“Are you related to one of the cast?”, I was asked by one of the women on the door, handing out tickets for the ANU student production of “The History Boys”. “No, I’m just in town for the week and looking for nice things to do, and this seems like fun”, I told her. On top of that, “The History Boys” is a wonderful play and film, and so when I saw it listed on Eventbrite as playing this week in Canberra, I bought a ticket straight away.
For a moment, I thought I might have been one of only a handful of people in the audience. Thankfully, the risk of more people being on stage than in the audience,soon disappeared with a last minute rush of 20-somethings. Of course I was old enough to be their father, and so that explains why I was asked the question, as literally the only person in the room over the age of twenty five.
With all student productions there’s a bit of clunkiness, but I thought this production was very good, and how appropriate to have a cast and audience so close in age to the characters being portrayed.
So yes, I’ve been in Canberra for the week. Or more precisely, I’m on the bus heading back to Sydney. I’m working out of Canberra on and off for the next month or so, combining my existing job with managing the ABC’s local radio station here, ABC Radio Canberra, while my colleague, Andrea takes some leave.
I actually worked here in the 1990s, and it’s nice to be back. Unlike many people who bemoan Canberra as “cold, lifeless etc”, I really like Canberra. To me it has many of the strengths of a country town (sense of community, ease of getting around, I had to go to the Indian Visa Centre this week which was closeby for example), but it also has some of the strengths of being a capital city, with good restaurants, bars, and, of course theatre. Canberra is also about to get light-rail which is terrific, though it does mean my hope of getting out of Surry Hills for a few weeks to avoid the construction site has come to nought.
Twice this week I’ve eaten out at Red Chilli, the chain of restaurants I best know from Sydney. Excellent food.
I’ve also spent a fair bit of time in the breakfast and dinner bars at the hotel I’ve been staying at. Oh my goodness, there are so many middle aged men single men in a similar position. Sales people, I guess. Lobbyists, too, I suppose. “And do they all have white Commodore’s?”, a colleague asked me this morning with a laugh.
Though the hotel I’ve been staying has been nice, and extremely close to work, I’m looking for somewhere next week where I can do a little of my own cooking, or at least have a microwave where I can heat things up. I’m also conscious of the need to get out and about a little more. Being in air conditioning all day, and then at night, I’ve developed a bit of an air-con rash. And so next week, I’ll be catching up with a former colleague who works here now, and hoping to pop down to the swimming pool, as part of my out-of-hours activity schedule.
Any other Canberra tips would be greatly appreciated.