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State Focus -

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(generated from captions) This program is captioned live. talk TV program for the ACT as well Welcome to State Focus, our weekly New South Wales. as southern and central Hello its Guy Sweeting. Canberra's taxis. Today: competition for legend 'Simpson and his donkey', Also, fresh relevance of the ANZAC understand depression. And a Canberra play helping to for the Illawarra.

this week Jacki Weaver who has been But first up to our special guest 'Bandstand' and 'Homicide' and a public performer from the days of to 'Picnic at Hanging Rock'. everything from 'Blankety Blanks' about a Canberra Playhouse But she's with us today to talk in one role, but seven. production in June, not only Vengeful Redhead' is a production 'The Blonde, The Brunette and The

tells the story of a crime of especially written for Jacki and it suburban shopping centre. passion that unfolds in a now in the studio. Jacki Weaver joins us Welcome to State Focus. Blonde, The Brunette and The Alright, you've taken this play 'The Thank you Guy.

have to remember how to say that a Vengeful Redhead' - I'm going to few times over - to... Redhead for short. You can call it Vengeful regional centres so far - Right okay - to a lot of exactly where, which ones? it in 52 different venues over 3 Well I've done 260 performances of I've done 5 other plays. years on and off, and in that time you know, and so portable, I can But because it's a one woman show done a lot of places that you keep coming back to it, but I've was very success, it's a lovely reach: I've done Wollongong, that

doing Canberra in June, theatre Wollongong, and I'm first week of June. haven't done Orange - but I've done But I've done a lot of your - I Bathurst and Dubbo and... regional areas... How did you find those I loved it. city areas, to the big regional ...the show travels quite well to centres and to the smaller areas? in the big cities, we've done all Well, I mean it goes equally well for Darwin, I'm hoping for Darwin of the capitals as well now except later this year. they're so welcoming, you know tiny But the country towns are fabulous, 12 and yet you still get a big turn little places with a population of people bringing cakes. out you know, and what the play is all about. Better tell us very quickly Australian story. The play is a really good some of it's very sad, but on the It's about a tragic incident, so amusing, bit like life itself, and other hand some of it's very by 7 characters, one at a time - it's about - and the story is told your head around the story new and just when you think you've got yet another character. information will be delivered by right up to the end. So there are surprises around one character you have to Just as you got your head

move to another one. transformations on stage, because I That's right, and I do the in what's going on and see me like the audience to be complicit fairly simple changes, they aren't change from one character - they're jobs that Max Gilles does. those really sophisticated latex to actually see me go But yeah I like the audience from one to the other. from blondes, Do you get any complaints redheads that... brunettes or especially being fairly treated That they're not actually vengeful? ...that they're not - 'cause I love all of these 7 Well I think all of the characters think they're all treated fairly characters that I play - and I sympathetically. like all of us we've all got our But also warts and all you know, all very interesting types, faults and our virtues, and they're that's the other thing. they're not us they're someone we People identify with them, if know really well. how much longer are you going to be You said the show's pretty portable, and taking it round? packing it up in the bag and I've done a lot touring in the Well now that I've done 52 theatres 100 venues around Australia and I'd last 5 years, it's possible to do

love to get up to 100. stamina, 'cause it is hard work and I don't know if I've got the live: out of a suitcase. it is a really unnatural way to you're surrounded by your family And it's not like a circus where from home and your own be and all the time, you know you're away does take a certain amount of you're in motels all the time so it I will not get homesick. discipline and a mind set: you're playing in June in Canberra, Between now and Canberra, when

though, so you're going to be coming you will have a bit of a break that performance. back fairly fresh for Redhead' since Christmas, and Perth Yes I haven't done 'Vengeful was the last place I did it. getting stuck into it again in So I'm really looking forward to I'll be - 'cause I'm in another Canberra, it'll all be fresh and 'Derrida in love' about the play at the moment in Sydney called philosopher Jacques Derrida, so... can you do at once? How many plays and productions possible to do all that? How is it physically course, sometimes you know, you'll You can only do one at a time of performing another one at night, be rehearsing one in a day and and that's always hard. You've got to be really focused. various other projects But you can do this in between that you might be working on? can't like do a one night stand Well I can only do it in blocks, I play and a one night stand there, here and then go back to another even though it's a one woman show. it's a bit too complicated for that, week or two off here and there? But you might break it up with a I've got the energy to go, Yeah. But I prefer once to keep going for 3, 4 months. going to regional areas as And you wanna keep on well as the capital cities? I hope so. I hope so. regional people are, Apart from how welcoming at the end of the show. they bring me cakes there's nothing like it. Country women's cooking: Sydney Opera house, lamingtons. No you don't get that at the Yes, fantastic. Neenish tarts. Yeah, yeah. thing, are there are other on screen Now aside from theatre and that sort planning in the future? things that you might be pilot later this year for a Well I'm going to do a new television series. series last year, but I'd already there was talk of going into a TV with the one woman play. signed up to do at least 20 venues this live theatre these days. So no I'm pretty much devoted to Yeah, the one on one sort of interaction. But it'd be nice to stay home for a while, 'cause I live in Kings Cross and I haven't spent much time at home for a long time. And contrary to what people think Kings Cross is my village, it may be a bit rough round the edges, but I love it. Alright, well it's lovely to have your here today, and all the very best for June at the Canberra Playhouse, 'The Blonde, The Brunette and The Vengeful Redhead', I remembered it. Well I didn't actually I cheated and it's written over there.

Thanks for coming in today. Thank you very much. Pleasure. Thank you. Aussie actress Jacki Weaver who'll be performing 7 roles in 'The Blonde, The Brunette and The Vengeful Redhead' at The Canberra Playhouse in early June. A hundred thousand dollars is being spent on entertainment for this year's Dubbo show on from May 11 to 13. Organisers are hoping this year's event will be much more successful than last year's show. Dubbo Show Society says the failure of crowd numbers to last year's event is because it was held too close to the Easter holidays. Society members say they've had to increase the emphasis on paid entertainment for the show to keep the crowds rolling in, compared to the agricultural focus in previous years. Still ahead; is catching a cab in Canberra a whole lot easier now there's no longer an ACT taxi monopoly. Well John Simpson Kirkpatrick, who only lived for 22 years, became an ANZAC legend for using a donkey to carry wounded soldiers from the firing line to a makeshift basic medical care centre at ANZAC Cove. He did this while ignoring enemy fire for little more than just three weeks until he was shot dead in 1915. As a permanent reminder of his selfless efforts and his link to mines at Coledale, Corrimal & Mount Kembla, a mural of Simpson and his donkey has been painted at Dapto Ribbonwood Centre by Sam Newstead. She joins us now in our Wollongong studio. Welcome to State Focus. Thank you, it's a pleasure. How did you get involved with the donkey - with Simpson and his donkey mural? I had done a lot of work - a huge mural at the Ribbonwood Centre - about 10 months before, and there was a sideline project with panels that were done by the community and school groups; kindy and such like, and there was a panel that needed to be done by the RSL and so the centre contacted me because they didn't have anyone in the RSL that could actually realise their concept in paint and in a large mural. So that was my job. Yeah and it was painted by you but it was a community effort.

Ah yeah well sort of. I actually - most of my work is a community effort which is lovely - and this one I actually was quite surprise because I thought that the mural was going to be designed by the RSL and I was just going to be the hired hand that was gonna make it work and scale it up. But when I was actually handed their idea it was quite literally a photocopy of a man and a donkey, and someone sitting on the donkey, and that was it. I didn't know who that was, being English, and I was... Yes that was a bit of a challenge for you wasn't it, so you did a bit

of research to find out the significance of the whole thing? I did, I was on a very steep learning after that, became an expert in the matter of a few searches on the internet and so that I could create the design for them And does it mean a lot to the local community because there is some local significance with Simpson and his donkey, as I've mentioned there he worked in mines in the area before he went to fight in the war. I think it's of interest as much to Wollongong as much as it is to the rest of Australia in terms of who he was and what he did, and you know the kind of iconic Australian hero, the unsung hero, which is you know, how Australia best likes to appreciate their heroes. They certainly do, and now you've been involved in a lot of other work in the Illawarra as well, more murals and also some other art work which has involved corrugated iron and all sort of things. Yeah I've been really lucky since I've been in Australia and my work has changed a bit because I was commercial artist, a commercial mural artist when I was overseas, and coming to Australia I've changed my career to be a community artist How long have you been in Australia? Five years. Okay, and do you think you'll stay? Oh yeah. I have tried very hard to stay, and fortunately now I can, so that's good. That's very pleasing. Alright, well we wish you all the very best, and we enjoy your artwork around the streets of Wollongong and we hope we get to see some more. Yes hopefully, thanks. Thanks for having me. Alright thank you very much. That's fine. Wollongong mural artist Sam Newstead joining us in our Illawarra studio. A Bega women's group is releasing an updated version of a state wide

popular booklet they published 3 years ago which explains how apprehended violence orders are supposed to work. It all came about originally in 2004 when women within the group were confused as to what exactly an A.V.O. was supposed to do. That's why they called the booklet 'Just a Piece of Paper' to ensure that's not all it was. To remain relevant to new laws, an updated version is now available from the Southern Women's Group of Bega, funded by the New South Wales

Legal Aid Commission. Well up next; a progress report on breaking the taxi monopoly in Canberra. Back shortly.

In Woodstock, you're watching State Focus. National union boss Greg Combet will speak at the annual Ben Chifley dinner on September 22 in Bathurst. The address is known as The Light on the Hill speech which has previously featured high profile speakers including Gough Whitlam, Thomas Keneally and Gabby Hollows. Still ahead; a wholly Canberra produced play demonstrating how

individuals and their loves ones cope with depression. But now to a progress report on how the Canberra taxi industry is going now there's a competitor on the road. Since the 10th of April, Cabxpress is providing a taxi service as well as Canberra Cabs. Cabxpress is keen to ensure wheelchair travellers are looked after and phone bookings are dealt with promptly. Cabxpress director Les Wassall joins us now. Welcome to State Focus Les.

Welcome. Alright, what's Cabxpress all about? Well our main concern initially was that the wheelchair accessible taxis were not giving the proper service to the disabled community. Canberra is a very large area, it's very spread out, we had 26 wheelchair taxis on the road, but because of the service that we were receiving, up to 50% of those cars either were retired, de-comissioned, or the operator just gave up. They weren't profitable and we were not giving good service. We had an interest in that wheelchair accessible taxi service our self, so a partner and myself we decided that we would open a network, predominantly to give a better service to the wheelchair disable community and it progressed from there that we now have a network which is competitive. Now how many before April 10 - which is when you officially became the

competitor and you were able to operate in the area - how many taxis were there all together, that Canberra Cabs had, roughly, would you know? 256 on the road. Okay now there's Canberra cabs and there's Cabxpress, how many taxis are there? At the moment there's the still the same amount of taxis on the road, the government... Alright so somehow or other a section of the original will come across to you, is that how it works? That's right. All taxis in Canberra are privately owned, Canberra Cabs and our self are a service provider of a booking service, but the actual taxis themselves are owned by individual operators and those operators as small businessmen have a choice to deal with whom ever they like. Okay, and the government's going to sell some more plates later, just explain that. It used to be that in days gone by the Government sold the plates and they were selling for a value of $250,000 to $300,000. The Government ceased that action, now they maintain ownership of the plates and they lease them to operators who wish to join the industry @ And some more will be coming on line, how many more? In May there's 20 more cars coming on the road. Right. So no matter any way you look at it,

anyone catching taxis is going to be better off. I think so. I think you know, a lot of taxi operators and drivers believe that there are enough taxis on the road. But if you look at the figures and the waiting times especially in peak periods - even though peak period traffic is a problem throughout Australia - 20 more plates certainly can't hurt. How long was Canberra cabs the monopoly taxi operator in Canberra? Well over 40 years.

Is that too long? I think so. I think Canberra is a city large enough to support 2 taxi companies, and I think that competition, no matter what industry you're in, is a good thing. And no doubt the fact that we are now in the market, Canberra Cabs will increase their services to compete Alright, well we look forward to that and hopefully it's better out there for everyone as a result. Thanks for coming in. Thank you. That's Les Wassell from new Canberra taxi company Cabxpress. There's been discussion in the Riverina about former Deputy Prime Minister and renowned train buff Tim Fischer's suggestion to call a recently built rail bridge near Wagga after American author Mark Twain. But it's a case of never the Twain shall meet, when it comes to local opinion on the idea. Tim Fischer says the bridge should be named after Mark Twain because he travelled from Sydney to Melbourne and wrote about how much he liked the Wagga area, but a local historian has instead suggested the bridge be dedicated to Australia's service personnel. Well next up:' No Island is a Man', not only a play on words but a Canberra play about how people and those around them cope with depression. Stay with us.

From Warren to Eden, this is State Focus. drought, except to see the interesting relics at the bottom of Lake Eucumbene in a bygone era, that are now surfacing, as the water level drops. As part of the lake now being seen, is the old town of Adaminaby, which is not only of interest to local old timers, but tourists and those who have more recently moved to the area. Heritage orders are being investigated by Snowy River Shire Council, as many locals want the relics to stay put for historical significance, and not be moved, after they emerge from dropping water levels. No Island is a Man, is not only a play on words, but a wholly Canberra produced play about depression as an experience, which involves family and friends, not only the individual. The man who wrote the production is Trevar Allen Chilvers. He joins us along with Michael Miller who played 'Geoff' the father in 'No Island is a Man'. Welcome both to State Focus. First of all to you Trevar, why the play, what's it all about and how did it come about? I guess I started writing the play in the midst of suffering depression myself and being a playwright and kind of looking for a new theme I just started writing. Really it was a particular scene that I was looking for, you know I have this idea for starting a play with a guy breaking up with his girlfriend, and I started with that particular scene and by the end of that ended up in the middle of the play. It was just a really interesting experience figuring out how that was going to come about. I guess I started with a particular idea and I ended up with a 1st draft, and then we workshopped it and it became quite a different thing through that process. Okay. Michael, you play the father Geoff. Now you've been an actor for quite a long time, time me a little about what you've done. Well I started back in school some 40 years ago, and continued then into amateur musicals and amateur theatre, and I've also had a professional career in film, TV, commercials, I do roleplay work. You spend a bit of time in Sydney but you've moved to Canberra a couple of years ago, why the attraction to Canberra? Um, a job really. I was offered a job that I couldn't knock back.

But you've been able to get involved in local productions? Yeah it's taken me 18 months to get there, but it's great to be doing it again I must admit. Okay, Trevar, did writing the play actually help you have an outlet for your depression and in itself be a positive experience? It certainly was therapeutic although I think having - I had a mild case - and I guess it was more the process of producing it or directing over the last few months that has been more therapeutic as I look back as a past experience as opposed to something that's ongoing. I don't think it was as useful while I was actually going through it @ useful while I And to see it from the very outset of writing the play, to a fully fledged production, I'll go to you Michael: is it something that's a

great result to see, a wholly locally written and produced play? Yes it always great to be part of something that has that flavour. One of the companies I belonged to in Sydney did exactly the same thing, very focused on Australian and local stuff. But here in Canberra to catch something that really has that - you know, the local play, the actors, the whole thing and the drive - is terrific. Were you involved in workshopping it when it was being test run, I suppose? No that was before my time. How did that go, Trevar I'll go back to you, and just tell how that went with - when it was out there, when it was written - just giving it a trial run before it went on stage. Yeah well it was essentially - I'm part of Canberra Dramatic - so it was quite easy for me to just set a date and told a whole bunch of actors who I normally work with, that this was when we were going to be workshoppping this particular play. So I turn up on the day and I think there were 10 of them there, I also had a friend from the ACT Playwrights there on that particular night, and we sat down and we read through it and we picked out - as we were reading - we picked out specific scenes that we were going to go over a bit more. And in that process the issues with the first draft became abundantly clear and it was kind of nice to come home with a piece of paper that said I've gotta fix this and I gotta fix this and I gotta fix this. So that in itself was a really interesting process. Let's go to the final product, Michael you're playing the faith Geoff, just a quick run through of the story as you see it.

Well my son, Jesse, is having difficulties but he doesn't express himself brilliantly, which is not unusual - I've got 2 grown up sons and the grunts and the nods - you know it's very hard to pick whether there are issues underlying what's going on, it's just normal behaviour. And I think that's what's happening: he breaks up with his girlfriend, he has a bit of an out with his best mate, he's up and down with his mum and dad, and again, the problem is that everyone seems quite powerless to do anything about it because you know something's wrong but you don't know what, and no stage is there a name given to it. We see Jesse go through a number of ups and downs, some good days and some bad, and the audience is left to look and decide for themselves. But the powerlessness of those around him to do anything was probably the most overwhelming thing. You wanted to reach out, as a person, you really wanted to reach out and do something, but you recognise that without having a name on it, there's not a lot that you can. So we just sort of cruised through the whole play knowing something was wrong but not being able to do a thing about it.

Yeah, we do have to wrap it up, but finally to you Trevar: audience reaction, what's some of the feedback you got afterwards? There were a lot of people saying "You made me cry." Which is an interesting thing... But it was relatable, and something they could... ...but there's certainly a lot of people saying that they related to it well and people who have gone through bouts of depression are saying that, you know, that resonates. We've had people on crew who have said, you know, that resonates with

my own experience as well, and for someone who actually worked through it - worked through the show I mean - to kind of have seen it that many times and still be saying it resonates, it's quite encouraging Well thank you very much for coming in to talk to us about it today. Thank you. Thanks Guy. Thank you. That's Canberra playwright Trevar Allen Chilvers and Michael Miller who played the father 'Geoff' in the play. Well lots to look forward to on the local sporting front this coming week. Round 7 of the N.R.L. begins on Wednesday, which is ANZAC Day, when The Dragons take on The Roosters at Aussie Stadium with kick off at 3pm. Then, the Raiders are away to The Panthers on Saturday with kick off at 5:30pm. Two hours later, in Super 14 rugby union, The Brumbies will be at home to The Crusaders in their round 13 match. Before we go, a reminder to check our new website:

mytalk.com.au, where you can have your say not only about our program, but any local issue. And if you have digital TV, discover our new mytalk channel, an Australian first in what's called datacasting. It has on screen info about your region, and also shows selected highlights of past State Focus programs. Well that's as it happened this week. I'm Guy Sweeting, join us next week for State Focus.

Live captions by Southern Cross Ten, Canberra. We apologise for the temporary loss of captions. Normal service will resume as soon as possible.