Ode to a Closing Theatre: Woodward Theatre 1979=2015

I was asked to write and perform something to commemorate the closing of The Woodward Theatre, a university performance and teaching space on the Kelvin Grove Campus of QUT, due for demolition by the end of 2015. I spoke these words over the above soundscape. The image (by Ray Pittman) is of Tony Brockman,  from an early creative development of The Empty City (Dir. David Fenton) which we did in the Woodward.

Ode to a Closing Theatre

There are no theatre ghosts

That made up stuff demeans us

And all the spirited exchanges

That pass between us

 

Instead of praising the amazing things

That have taken place here

Let’s celebrate the myriad ordinary things

That leave no trace here

 

So many unremarkable, everyday feats

Boards are treaded, bums on seats

 

Tape on the stage and layers of paint

Theatrical archaeology makes history feint

All the glorious failures, the abject messes

that we’ve learned more from than the roaring successes

Leads have been rolled

And some roles have been leads

Backstage or onstage

the play’s the thing we need.

 

So many times here beginners have been called

It’s hard to imagine

An end to it all

But we all get older

We learn our lines

All this effort, nevertheless

To make the very difficult

Seem effortless

The doors to the theatre are closing soon

And the house will be brought down

Completely

 

 

You can get sentimental for what has passed

Or stand and applaud the idea

That nothing truly lasts.

 

So it pays to be present

Performatively

For playing together will set us free

 

That’s the essence of theatricality

That playing together can set us free

 

Wherever the playhouse

That’s our intent

To be present

creatively (pedagogically)

For playing together will set us all free.

 

David Megarrity November 29 ,  2015

 

 

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