Living The Dream

I’ve just finished appearing in a production of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ as Lady Egeus, Hermia’s mother. (Yes, yes, it’s supposed to be Lord Egeus, Hermia’s father but men are scarce in amateur community theatre.)

I’m part of a small theatre company called Theatre of the Winged Unicorn. It’s unique. And I’m not just talking about the name. It’s unique because it’s not just about the acting. It’s unique because it’s not about the stars of the show or the glitz and the glamour. It’s unique because it’s about community. And it’s about family.

It says something when you’ll happily accept a part that has only thirty lines and appears for a mere half an hour of total stage time just so you can be involved.


The “Crap-All Lines Club”. We spent a lot of time laughing and eating snacks.

It says something when you’ll happily accept extra roles behind the scenes like “Box Office” or “Fairy Wrangler” because being part of a family is about supporting one another.

Box Office

The “Box Office”

It says something when you’re sad that the show is over not because your stage role has come to an end but because your time hanging out with a great bunch of people has come to an end.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Photo courtesy of S. Thorne

It says something when more often than not, the people you meet for the first time in a play become your friends for life.


Two of my besties

I’m no great acting talent and I have no ambitions of fame and fortune. What I do dream of doing is joining with others I like and respect to create something beautiful, funny, tragic, mysterious or magical.

It’s more than just one midsummer night’s dream.

It’s a lifetime of living the dream.

Midsummer Family

A Midsummer Family

A post in reverse response to the Daily Post’s prompt “Dream”. Reverse because I actually thought of this post (title included) hours before the Daily Post posted its prompt. Figured I’d better write it then.



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Pecan Pie!!!

Okay, so maybe I’m inclined to pursue a joke a bit too far….

A couple of weeks ago, I published a post about my love of the movie When Harry Met Sally and my absolute delight in stumbling across filming locations for the movie in New York City. Much of my excitement lay in suddenly finding myself in the place in which my favourite scene – the Pecan Pie scene – was filmed.

This post led my blogging friend Barbara Pyett to post a recipe of Pecan Pie (partly for my benefit). This in turn led me to make said Pecan Pie for a family dinner this evening.

Pecan Pie

And yes, there were silly voices around the table. (Actually, I told them they couldn’t eat it until they’d said “pecaaaaan piiiiiieeeee”. Possibly cruel but hilariously funny.)

Pecan Pie Slice

So, in turn, here is another post about Pecan Pie. Because it’s funny. And also delicious. (Thanks, Barbara.)

But wait. There’s more. (And it’s not steak knives.)

I’ve just finished appearing in a production of Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona. I played Panthina, servant to Proteus’ mother Antonia.

And all the Shakespeare scholars out there are suddenly scratching their heads and thinking, “No, that’s not right. It’s Proteus’ father Antonio who is in the play. And he has a manservant called Panthino.”

Yes, well, let me tell you about non-professional theatre. Men are hard to find. And our little theatre company believes it is better to gender-flip a role and put in a great female actor than put in a terrible male one. (Not that I’m a great female actor. I just happened to be handy.)


Panthina was only in the first half of the play. In the second half I got to play an Outlaw, along with a couple of those great female actors I was telling you about.


Such a frightening rabble.

(Don’t you just love those bearded beanies?!?)

One of my fellow outlaws is another big When Harry Met Sally fan and after my post, there was some hilarity out the back as we replayed our favourite scenes while waiting to go back on stage.

Then things got a little more out of hand.

At one point in the play, we had to run along the outside of the hall in which we were performing making a racket as if we were chasing someone through the woods. One night, my fellow WHMS fan decided she would shout “Waiter, waiter” the whole way. It didn’t really matter. No one in the audience ever had the faintest clue what we were “hallowing” about anyway.

Well, that just seemed like a bit too much fun to me so the next performance, I proceeded to shout “PEEECAAAN PIIIEEEE!” as we ran, trying not to fall over laughing.

I believe on the last night of the play, we not only repeated these phrases but threw in a “I’ll have what she’s having” while we were at it.

Way too much fun from one little scene.

Pecan pie. I love it. In sooo many ways.

Have you ever threaded a favourite movie scene into your life in some way?



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To Have Or Not To Have

Is it acceptable, do you think, to ‘inherit’ something before the person who owns it has gone?

It’s probably a bit late to be asking that question, given I inherited my mother’s piano some years ago and she is still with us (see here).

Following the death of my father recently, my mother, in trying to accept this new reality, is trying to simplify her life. I think I would be the same.

So, as a result, she has told us to take whatever items we have always wanted now rather than wait until she is also gone.

It’s awkward. And uncomfortable. And upsetting. But understandable.

The piano was different. I could not live in a house without one. As the only child to learn the piano, it was a given that The Piano would come to me. But when would that ultimately be? I couldn’t wait. It was inherit early or buy a different piano.

I was lucky and my mother understood what The Piano meant to me and allowed me to take it when I left home. And every time I see it, play it, I love the connection to the past it gives me. An impersonal purchase from a piano store would never have been the same.

But raiding the house for everything I might want? Not in my make-up. When we packed up my grandfather’s house when he went into care, while my siblings took away books, furniture and knickknacks, I helped wrap up my grandmother’s glassware for my mother. And left with the toaster (ours had just died).

I am sure the same would occur now except that there is one item (other than the piano) that I have coveted my whole life (well, ever since I knew of its existence). And so, when my mother said I could take it, I did.


It is a red leather-bound set of the works of William Shakespeare. It was given to one Henrietta Pierce, as a farewell gift from her students when she left The Friends (Quakers) School in Hobart, Tasmania in 1897.






It includes a letter from the school. And this is what I love most about it. The set is beautiful and wonderful but it is the personal aspect of the letter that makes it so precious to me.




Henrietta was, we think, the sister of my grandmother’s Aunt Margaret with whom my grandmother was sent to live when she was eight years old. As there seems to be no mention of Pierces in the family history we have, Aunt Margaret was perhaps an ‘adopted aunt’.

My grandmother never went back home. Aunt Margaret insisted that she must have an invitation to return and it was never forthcoming.

How did my mother come to have the books? She remembers being taken to the Quakers’ Meeting House in Melbourne where the service went for two hours. To keep a then four-year-old quiet, my mother was given a stack of books to read. Books were always important and she was always given one whenever they went to the meeting house.

Henrietta and Margaret lived together near the Hawthorn railway station. They obviously knew of my mother’s love of books and consequently gave her a number of their own, including the set of Shakespeare, whenever she came to visit.

This set is unbelievably precious and important to me, well beyond its value as a set of books. It is a strong part of my history, a strong part of who both my grandmother and mother were/are as women and I feel blessed and privileged to be given this link to our family history.




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