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The Lieder Theatre Company

presents

NED KELLY

 Original script Anthony Young

Adapted by John Spicer

Directed by Chrisjohn Hancock

 

 

 

 

 

10 –27 June 2009

 

 

NED KELLY

 

The original play ‘Ned Kelly’ was written in 2006-2007, when I was a member of ‘A Community Theatre’, based in Mareeba, Far North Queensland. Using many sources, I tried to stay true to the Kelly history, uniquely incorporating Ned’s own words from the Jerilderie Letter, court proceedings and prison letters. While there were many necessary deviations from actual events, I aimed to capture the essence of Ned: to take off his armour and reveal the man beneath. The script received valuable constructive criticism from Queensland playwright Ken Cotterill, as well as wife Julie Harris and comrade Anthony Rosendale. ‘Ned Kelly’ was performed six times between the 17th of August and the 15th of September 2007, at Tolga, Mareeba, Kuranda and Julatten. I am currently working on my second full-length play.

 Anthony Young

 

 

NED KELLY hero or villain? THE POLICE, heroes or villains? For over a century the argument has lasted with descendants of migrants from the Emerald Isle usually strongly “for” and staunch upholders of law and order, “against”. As with most debates, there is no real black and white but some quite strong grey areas, particularly in the early stages of Ned’s development. It seems likely that Ned,  and indeed most of the Kellys were initially tempted into petty crime by poverty and even mere youthful daring, which today would have earned a mere slap on the wrist, but in the days when youth was no excuse, a prison sentence was mandatory. And, invariably, from then on the die was cast and The Law was watching every slip – which, out of desperation, became more and more drastic, culminating in murder. For there is no doubt that Ned Kelly was a murderer and certainly no Robin Hood, robbing the rich to give to the poor. He could be more rightly compared to Jesse James, who launched into crime in a similar way and ended up with a violent death – by bullet compared to rope. As for the police, I think it unfair to label them all as merciless villains. Some of them were family men with wives and children who must have had some of the milk of kindness and fair play, allowing for the toughness and brutality of the laws over a century ago. I think the more interesting question is, if Kelly had lived today in our Welfare State, with his natural intelligence (except for leaving his legs unguarded!) his oratory and charismatic leadership qualities, would he have become a national figure on the right side of the law? Or would he have obstinately spurned all advantages and formed his own bikie gang?

John Spicer

 

 

In Australian folklore, Ned Kelly stands head and shoulders above his nearest competitors:  Phar Lap could run and Bradman could bat, but Kelly changed the way we live.  Even within the replete annals of Australian bushranging, among names like Captain Thunderbolt and Mad Dog Morgan, Kelly lifts the bar of defiance as he rages against perceived prejudices ranged around him.  His lowly birth could not auger his later command of men and beasts; his early days of roving boldly and freely are in stark contrast to the condemned man awaiting death in a clammy Melbourne Gaol cell.

 

Apologists for Kelly may sometimes have us believe he lived a blameless life.  Based on what the man said about himself, this is not true.  Non-apologists refer simply to the facts on the ground:  that he shot three troopers and eventually got what was coming to him.  In some respects, what was wrong and what was right do not matter some 127 years after his execution.  What really matters is that the name Ned Kelly resonates today and goes some way to defining how Australians see themselves.

 

What is it about Ned that gives him voice across generations?  Was it just the armour, that most emphatic symbol of colonial defiance?  If we accept that, we consign to oblivion the twenty five years he lived without it, we disregard what made him what he was, and we put undue influence on the very encumbrance that brought him at last to justice.  Was it his gameness, the spirit of mateship that made him turn back to save his friends against a host of armed police?  It is true that even today a brave feat is acclaimed with “As game as Ned Kelly!”  The armour, the gameness, the flashness are all systematic of the same thing:  Kelly’s vision for a happier future, for a country without prejudice, for that quality above all others in Australian esteem: a fair go.

Anthony Young

Cast

Ned Kelly

 

Matt Kay

Dan Kelly

 

Gosh Waters

Ellen Kelly

 

Muffy Hedges

Kate Kelly

 

Anne Gaul

 

 

 

Joe Byrne

 

Victor Moore

Steve Hart

 

Shane Daly

Aaron Sherritt

 

Matthew Doherty

 

 

 

Superintendent Hare

 

Brian Richardson

Const. Fitzpatrick

 

Martin Sanders

Sergeant Kennedy

 

Brian Hill

Const. McIntyre

 

David Rayner

 

 

 

Tom Curnow

 

Bruce Gerard

 

 

 

Judge Redmond Barry

 

Greg Seckold

Tommy

 

Linden Fennamore

 

 

 

 

The action of the play takes place between the Kelly Hut, the local police station, Stringybark Creek and Glenrowan Hotel between 1878 and 1880

 

 

 

Production

Director/ designer

 

Chrisjohn Hancock

Stage manager

 

Greg Seckold

Set construction

 

John Knops, Colin Simson, Joshua Waters, Craig Daly

Scenic Artist

 

Michael Byrt

Wardrobe coordinator

 

Pauline J Mullen

Assisted by

 

Julianne Sarah

Ned’s armour

 

Bill Wilson, Bill Dorman

Lighting operator

 

Jody Simpson

Music coordinator

 

Peter McLaren

Sound operator

 

Ceilidh Newbury

Props & weapons

 

Brian Richardson

Rehearsal prompts

 

Michelle McAleer, Josophine Dorman

Tickets

 

Doreen Mullen

Front of House Manager

 

Lee Gray

Newsletter editor

 

Greg Seckold

 

 

 

The Lieder would like to thank

Michael Connolly Chemist for taking advance bookings, and all those who have loaned costumes, props and assisted on this production.

 

 

 

 

Ned Kelly was hanged at Melbourne Jail on November 11, 1880, for the murder of a Victorian policeman. He was twenty-five years old. He killed three police, including a sergeant, and wounded one, a superintendent. He captured two towns, robbed two banks and was the terror of the Australian colonies for nearly two years. He was an outlaw “fearless, free and bold,” he boasted, “…worse than the rust in the wheat in Victoria (and) the grasshoppers in NSW…”

 

Even in his own brief lifetime, many Australians forgave Ned Kelly. In an age when executions were comparatively commonplace, 60,000 Victorians signed a petition that his death sentence should be commuted. Police and other witnesses told a Royal Commission into the “Kelly Outbreak” that Ned Kelly and men like him had not been given a fair go.

 

Generations of Australians since have made amends. Today much of north-eastern Victoria is proud to be called “Kelly Country” and, if not all Australians remember Ned Kelly so well, and with such affection, they all know his name. Even his sternest critics respect his physical strength and endurance. Condemning his crimes, they concede he had courage, that he was “game”. Ned Kelly would have liked that.

 

He was born at Beveridge, twenty-four miles from Melbourne in June 1855, the third child, first son of John and Ellen Kelly. Both his parents were Irish.

 

In his early teens, Ned Kelly was recognized as one of the best horsemen in north-eastern Victoria. He was also a crack shot and more than a match for most grown men in a brawl. Contemptuous of authority, unruly, defiant, insistent in his demands for equal justice, and was spoiling for a fight.

 

In 1869, when he was fourteen, he was charged with robbery with violence. The charge was dismissed, but a year later he was charged with robbery under arms as the “boy bushranger” who was bushranger Harry Power’s accomplice and apprentice. Freed because of lack of evidence a few days after his fifteenth birthday, Ned railed against police persecution, and boasted he knew the bush so well he could have escaped the hated “traps” blindfolded if needs be.

 

A few months later in 1870, he was in Beechworth Jail serving a six-month sentence for assault and indecent behaviour…

 

… Ned Kelly’s head was cut off after his execution and shaved and oiled for closer inspection. A death mask was made and the skull stripped of its flesh and kept, more or less as a paperweight, by a petty State Government official. The headless body was buried in an unmarked grave in the condemned criminals’ section of the Old Melbourne Jail. Folklore has it that the initials E.K. always reappeared on the section of the jail wall near the grave, no matter how often the authorities removed them…

 

Taken from A Pictorial History of Bushrangers by Tom Prior, Bill Wannan, H. Nunn

THE CAST

 

Matt Kay – Edward (Ned) Kelly

Matt was last on the Lieder stage earlier this year in the return season of our popular comedy Ladies Night which also happened to be our end of year show in 2008. He joined the Lieder in 2005 to perform in Treasure Island and since then he has taken to the stage in our 2006 production of The Tempest and last year he took on three Shakespearian roles in our mid-winter production of Macbeth. Matt remembers his first theatrical experience was when he was in year 6 as a drunken hobo on a park bench, and then in year 10 in You Never Heard Such Unearthly Laughter. Last year he spent time as a roadie for Cirque du Soleil’s touring production of Dralion, and in his spare time Matt’s hobbies include martial arts, darts and basketball.

 

Muffy Hedges – Ellen Kelly

Muffy first ventured on stage when she was in the Brownies in 1967 to play an Indian princess. In 1978 she performed at the Lieder in a Goulburn College of Advanced Education production of A Funny Happened on the Way to the Forum and in 1982 worked with Chrisjohn on the Lieder’s Christmas production of Old King Cole. She continued to perform at the Lieder under the direction of John Spicer throughout the 80s and 90s. For Chrisjohn Muffy performed in Footrot Flats, Away, Dinkum Assorted, Mr A’s Amazing Maze Plays, Indians, Red Riding Hood, Wind in the Willows, Pinocchio and Dancing at Lughnasa In 2002 she was the musical director for Habeas Corpus. She is an active orchestra member and musician around Goulburn and during the day teaches at North Goulburn School.

 

Anne Gaul – Kate Kelly

Anne studied drama at Goulburn High School. Her first time on stage was in a year 3 production of Annie, but in 2000 she performed on stilts in the Sydney Olympic opening ceremony. She enjoys singing in choirs and has played flute in the orchestra for Argyle Society performances. Anne is currently undertaking a Diploma of Economics (Accounting). Her role as young Dibs in our 2005 production of Inheritance was her first play with the Lieder. Anne has also attended acrobatic and drama classes at the Lieder. She was last on the Lieder stage in Pocket Full of Knives and before that as Ewe number 3 in our 2007 Christmas production of Footrot Flats. Anne has just been cast in the Lieder’s upcoming production of Quandary written by Judith Boyd and directed by Cat Wilson.

 

Joshua Waters – Dan Kelly

In 2008 at the Lieder Joshua performed in Firesong, Macbeth, the opening of the Archibald Exhibition, Pocket Full of Knives, The Ballad of Mary Ann Brownlow, Cinderella and Ladies Night. Previously he has performed roles in Equus and Hating Alison Ashley directed by Judith Boyd,  Aladdin directed by Stan Henderson, Footrot Flats, The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Tempest, Picasso’s The Four Little Girls, Away, Babes in the Wood, Treasure Island, Aladdin, Dead One Done, Cop This, and Inheritance. He completed a mentorship at the Lieder in 2005, performed in Fireface and assisted in organising Exchange & Change - the 2nd Gathering of Regional Youth Theatre People highlighted with an Acrobatic Fire Show.  Gosh has been performing in our acrobatic Fire Shows since 2004 and was last seen manipulating fire for the ASRF Street Rod Nationals at Easter in Belmore Park.

 

Victor Moore – Joe Byrne

Victor was first seen on the Lieder stage in our production of Cinderella last October playing the Prince and then performed with fire for our Acrobatic Fire Show at this year’s Blues Festival in Belmore Park. Previously he has performed with the Argyle Society in Pirates of Penzance and Kiss Me Kate and in school productions including Out of Luck, and eisteddfods. Victor’s hobbies include playing bass guitar and waterskiing. When he completes year 12 at Mulwaree High this year he hopes to travel and get into cinematography or even aid work. Victor feels for his character of Joe Byrne who was shot, of all the places, in the groin. His research has also uncovered that Joe’s dad was a Goulburn local and his parents were married in St Peter and Paul’s church.

 

Shane Daly – Steve Hart

Shane began at the Lieder attending Judith Boyd’s after school drama classes on Friday afternoons and helping out front of house for our production of Inheritance. Last year he performed in Noises Off and Macbeth. He has assisted backstage for our youth theatre’s spectacular fire manipulation shows, stage managed and performed in Equus, stage managed The Cripple of Inishmaan and operated sound for our 2007 Christmas production of Footrot Flats. Steve Hart was an excellent horseman who showed off any chance he could. Shane is a little similar and we regret not being able to show you his horsemanship onstage tonight.

 

Matthew Doherty – Aaron Sherritt

Matthew became involved in the Lieder when he began after school drama classes with Judith Boyd three years ago. He has just completed his year 12 at Trinity last year with drama as one of his subjects, and is now planning to study secondary teaching at UWS. Matthew has competed in eisteddfods, performed in Judith Boyd’s 2008 production of Equus and a short film made at Kenmore hospital called Patients.

 

Brian Richardson – Superintendent Hare

 

Martin Sanders – Constable Fitzpatrick

Martin first trod the boards in 3rd class, performing for a retirement home. Since he has been at the Lieder Martin has played in Ladies Night, The Ballad of Mary Ann Brownlow, Table Manners, Macbeth, Footrot Flats, The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Round and Round the Garden, The Tempest, Treasure Island, Shatterproof, Oliver Twist, Blackrock, Babes in the Wood, The Removalists, Forks’n All, Pinocchio, La Dispute, Dracula and John Spicer’s production of Hamlet. Martin is a builder and assists with maintenance and repairs to our Theatre, his hobbies include reading, jewellery and horses.

 

Brian Hill – Sergeant Kennedy

Brian returned to Goulburn in 2003 after a long absence living in Sydney and immediately became involved in the Company’s work assisting on the production of A Month of Sundays and Forks’n All. Since then he has performed in The Tempest, Treasure Island, Inheritance, Babes in the Wood, Old Time Music Hall, The Ballad of Mary Ann Brownlow, Macbeth, Aladdin, Cinderella, and most recently Ladies Night . In our foyer theoretic he has performed in Fireface and The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth. Brian works at the Goulburn Post and assists with the promotion of Lieder shows.

 

David Rayner – Constable McIntyre

David made his debut on stage at the age of nine in the Rockhampton Little Theatre’s Wizard of Oz. He subsequently appeared on the small screen (briefly) with the crew from Aunty Jack in the ABC’s Flash Nick from Jindavick. For the Argyle Society David has appeared in Godspell, The Grand Duke, La Belle Helene, and co-wrote and directed Who Murdered Lenny the Louse. For the Lieder David has performed in Old Time Music Hall directed by Stan Henderson, Round and Round the Garden, Equus, Table Manners directed by Judith Boyd, Away, Forks’n All (a feast for peace), The Ballad of Mary Ann Brownlow, The Memory of Water, Footrot Flats, Noises Off, Macbeth, and Ladies Night. He is currently on the Lieder Board of Management.

 

Bruce Gerard – Tom Curnow

Bruce was last seen on stage at the Lieder in Macbeth and before that in 2008 in Noises Off. For Judith Boyd he has performed in Equus in 2007. Bruce has also performed in Habeas Corpus, La Dispute, Under Milkwood, Inheritance directed by Chrisjohn Hancock, Humpty Dumpty and A Month of Sunday directed Stan Henderson, and Hamlet directed by John Spicer. For the Argyle Society Bruce has performed in The Merry Widow, Trial by Jury, Sweethearts, and Pirates of Penzance.

Greg Seckold – Judge Barry

Greg started performing in his early years as a magician with appearances in shopping malls and on children’s TV shows, and has performed with the Carlingford Players Musical Society in the late 70s and 80s. He first appeared on the Lieder stage in The Odd Couple (female version) directed by Judith Boyd in 2005 and since then has performed in The Tempest, The Memory of Water, Round and Round the Garden, Footrot Flats, Equus, Table Manners, Cinderella and Ladies Night. He has operated lights for The Cripple of Inishmaan and The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth. Greg edits our Lieder Newsletter.

 

Linden Fennamore – Tommy

The very first play Linden saw was at the Lieder in 1996. It was Humpty Dumpty. In 2003 at the age of eight he began after school drama classes and is still attending now with tutor Michelle McAleer every Friday afternoon. Linden is an enthusiastic performer and is regularly seen clowning with the Lieder at street carnivals and parades. Last year he competed in Goulburn’s Got Talent. So far at the theatre he has performed in Forks’n All (a feast for peace) Aladdin, Cinderella, and Macbeth. With the Youth Theatre he has performed in Pocket Full of Knives, Line Dancing on Stilts setting a world record, and acrobatic fire shows for the last two years. He is currently rehearsing The Colour Play and preparing to tour it in August.

Chrisjohn Hancock – Director

Chrisjohn has been Artistic Director of the Lieder Theatre Company since 1992. He has directed over sixty productions during that time including The Tempest, Footrot Flats, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Noises Off, Macbeth, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Inheritance, Away, Peter Pan, Steel Magnolias, Money and Friends, Dinkum Assorted, Hotel Sorrento, Wind in the Willows, Lord of the Flies, Dancing at Lughnasa, Cosi, Under Milk Wood, Blackrock, Grimm Tales, The Removalists, La Dispute, The Lesson, Skirmishes, Indians and Waiting for Godot. For the Lieder Youth Theatre Company he has directed, tufff..., The Happy Prince, Rolly's Grave, Hot Chips and Gravy at the Blackhole Cafe, G’Day Mate, Hot Air, The Vision of Delight, 2 Friendly 4 Words, Dead One Done, Ubu, The Four Little Girls and Pocket Full of Knives.