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The Carer

A comedy by Alan Hopgood

Kucom Theatre is delighted to announce that we have secured the performing rights for Alan Hopgood’s comedy, The Carer. 

Described by the Melbourne Age as ‘A remarkable theatrical exploration of an issue that intimately affects all modern families’, this one-man play has been highly praised for its sensitive treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and its warmth and humour.  It is about a husband’s grief for his wife who has recently died after he has cared for her while she deteriorated with Alzheimer’s Disease.

One of Australia’s leading playwrights, Hopgood celebrates loyalty, humour, mateship and honour in this remarkable play. Originally starring Australian acting icon Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell, who toured with it for a number of years, The Carer is coming to Kucom Theatre in November.

Jointly directed by Maureen Coleman and Heather MacTavish and featuring Jim Kelly, The Carer is a warm and funny play that deals with issues of love, modern families, and how we face the future. The message is universal and one that will be familiar to us all.

Kelly’s character in the play, George Parker, has recently lost his wife to Alzheimer’s. He has taken early retirement to care for her, and we now see him adjust to his new way of life. It is funny, touching and very real.

Alan Hopgood has written several other successful plays as well as his book Surviving Prostate Cancer – One Man’s Journey, which was published to wide acclaim. It is Hopgood’s ability to write truthful and uniquely Australian stories of laughter, life and love that will lead audiences to be touched by The Carer.

Alan Hopgood is well known as a playwright, screenwriter, documentary writer and as an actor.  Television viewers will remember him as ‘Dr Reed’ in Bellbird as well as the popular character ‘Wally’ in Prisoner and ‘Jack Lassiter’ in Neighbours.

In 1996, Hopgood’s personal story Surviving Prostate Cancer - One Man’s Journey was published. As a result, he was invited to address many conferences, men’s health nights, Rotary groups and forums. He wrote a heart-warming comedy about men’s health, intimacy and cancer, For Better, For Worse, with which he has since toured regional Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. The video of the play is screened regularly by the Cancer Council of Victoria in conjunction with Information Nights.

Hopgood has written several other plays on health themes - two plays about diabetes – A Pill, A Pump and a Needle about women with diabetes and Six Degrees of Diabetes about men. Both plays have toured in regional areas of Victoria. In October 2006, he presented two more short plays - Widows or More Than a Dead Man's Wife and Never Too Old - in Melbourne for Seniors Week.

In January 2005, Alan was made a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the performing arts as an actor, playwright and producer and to the community through raising awareness of men’s health issues.

The Carer opens at the Kucom Theatre Playhouse in Shakespeare Street on Friday 28 November, and will run Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights until 13 December.  Bookings can be made through the Mackay Entertainment Centre, phone 4961 9700.

Review

Kucom Theatre’s final production for the 2008 season opened with a bang!  Alan Hopgood’s real life comedy The Carer touches all our lives and is so very topical in content.  The play is crafted in a peerless fashion: each scene offers further glimpse of understanding and empathy; a natural unwinding of the carer’s innermost feelings as he deals with the aftermath of his wife’s passing.  ‘Who cares for the carer when the caring stops?’ he asks.

The audience gains a window into George Parker’s very soul.  This intimacy grows through his naked honesty, his raw dealings with what life has thrown at him.  He addresses the audience directly and although the only speaker, creates a living stage of other actors.

How can one actor create such a wealth of understanding, laughter and sympathy from his audience? Jim Kelly is George Parker.  He is never anyone else.  His passion, frustration, confusion, his on-going role of carer to his children and his own despair, all reflect the natural levels and stages of grieving.  His abundant sense of humour balances and yet emphasises this grief … and so life, perhaps with a chance at happiness, goes on.

The masterful direction of Heather MacTavish and Maureen Coleman is seamless which is imperative for such a production.  The set, costuming, lighting and music all support the actor without intrusion, with subtlety.  The choreography of movement is superb, reinforcing and echoing his tumultuous feelings and reactions to those with whom he is in contact.  His phone technique is finely honed; a tribute to excellent direction and the ability to take such direction.

This is a superb presentation of one of Australia’s most popular plays.  Drama students especially should welcome the opportunity to experience such professionalism on their own doorstep.

Review by: Enid Forsyth, The Midweek, Wednesday 3 December 2008

A message from the playwright

Congratulations, Jim.  You have clearly done me (and yourself) proud.  I hope you are really able to enjoy it now. Not that every night is not still an Everest – but your footing is more sure and you can even risk a look at the view.
Best wishes to all concerned.
I will write more later.  Just finishing touring for the year.
Regards
Alan

 

 

 

     
 

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