Tag Archives: TV

Home on the other side

  Home is where the shoes are…this theme got me thinking about the nature of ‘home’. I was at a Celtic Festival this weekend, and one of the performers sang a song she’d written about the sense of home she had about Ireland, but also the fact that her home is in Australia. It reminded me from my own experience that once you’ve lived in more than one city, town or country, home is never completely only one place again. You always have to leave behind some people and places and memories in another place. Once you’ve lived in more than one house, you have a similar experience. There are things & memories left behind and you may grieve that the house you once called home is now inhabited by others – usually strangers. And they might make changes to the place you called home. I’ve called eleven dwellings ‘home’ over my lifetime so far, one for 22 years and another for 7, while all the rest ranged from 6 months to 4 years. If you spent the majority of your childhood in s ‘family home’, then you were probably fortunate. Although homes are sometimes just houses that hold bad memories & we might be glad to leave them (and their other inhabitants behind).

We know they say ‘home is where the heart is’ and more than just dwellings can give a sense of coming home. From making some significant trips to country northern NSW, I feel a sense of home when I see paddocks, blue skies and feel the hot sun. Some say they have a spiritual home and I’ve felt that too. Of course, although some connect to place more deeply than others, houses are just buildings without the people & memories. One of my favorite movies is a forgotten 1995 American film directed by Jodie Foster, called Home for the holidays, starting Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jnr, Anne Bancroft, Dylan McDermott, Steve Guttenberg & a very young Claire Danes, among a cast of others. What I like about the movie is the clever exploration of the interactions between a very normal but very dysfunctional family of adult children & their families who return to their parents home for holiday festivities. When the adult children come into the home they grew upon from their adult professional & personal lives, they are thrust back into childhood family dynamics, memories, high school romances & the role of child to their parents. The various foibles & quirks of the characters are cleverly drawn. I always remember the father of the family pointing out to his daughter on the way home from picking her up at the airport, the dental hospital where his tooth extraction once went wrong. It reminded me of the quirks that can annoy or exasperate you, but that make family family.

Another show, this time from TV also came to mind. It was an ABC a TV show, apparently from 1983, about s group of troubled young adults who lived in a residential facility. Apparently a few people on the internet other than me remember the show’s catchy theme song that included the words ‘Home is where the heart is’ and ‘Home, home, home on the other side’. What the ‘other side’ refers to is unclear, but presumably not heaven! Perhaps for the troubled kids it’s their hope for a home on the other side of residential care.

Sometimes when I see the news and hear about the destructions of people’s homes in bombing raids and earthquakes, I wonder how so many people will forge on after this loss. How and where will they rebuild dwellings & lives? Will they ever feel safe & secure again? Homes can be a foundation for memories, a place of safety and refuge, a place to rest. What does having no home do to the psyche? We have many homeless people living on the streets of our cities & towns. I live in relative comfort & safety & Im challenged that while others remain homeless through war, disasters or their own circumstances or choices, what sacrifices can I make to my comfort to somehow give others back a sense of home?

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Filed under A deliberate life, A reflective life

The roles I never made famous & random TV appearances

Red theatre curtain

The Show Must Go On

There is nothing like having a vision, imaging a world, and bringing it to life (I know this from creative writing). If I were in the position to make a movie, that’s why I’d want to direct, rather than act or produce. Personal experience tells me I hate cold pitching ideas, but once there is a green light I’m happy to take on a vision and create it for real.

I quite like acting, but my ‘career’ has been restricted to high school productions. In Grade 6 I got a prime dramatic part in Scrooge (albeit I didn’t have any actual lines), I sought to perfect forboding head-nodding and had a revelatory moment where I swept back my cape to reveal my skeleton suit. I would have liked to take on the role of Lady Bracknell in The Importance of being Ernest in our high school production of the play, but instead got to sink my teeth into portraying the Act II butler. In Speech & Drama lessons I tackled Mrs Danvers monologue from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and a child in Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour, and in class I relished reading the role of Shakespeare’s Falstaff in Henry IV part I. I guess it’s true that you never forget a role you put your time and spirit into portraying and there is a lot of satisfaction to be had from playing a role well. However although some roles are meaty, some are not very substantial and some are possibly not places you want to go mentally. Also, although you have a vision of the character, you may have to fight with the Director if they have a different view point and the final say is not going to rest with you (unless you’re mega famous).

My meagre television appearances also tell me that being behind the camera might give more scope and satisfaction than being in front of it. In primary school we were asked to (told we had to) take part in being filmed for some sort of fundraising telethon (who knows what the funds were for). We had to dress in alternate green and yellow and stand on the steps of the Sydney Opera House gathered around the then NSW premier, who we didn’t think very much of. We had to smile, or say ‘yay’ or something equally cheesy. This segment was one of many from different states that was played during the telethon. Basically we had no choice and probably no clue about what we were doing or why.

Another opportunity to be seen on the ‘box’ came about when my friend and I were approached by a film crew in a shopping centre. We were sixteen and they wanted to interview us for a segment on a children’s television show that usually featured a man talking to a sheep puppet. My friend refused and turned her back on the camera, but I took that opportunity to be an interview ‘star’. The only two questions they asked that I remember now were ‘If you could be a building, what sort of building would you be?’ I think I answered ‘skyscraper’, for what reason I have no idea. They also asked me ‘what would you like to say to people who shoplift?’. Although I’m against shoplifting, I had to laugh at this question, apart from ‘don’t do it’, what was one supposed to say that would not get cut? Anyway, it struck me that this was another time where I had no control: over the questions, over what would be included and what would be cut, and I wasn’t given any time to prepare my answers. In case you’re interested, apparently my segment was aired, as a few people at school told me they saw me on television – I question why teenagers were watching a kiddy show, but I never actually saw it myself.

So all in all, I’d rather direct a movie than feature in one. The chance to bring a whole world into being is a creative (and collaborative) act that is enviable.

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Filed under A creative life