The Crappy King and the Tree – World Tour

Most Kings are regal, serious, leaders.  Most Kings have experience and have been brought up to be Kings, like their fathers and mothers before them.

Most Kings know what is going on – at least for most of the time.

I don’t.

I am a crappy King.

I suspect that there is a large shepherds crook waiting in the wings for the opportune moment to yank me off the royal stage.

I am, however, an excellent Tree…. even if I do say so myself.

My teenage daughters and I have been involved in various shapes and forms with a local amateur theatre company here in Melbourne, Australia, for the last couple of years – Nuworks Theatre.

The Head of Drama at my daughters’ old school, David Dunn, runs his own amateur theatre group on the side, away from his full time teaching gig, and has done so for many years.

David is extremely passionate about every single one of his productions, is a wonderful educator, teacher, mentor and an amazing writer and director.

He picks and chooses an (usually) older high school student or two each year to join him in his external theatrical endeavours.

As these students grow, or leave the school, or both, they tend to stay involved with David at Nuworks Theatre.  Some of these ex-students have been involved for 20 years.

My oldest daughter is similarly passionate about the dramatic arts – musical theatre in particular.  As a result, at her old school where she first met David as one of her teachers, she quickly became involved in every possible play, drama, production, acting and singing opportunity available.

My youngest daughter also enjoys performing in musical theatre productions.

Also at my daughters old school, they used to have a Parent Drama group.

Each year, one of the drama teachers would put out the call for any interested parents and he would write a musical theatre show based around who turned up.  Rehearsals would happen weekly for a few months, and then 3 or 4 shows – usually sold out – were performed in the school auditorium to the greater school community.

A live band made up of a parent or two, a few teachers (including David) and a year 12 student or two added to these shows.

I was involved in this Parent Drama for two years running.  The first time was largely so that I could meet and get to know David, as it was becoming clear that my oldest daughter was going to be spending a fair bit of time with him as her teacher and mentor.  The second time was because I enjoy playing my saxophone and singing with a band….. but in order to do that I had to again learn my acting lines and…..gulp….dance.

Dancing is not my strong point !!

( I dance like the Banana Splits ).

Here is one of my Parent Drama performances:

Nuworks Theatre

Anyway, we have since changed schools, but when he heard we were leaving, my oldest daughter was immediately invited by David to be in a show with his Nuworks Theatre.  One show turned into two shows, then three, then five, and many of the shows since.  These started out as the “youth” shows, but she has now almost graduated into the main seniors productions.

And she loves it.

I was invited to be in a show too, largely as a musician (saxophone) that was incorporated into the cast.  I have since been involved with some recordings (sax and vocals) for one or two other shows.

Meanwhile, my youngest daughter has also become involved.  She, like her older sister, has also had significant roles in the Nuworks Youth Theatre shows put on by her age group.

Early this year – 2017 – David announced that he was organising a Nuworks Theatre tour of Germany and the United Kingdom for September and October 2017.  Every few years he organises this and apparently they have been a wonderful and amazing experience.

As this post is published, we will be beginning our tour.

I missed out on going overseas with my family last year because of my sore back .  A long plane journey was simply not an option for me at the time.  My oldest daughter was touring England, France and Italy with the Australian Girls Choir, while my wife and youngest daughter rambled around England with a side trip to Paris.

I was planning on going with them, but my sore back did not allow it.

To suggest that I was extremely disappointed by this is an understatement.

So, when David made his plans public within his Nuworks Theatre community, we as a family immediately put our hands up.

The long and the short of it is that there are approximately 25 people going on this tour – three families such as ours (Mum, Dad, two teenagers), plus 8 or so uni students, plus a few extras and partners who will be providing backup support.

The age range of this touring party is from 14 to 60 something.  The deal is that David has many contacts in various theatres around the world – he has asked that if they sell and promote tickets, keep half the proceeds and donate the other half to a charity of their choice, we will perform in their theatres.

Many of these theatre owners have agreed.

So, we get to perform very professional shows in amazing locations around Germany, England, Wales and Scotland, they make a bit of money plus local charities get an injection of funds.

A perfect win-win-win for everyone.

So, we are performing three musical theatre shows – Snow White (adaptation of the Disney classic with original songs), Romeo and Juliet (full Shakespearean text, with modern songs), and Electra (Greek tragedy with original songs) – all written and adapted by David, with great music and fantastic singing/dancing/acting.

My daughters are in all three shows, as are most of the other cast members.

I am only in Snow White, which suits me just fine.

My role is extremely brief – I started out as The King, Snow White’s father….which worked out well as my oldest daughter is playing the part of Snow White.  My youngest daughter is Doc the Dwarf.

Amusingly, I have found this minor role difficult.  And perhaps even more amusing is the fact that I have found myself in the perhaps rare and unique position of trying to negotiate a SMALLER part…. Most actors fight to the death to get a larger role, apparently….

Because we are all travelling, sets and props will be extremely minimal.  As a result, several of the cast are “human sets”.

I have been cast in this light as a tree.

This actually suits and pleases me no end.  I get to sway in the breeze, react to the scenes being played out in front of me, join in the singing, and generally be just a little bit silly on stage and in public.

(Much to the embarrassment of my daughters…..which makes it even funnier for me.)

I am really enjoying being a tree.

This opportunity is something that is unlikely to ever happen again, which is why we as a family are grabbing it with both hands.  While I can keep up with them musically, my daughters acting and dancing talent far outstrips mine.

Opportunities to share a stage with my daughters are rare.

I suspect that this trip will be an adventure that will go down in the history of our family legend.

Remember when Dad was soooooo embarrassing ?

Remember when the girls were famous ?

Sensational.  I’m really looking forward to it.

If you happen to be in Germany or England in late September or early October 2017, please come to our shows 🙂



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