Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Darlinghurst Blog: Art and Culture: Stables Theatre

It's Tuesday night, a month out from winter and darkness falls quickly on Darlinghurst, bringing with it a biting cold air.
My feet move fast as I walk through the night, hands dug into pockets, head wrapped in the warmth of a woollen hat, I turn the corner into Nimrod Street and just 112 steps from my home (I counted them), I arrive at the door of the Stables Theatre.
This is what I love about living in Darlinghurst: 112 steps to a theatre, 153 to a bottle shop and a neat 200 to the closest pub.
Even so, there are very few people or events that could lure me into a theatre or a cinema, as I simply can't sit still for prolonged periods of time.
Tim Rogers, acting in a show, 112 steps from home, is one of them.

It was my gal-pal Ruby Molteno's plan to go to the theatre, really. 
I can't take credit for such grand plans. The only plans I was thinking, was that it was so close to home, I could surely wear my pyjamas. 

But I dressed like a normal person. 
We bought a glass of wine each from the bar and then stood near the door sipping from our drinks while I quickly read up on what the play was all about.

I had to be careful not to cross this yellow dotted line at the theatre's doorway - or face the wrath of liquor licensing laws - as I read through the theatre flier for The Story of Mary MacLane By Herself, starring Bojana Novakovic and Mr Rogers:

"Promiscuous prophet or philandering fool? Mary MacLane is a woman you’d be mad not to meet.
"More than 100 years ago, The Story of Mary MacLane set America aflame. 
"A shocking confessional from a 19-year-old girl who refused to succumb to the corset-bound prudery of her age, Mary’s scandalous memoir broke all the rules – and sold over 100,000 copies.
"Today, Ride On Theatre’s Bojana Novakovic and Tanya Goldberg bring Mary’s writings to the stage in a bold and magical ‘monologue for two’ backed with original music composed and performed by You Am I frontman Tim Rogers.
"The Story of Mary MacLane by Herself will whirl you through a kaleidoscopic tale of the greatest genius you’ve never heard of, defy you to look deep within and dare you to dance with the devil.
"WARNINGS: This production contains the use of a hazer and a herbal cigarette."

I liked the sound of Mary MacLane.
Any woman who writes scandalous memoirs has always appealed to me.

Just before 7pm, the woman who was working the bar stood up on a chair, invited everyone into the theatre and there was a rush for the entrance as all tickets are general admission: first in, best seated.

Ruby and I found a seat about three rows back from the stage. 
Even if you find yourself in the back row, it doesn't matter: the theatre seats just over 100 people, making for an intimate theatre experience.

There was a lot of noise as people found seats and then the music - two minstrels playing a double bass and a violin - started up and Tim Rogers and Bojana Novakovic appeared.
I don't have any pictures of anyone as there is no photography allowed.
Novakovic, dressed in cream silk pantaloons and camisole, was Mary MacLane who, I discovered, was a Victorian-era Anais Nin or Djuna Barnes with a fixation on the devil.
She reminded me very much of my teenage self, without the satanic obsession, and as such was quite an indulgent, immature character; slightly irritating.
Rogers was the star for Ruby and I, as he swaggered about on stage in a large top hat and waistcoat - a 19th-century vaudevillian-style showman, whose musical interludes kept the pace of the show moving.
After it was over, the audience clapped, the performers bowed, and I walked the 112 steps to home.

The Story of Mary MacLane By Herself
Until 12 May
SBW Stables Theatre
10 Nimrod Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
02 9361 3817
I would have loved to have written about the history of this old building, which was presumably a stables many years ago, but could find absolutely nothing during my armchair research.
If you know any interesting historical facts about the building, please let me know.


Anonymous said...

I believe they were the stables for Craigend Villa. I have a copy of an old map numbered Sheet 14 which shows Nimrod St named Darling St and Caldwell St called Darlinghurst St

further information should be available through City of Sydney historical records or Mitchell Library, as Craigend was built and designed by Mitchell.

Arnold. said...

Is picture no. 3 the famous celebrity Ms V T ?

Violet Tingle said...

No, Arnold. That's the bar-maid!

@nampix said...

U shoulda worn PJs , I see guys in their pjs and dressing gowns in Coles at 9pm shuffling about in their slippers. I wish I could wear my spongebob squarepants pjs everywhere . Makes me feel like a superhero but yellow and comfortable