Review of Come From Away

Last night, I watched Come From Away, the musical, now showing at the Comedy Theatre, Melbourne in its Australian premiere. Oh my goodness. Pure magic. It’s surpassed Lion King as my favourite musical. I think everyone should go see it, so there’s a ticketing link at the bottom of the review.

12 cast members (playing at least two main characters each, towns- and plane people), 6 standbys (understudy for four roles each), 10 band members (most playing at least three instruments each). A beautiful musical score and lines that delivered. One hell of a show. Go check it out!

For those who don’t know, Come From Away is the based-on-truth story of the locals from of Gander, Newfoundland and the “plane people”. Gander coordinated the billeting and care of 6,579 people on 38 planes, diverted there when American airspace was closed for five days on September 11, 2001. The musical tells the story of some of the townspeople and “plane people” (what the locals called the plane travellers) stranded there. The musical gets its name from the words used to describe any visitors to Newfoundland – “Come from aways”.

I have been anticipating watching this show for months and it did not disappoint. The show was poignant and humorous and demonstrative by turns. Full of pathos and sheer humanity. It handles difficult subjects sensitively and meaningfully. I would watch this again, definitely (and I just listened to the soundtrack today actually). All the feels!! I laughed, I cringed, I teared up…and at the end of the show I burst into tears and leapt to my feet applauding. It was amazing!

Official Broadway Cast Recording of “Welcome to the Rock” from Come From Away.

The songs are all pretty good. Welcome to the Rock is a great intro. There are so many poignant songs – singing of people’s desperation, fear and hope. Blankets and Bedding; Darkness and Trees; Prayer; Something’s Missing, to name just a few. Just when you feel like you can’t take any more of it, some humour is inserted (e.g. Screech In) or a solution found. They’re still giving me goosebumps, tears and/or excitement today.

I also enjoyed Nick and Diane’s song, Stop the World. I believe my favourite song, amidst stiff competition, is Captain Beverley Bass’ power song: Me and the Sky. Her story is awesome. (If you want to hear her tell it, listen to this: This is your captain speaking, from ABC Conversations.) The other favourite would be Blankets and Bedding.

Go get tickets to see the show. Do it now, you will not be disappointed. Come From Away Melbourne.

How are we?

I’ve been thinking about lots of things, so this is a slightly stream-of-consciousness post.

How a sincere compliment can make someone’s day. 😁

I’m currently eagerly listening to a podcast called 13 Minutes to the Moon, which tracks the USA’s space race journey over thirteen episodes. 🌕

I am a bit of an astronomer – I love the stars, the moon, space. If it were safer and personally cheaper, I’d love to see the Earth from space (which is what the current episode is about.) We exist in a vast universe, which leaves me full of wonder. Including the little things here on Earth too. 🌏

I hope we continue to experience these wonders for years… though that does depend on action being taken against the bad things, like climate change. This leads to thoughts of what-ifs which are sometimes scary, because even if us little consumers do everything we individually can (which varies person-to-person), real action (not tokenism!) still needs to be taken by governments and major polluters. What will it take for the latter to be more concerned about changing for the better than preserving the current status quo? Bah humbug. 😠

My mind returns to other matters: all I can do is raise my voice and live my life as best I can, doing what I can. That includes being a part of the future through my work and communities – choir, church, online groups, friends. 😌

Spread love and do what you can. 💜

A reblog: Brains are amazing.

Check out the following. I enjoyed it and related to it. Brains are amazing

This week has been good – first week back of term and of choir rehearsals too, getting into the routine again.

It’s also signalled the likely death of my laptop. The screen went kaput at work, so I’ll be working out of the resource room for a while until I get a new one.

Tomorrow marks fifty years since humans first walked on the moon. I think that’s awesome. I’ve always been fascinated by the stars and outer space.

Ugh. June is the month of sickness apparently

Hi all. Last week I did lots of fun and busy things, so no blog posts.

I’d hoped to remedy that this week, but woke up crook with some sort of gastro thing on Monday. I thought it had gone away by the end of Tuesday, but it reappeared yesterday. Yuck.

So I’m on the couch today with only podcasts and hydrolyte solution for company. (I’d like to do more, but anything that makes my eyes focus for too long isn’t helpful to recovery.)

Maybe after the GP visit today I’ll go back to bed. I slept through the afternoon on Monday.

*sigh* why did this had to hit the last week of term instead of the first school holiday week? idk. I wanted to do fun end-of-term stuff with the students…

In the meantime, I’m listening to a podcast that I’d saved from last year about the idea of a universal basic income and other so-called radical ideas. Fascinating stuff. I must remember to get the book they’re talking about, “Utopia for realists”. Sounds interesting.

podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/conversations/id94688506

If you could choose the major virtues of society, what would they be?

Hi all.

I just read a book called Eve of Eridu. In it, a society is based on six virtues, which guide rules that have saved a portion of humanity after dark times caused by a Third World War. These rules include restrictions on feeling emotions. The book is the first in a series by Alanah Andrews and is a somewhat dark thought experiment considering the lengths people go to survive and how people can be conditioned into believing a particular way of existence. I’m a naturally emotional person and I found the book a challenge at times. I’m interested in the sequel that’s coming out this year.

Back to those virtues. I’m curious as to what six virtues you’d base your ideal society on. I found reducing the number to six quite challenging. I could only whittle mine down to nine and I’m not entirely satisfied.

  • Authenticity [Edited to add]
  • Compassion
  • Assertiveness
  • Self-determination (& self worth)
  • Creativity
  • Generosity
  • Whole intelligence (EQ & IQ)
  • Healthy individual spiritualism
  • Equitable justice & care for all people

What are yours?

Supanova

Hi all. Whoops, it’s been a little longer than I’d hoped for between posts, but that’s life.

I’m enjoying some time off right now due to school holidays, though I still have a bit of work admin to do (ahh, deadlines…).

A couple of Saturdays ago, I went to Supanova. It was my first fan convention (“con”) experience and I loved it.

Below are photos of my purchases from the event, as well as a photo of me in costume. I dressed as Rey from Star Wars.

I got several books, some earrings, badges/ pins, geeky magnets and a few other things. I also got to attend a lightsaber class (think of it as theatre combat).

It was pretty fun, and my noise-cancelling headphones worked a treat (more on those in another post).

Clare stands in the doorway of a TARDIS (blue police box), wearing green pants and a grey dress underneath a white top and two belts. She is smiling and holding a handmade lightsaber (blue with silver handle). She wears silver headphones and gold glasses.

On dark carpet are a number of books, several badges, magnets, bookmarks and pamphlets.

When I’m less tired tomorrow I’ll update this post with a few links about the merch in the second picture hopefully. So much cool stuff!

Singing for life

This year I’m singing in two choirs: the Monash University Choral Society (MonUCS) and the La Trobe University Choral Society (LaTUCS). It means my Tuesday and Wednesday evenings are taken during semesters (starting this week!). I love it.

No matter the stress or processing load of the day, I can walk into choir and relax during the singing parts. If I’ve had a busy day I need to give myself alone time before I can “people”, or interact with others, as despite my extraversion crowds can be overwhelming, especially at the end of a long day. (More on that in another post.) The actual rehearsal bits are fun regardless. I love getting into the rhythm of songs.

This year is different too, as I am no longer a student and therefore aren’t the one organising things. It’s nice to be on the other side and I have confidence in the current committees.

Today both LaTUCS and ROCS (RMIT Occasional Choral Society) are taking part in promo events on campus at Bundoora and Melbourne city respectively. I wish them luck!

If you’re interested in singing, why don’t you come over and have a go? Our choirs have no auditions and are very friendly places. Everyone can sing in my opinion – and singing is good for you, too.

Singing is such a big part of my life and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Woman taking selfie. She has tilted the camera so her t-shirt can be read. It says, “Keep Calm and Sing Laudate”

Shared: what happened last Thursday – a hopeful take

The below text is from an email that I was sent last week on Friday. Hurrah for the development of politics of conscience (at long bloody last). Let’s keep it going.

———————————————–

This is a long email, but I’ve just returned from Parliament House, and I wanted to let you know exactly what happened.

Yesterday, Scott Morrison’s Government played games in the Senate and then fled the House of Representatives – leaving their entire policy agenda behind – to avoid a bill that would compel Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to transfer children, their families and anyone else in need of medical assessment and treatment from Manus and Nauru to care in Australia. 

But the Morrison Government’s cowardice didn’t stop Senators from an extraordinary coalition of conscience. They voted hour after hour after hour, up against a filibuster from the Government, Pauline Hanson and Cory Bernardi on the final day of sitting for 2018, to push the #KidsOffNauru legislation through the Senate. 

But the final Senate vote came one hour too late. By the time it had passed, the Morrison Government had already shut down the House of Representatives and literally fled the building. 

It was a bittersweet moment. But this legislation will still be waiting when the House of Representatives returns in February – and it will pass. When it does, within 48 hours of it becoming law, we will see the kids and their families off Nauru, and emergency flights of critically ill men and women from offshore detention touch down in Australia. 

But Clare, to come within one hour of passing a bill that would have brought children and critically ill people from Manus and Nauru to Australia BY SUNDAY was absolutely heartbreaking. 

Newly elected Dr Kerryn Phelps, who drove this Bill through in the first fortnight of her Federal career, slumped back in her chair as the Bill passed the Senate but the lights were already off in the House. 

These same scenes repeated themselves as Senators left the chamber. Senator Tim Storer who tabled the Bill, having worked night after night to finely balance competing considerations across the political spectrum, had his head buried in his hands. 

But the thing I most wanted to tell you, Clare, was that in that same moment that our politics most failed us, the incredible potential of politics and our democracy was also at its most evident. 

The extraordinary events of yesterday happened because politicians of principle genuinely listened to the people-powered movement in Australia, and the voices of those still detained. Politicians who knew that the treatment of those on Manus and Nauru isn’t about left and right – it’s about right and wrong. 

I watched the Australian Greens Senators huddle anxiously together outside the Chamber door (with Adam Bandt actually running across from the House of Representatives), trying to find a way through the Government’s filibuster. They knew they were just inches away from saving the lives of those in offshore detention, whose rights they had defended for decades. 

Greens Immigration spokesperson Senator Nick McKim stood shoulder to shoulder with Senator Storer to table the bill, working tirelessly with people from across the political spectrum hoping for a win especially for the oft-forgotten adults. As, McKim exited the Senate when it was all done, close to tears, all he could say was:“How can I tell those people in the camps they have to wait another three months for treatment, when they needed it yesterday.” 

I watched the women of the House of Representatives crossbench, Rebekha Sharkie, former Liberal MP Julia Banks, and Cathy McGowan embrace Dr Phelps and her Bill. They also stood in their own right to argue in different ways for a sensible solution to the medical crisis that has enveloped the children, and the adults in offshore detention. 

I watched Senator Derryn Hinch forced to battle Twitter trolls from his Senate seat, remaining emphatic that he stood with all kids, including those detained offshore – even as the Morrison Government cynically dangled legislation he had long fought for to entice him over to their side. He sat alongside Centre Alliance Senators Griff and Patrick, both weary and indignant at the antics of the Government playing with Parliamentary procedure to avoid following the clear desireof the Australian public to get kids off Nauru, and follow doctors’ orders with the women and men. 

There stood Andrew Wilkie and his staff, biting their nails as they watched the Senate filibuster and then the House of Representatives clock. Wilkie had put the initial #KidsOffNauru Bill forward in the House months ago, but had graciously worked with everyone else to help draft a new Bill and find a new pathway through the Senate to ensure it become law. He stood repeatedly in the House this week, as he has done for years and years, arguing for justice for the people detained in our name. 

And then, after so long of being ripped apart on this issue, I watched the Australian Labor Party. Penny Wong, on her feet for hours at the table in the Senate, stabbing her finger in righteous fury at the Government’s dirty tricks. Their Senators determined to hold, in the face of fear-mongering Government speeches about boats and borders, to the fundamental tenet that sick people should never be denied treatment. When Opposition Leader Bill Shorten stood before snapping cameras and said kids should be off Nauru late last night, he stood for the work of a united Labor caucus led by Shadow Immigration Minister Shayne Neumann, which went back and forth for months between lawyers, doctors and internal champions – intent on finding the way through, even from Opposition, to finally address the medical crisis offshore. 

What I saw yesterday was a coalition of conscience emerge. And it renewed my faith in the promise of our politics. 

I watched this coalition of conscience come together and come within one hour of delivering a historic defeat to a cruel Government which has let 12 people die on their watch in offshore detention. 

I saw politicians put aside party and ego. I saw them work together the way we always want them to. I saw them sneaking BBQ Shapes just off the Senate floor, because the filibuster meant they hadn’t eaten since 7am. I saw their faces crumple as they realised children would be spending another 3 months in detention, because the Government had thwarted them on timing. I saw them shake off the despair and go out with a grim smile for the media. And I saw them promise, on national television, that they would be waiting, when the Parliament returns on the 13th of February, to finally deliver care and safety to those offshore, and pass this Bill before the House so it becomes law. 

That’s why I wanted to email you right now even though the words aren’t polished and I’m still in my pyjamas. Because I want you to know that yesterday showed us that this fight is still worth it. I want you to know that every email you send, every phonecall you make, every protest you attend – it’s all worth it. 

Because while politics created the cruel offshore detention regime, it can also break it. 

Stay tuned for next steps. Because this movement won’t just sit waiting for February. We’re going to keep fighting, every step of the way alongside those people detained in our name. And now we know that we will win. 

Yours in hope, 

Shen and Renaire for the GetUp! team 

Ps. The Government’s going to come for this coalition of conscience before February. With Dutton’s usual lies about boats and brown men and what-not. We must be ready to fight back. 

Another life update

I’ve been busy, these past few weeks. My final placement is nearly over. I’m nearly fully qualified! I just have to do a few tasks this week to finish strongly.

I hope that if you’ve got access to ABC or iview, you’re watching the program “Don’t Stop the Music”. It’s awesome! A great show about why music education is important and valuable. It also makes me reflect on my privilege.

For those of you who are voting in the Victorian state election on Saturday, the Victorian Electoral Commission’s website is a good resource for finding out which parties will be on your ballot papers. I’m going to use the lists to create my own how-to-vote card so I can think about it beforehand.

After it’s finished, I hope to get back into a blogging rhythm. I have some recipes to share, and other thoughts.

For now, enjoy some pictures of a rose in a family member’s garden; and a kick-arse Hufflepuff badger meme.

A red rose on a green stem is outlined by the flash of the camera against a red-and-yellow brick wallA Hufflepuff crest of black, silver and yellow, with a badger in the middle. Beneath the badger on the crest are the words: “just” and “loyal”. Above and below the crest are words reading: Do no harm but take no shit.

End of a good week…

This week has been busy, tiring, fun, challenging and motivating.

My placement is going to be a ton of fun, I can tell, and a great learning experience. I have such a lot to learn, but my enthusiasm for Paediatrics has been noted.

I’m at a school, so for the next two weeks placement pauses due to the Victorian school holidays. I’m going to use that time to brush up on a few relevant things, including my knowledge of Auslan.

There are also a few fun things happening, as well. Events that mark the approaching end of semester. One of those is tonight, so I’m off to have a good time with my OT cohort.

Btw, happy Bi Day of Visibility! 💖💙💜

Lovely to see Spring showing up today. Blossoms and sunshine! Have a good weekend everyone.

Sunset behind trees, with a lake in front