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‘Flare Path’, by Terence Rattigan
27/09/2014 @ 8:00 pm - 04/10/2014 @ 2:00 pm$16 – $25
Ballarat National Theatre presents “Flare Path” at the Courthouse Theatre
“My God, we do owe these boys something, you know.”
A tribute to the collective spirit of wartime bomber crews and their partners, Flare Path, draws heavily on Rattigan’s own experience as a tail gunner in the RAF coastal command during WW11. Working on the draft in 1941 whilst in active duty in West Africa, he managed to save the incomplete manuscript when his plane was damaged in combat and the crew ordered to jettison excess weight. Rattigan was released from the service to help rewrite it as a film screenplay (which eventually appeared as The Way to the Stars in 1945). It is a deeply moving portrait of people at war. A prolific playwright, Rattigan was knighted in 1971 for services to the theatre, being only the fourth playwright to be knighted in the 20th century.
Set during WW2 in the lounge of a hotel frequented by the pilots and crew of a nearby Air Force base, we observe three married couples. It is here where the wives of the pilots come to spend some brief, precious time with their husbands and it is here where lips worn stiff and tension is relieved by banter and alcohol. But there’s also an unexpected extra guest, Peter Kyle, played by Bob Thurman.
Newly wed couple, Flight-Lieutenant Teddy Graham and Patricia Graham are played by Michael Zala and Liz Hardiman. Patricia, an actress from London, has something to tell her new husband Teddy, who is a bomber pilot. Michael Moore, as Teddy’s rear-gunner Miller, is a cheerful Cockney ex-bus driver and is awaiting the arrival of Katrina Hill as his hardworking and perplexed wife, Maudie. Linda Ogier as Doris, a former bar-maid waits for her husband Trevor Day as Count Skriczevinsky, a Polish pilot serving with the RAF.
Director Julian Oldfield directs this exhilarating story of loyalty, love and moral choices set against the background of a nearby RAF airbase and its illuminated runway, the flare path.
Cast in alphabetical order: Harrison Baker, Jeanette Baxter, Liz Hardiman, Katrina Hill, Martin McGettigan, Michael Moore, Linda Ogier, Bob Thurman & Michael Zala