dance company. Catapult Dance is one of several related contemporary dance training companies she has operated since moving to Newcastle in 2012, with the others including Flipside Youth Dance, for junior performers.
Civic tickets for That Place In Between are $25 to $38 and at Wyong $20 to $35.
THIS production shows how well writers who put together shorter versions of musicals for young performers do their job, with most of the story, characters and songs fitting neatly into a 70-minute running time, plus an interval. And the Young People’s Theatre staging team have made it very engaging for children and adults alike.
The story is centred on a boy called Buddy, who, as a baby in New York, crawled into Santa Claus’s toy bag and was taken back on his sleigh to the North Pole, where he joined real elves as a toymaker. The musical opens with Santa confirming Buddy’s suspicion, after overhearing the real elves talking, that he’s actually a human, followed by Buddy being flown back to New York just before Christmas. And there he meets family members and helps people such as workers in a department store to develop a real Christmas spirit.
Director Harold Phipps and his crew likewise do that, in scenes including one, A Christmas Song, which has Buddy inviting an attractive girl, Jovie, to have dinner with him on Christmas Eve, with other New York residents who are doing various things in the background increasingly joining in.
The other songs likewise have a very real feel to them, with Jovie, upset that Buddy appears to have forgotten their rendezvous, singing Never Fall in Love With an Elf, and an ensemble of New Yorkers deliver an enthusiastic There is a Santa Claus as his sleigh flies above them.
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