04 November 2017
SHAKESPEARE IN THE OTWAYSby MATT CHARLESWORTH
Have you ever been to the Otway National Park Theatre? If you said “yes”, you’re lying; there isn’t one. But, who needs four walls to hold a show anyway… the Skin of Our Teeth productions team certainly don’t. A clearing in the rainforest, the lush lawn of the Otway Fly staged “A Midsummer Nights Dream”, the first performance of a special Shakespeare trilogy in the Otways.
Before thy show, all audience members were invited to an after-hours tour of the Treetop Walk. The highlight came atop the 45-metre tall spiral tower. The huge Mountain Ash trees look impressive from ground zero but being amongst the canopy offered a new perspective altogether. Wandering around the worlds tallest treetop walk was a blast but we couldn’t spend too long, we had to get a good seat for the play.
We lapped up front row seats and enjoyed a modern & comical approach to an archaic classic. In Shakespeare tradition, the story-line was quite alternative to say the least. A tale of love, magic potions, fairies, mistaken identity and even a donkey-headed man. A quirky opportunity for the cast to show off their raw talent. Steven Georgidadis who played both Thesius and Oberon, told me that it took just 6 weeks to perfect the show. Surprising at first, but it wasn’t just any cast, many had both TV and movie credits.
Plastic ponchos under our seats came in handy as a brief drizzle came down. With not even the slightest hesitation the actors continued as planned, even enjoying the chance to slide and roll on the grass. The clouds parted and a beam of sun light poked through the trees. Soon enough, a rainbow fell from the clouds creating a magic backdrop for a magic performance.
“The Tempest” is to be held at the Cape Otway Lightstation on the 4th of November and the grand finale, “Romeo & Juliet” will close at the Otway Estate on the 18th of November. From rainforest, to coast, and then back to the country; the trilogy showcases the ever-changing landscapes. The Wye River and Surrounds were ravaged by the Christmas Day bush fires in 2015. “Shakespeare in the Otways” goes to show just how resilient the local community is; standing up to show their true colours once again.
Beech Forest is a rich area dotted with waterfalls and other hidden gems. We had a peaceful stay at the Otway Tourist Park. The cabin style accommodation is deep in the hinterland region; we explored Triplet Falls, Hopetoun Falls and the Redwood forest before returning home on the Sunday. A fantastic excuse for a weekend in the Otways.