Autumn in South Hobart.

Louisa’s Walk starts at the top of the beautiful Cascade Gardens in South Hobart. At this time of year the plane trees are dropping their huge leaves and there is a carpet to crunch through! Yesterday, I was waiting to make my entrance as Louisa behind one of the big evergreen trees when I heard a Dad calling excitedly to his children “Quick, kids there’s a platypus!”. It was all I could do not to break ranks and rush over to have a look too but my cue wasn’t far off and I knew I didn’t have the time. I have always wanted to see a platypus in the waters of the Hobart Rivulet which run alongside the Cascade Gardens and were responsible for flooding parts of the Female Factory when it was in operation. I had heard that the shy and gentle monotremes lived in the waters higher up but never dreamed we would see them so low down nearly in the centre of Hobart!

However, it was time for Louisa to make her entrance and get nicked for stealing her loaf of bread so the sight of a platypus was reserved for another occasion. There was something special about yesterday’s performance though. When it came time for Louisa to cradle her baby and tell of the trauma of losing her (often a place where the hankies come out) it became really emotional for me. Words flowed and so did tears, expressions I had not used before. Louisa’s Walk seems to have a life of its own and this was so just then. Our audience was with us at every step, laughing, crying – we feed off you and your response and energy gives a different life to each performance. People often ask us if we get sick of performing the same thing every day? No way! Every performance is different and it all depends on you, our lovely audiences, the ones who seek us out. The ones who are looking for something different to do in Hobart.

As we finished and came out of our characters at the end of Louisa’s Walk, underneath the same plane trees from which we started, the wind whipped that carpet of leaves into a flurry. They were whirling everywhere in a display of nature’s force. The children were still there who had seen the platypus. I asked them if he was still in sight? “He’s hiding” they said “But we know where he lives”.

Next time perhaps?

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One Comment

  1. Jan Latimer
    Posted May 6, 2008 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I have just read feedback from the class after our walk with you; and though some had had reservations the week before, everyone was very positive. They loved the “good story, that was told so well”, they enjoyed being part of the drama, and many commented that it was very special to learn that the play was based on a true story. Many mentioned how the gardens were so lovely as well. The one part of the feedback that you might like to ponder, was that they got confused with the many roles that Chris played and would have liked more actors involved. They all learnt a lot about the lives of the women convicts and were quite horrified by the grim conditions they had to endure. Thanks for a wonderfully innovative approach to telling the story of convict women. I hope some students will comment to you themselves.

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