Family drama unfolds, and the tension between patriotism and racism is revealed in the double bill performance of Stardust and The Mission, featuring two regular Aussies with remarkable tales, when it arrives at GPAC for two days this May.
Stardust is the story of the esteemed Victorian jazz musician Col Brain and his wooden dresser – which sat unopened for over 25 years in the family garage of his grandson: the multi-award winning ABC presenter and performer, Joel Carnegie.
“Before he died in the late 1980s, Col stored all of his life’s most important musical possessions in this old wooden dresser (called a gentleman’s wardrobe!), locked it up and it was never opened again. That was until I started working on a radio documentary about his life for ABC Radio National back in 2014 and decided to open this cupboard for the very first time,” explains Carnegie, the star of Stardust.
“Over time, I started to collect stories about this man who I’d never really knew – and ultimately turned this radio documentary into a ‘radio cabaret’ show that the ABC recorded at the Geelong Performing Arts Centre in 2016, with a live brass band and three packed houses! Tom (Molyneux) directed the show and it aired to critical acclaim – picking up “Best Performance By an Actor” and “Best Innovation” at the 2017 New York Festivals International Radio Awards,” he continues.
“I don’t think we often appreciate how much our family past influences who we are today and this project has been really revealing for me. I’ve uncovered so much about my family, which I never knew before. Stardust is really a story about exploring someone else’s life through the things they left behind…”
Following an interval, Tom Molyneux will take front and centre with The Mission: a story about Allan McDonald, Molyneux’s great, great uncle and one of Victoria’s first indigenous soldiers to fight in World War I. He fought in many of the famous ANZAC battles, including in Gallipoli. The extreme racism he faced didn’t deter him from fighting for Australia, and Indigenous rights. This is the account of a man who stood up for what be believed in no matter the cost.
With both stories exploring the notion that the people of your past plays apart in fully understanding who you are today, it only made sense to Carnegie and Molyneux to bill the two shows together.
“We all make choices in life, which directly impact our future. This double bill (two shows in one) gives people the chance to consider where they are at in life, and how the past can influence (and even haunt) you to this very day,” Carnegie says. “As long-time collaborators, we felt that these two stories spoke to each other.”
With local brass bands also performing across both shows, Stardust and The Mission will reveal the extraordinary stories of two ordinary Australians whose legacies still reverberate today – in a double bill that brings to life both lingering memories and lessons from the past.
Grab your tickets for the performance on May 16-17 at to www.gpac.org.au/stardust-and-ophelia-offer.
Stardust & The Mission will also visit Ballarat Mechanics Institute on May 25, Ararat Town Hall on July 26, Colac Otway Performing Arts & Cultural Centre (COPACC) on July 27, and Warrnambool’s Lighthouse Theatre on August 10.