Autistic N!ck performs an in house reading at the Centre for stories to celebrate the release of The Rosie Result a book by Graeme Simsion
FUN FACT It is a 27- minute drive from Joondalup to the Centre for stories in Northbridge
FUN FACT And is a distance of 32.4 K from Joondalup to Northbridge
FUN FACT I am going to be reading a creative piece of my work this coming Wednesday (the 17th April 2019) at the Centre for stories in Northbridge.
FUN FACT I am extremely nervous!!
Lively Northbridge is popular for Perth Cultural Centre, with its cluster of modern art galleries. Hip boutiques and Asian eateries line William Street, where stylish cocktail lounges, upscale clubs and casual backpacker bars fill up through the evening. Built in the 19th century, Russell Square has parkland sculptures and a bandstand, plus eclectic performing arts at the summer Fringe World Festival.
ABOUT THE EVENING
Presented in partnership with Text Publishing and Autism West.
Join us and creative writers from our community for a special event with author Graeme Simsion to celebrate the release of his highly-anticipated conclusion to the beloved Rosie series, The Rosie Result! Celebrate with in-house readings from our creative writers, in-conversation Q&A’s and a book-signing session.
Ticket sales from this event will go towards supporting Autism West. Autism West provides unique opportunities for young people on the Autism spectrum to gain skills and experience, enabling them to connect successfully with others and the world around them.
To find out more about Centre for stories click here
ABOUT GRAEME SIMISON….
Graeme C. Simsion is an Australian author, screenwriter, playwright and data modeller. Prior to becoming an author, Simsion was an information systems consultant, co-authoring the book Data Modelling Essentials, and worked in wine distribution. Check out his website here
A MONTH BEFORE….
Out of the blue I received an email from the CEO of Autism West, Louise Sheehy. She informed me that she had been approached by Graeme Simison to be involved with the launch of the final book in the Rosie Series “The Rosie Result.”
For my part I was asked to do a creative reading for part of the evening to which I agreed.
To find out more about Autism West click here
THE PANIC BEGINS….
The next step was which of my creative pieces would I chose? It ended up with me becoming a judge from a reality TV show (the one who gets booed a lot and receives a lot of social media backlash for his comments/remarks). But I had to be harsh.
I started to question and evaluate my work.
Was this funny?
Was it too dark?
Would people be offended by strong language?
Which subject matters were off bounds?
Round after round and elimination after elimination I whittled it down to four possible pieces.
Then from four to two.
Then the big moment arrived.
Two pieces were left standing, waiting, wishing to be picked, the time had come.
Cue the spot lights, the over dramatic music, the tension building pause
(They do it all the time on reality shows, the presenter starts by saying David and Jane and Frank and Gladys you are the bottom two contestants, the votes have been counted and I can announce that tonight the couple leaving the competition are (wait 5-10 secs). Dramatic music comes into play, And, then they say the name. Cue relief from one couple and tears and despair from another).
Then I selected a piece and began to re edit and make any necessary changes.
THE READ THROUGH….
It was my sister’s suggestion that I read out my selected piece to her and my mum to gage a response from a neutral audience. Basically, they’d point out anything that they felt didn’t work or they didn’t like (constructive family criticism but said with love).
TWO DAYS TO GO….
To say that I am not nervous is an understatement. I feel the dry run has prepared me for the upcoming event and I selected to go second, there’s no way that I am going first!
I am as prepared as I’m ever going to be!
TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT!!!!
It’s 18.45 AWST.
Mandy Orso takes to the stage to introduce me.
The lights are dimmed.
A smoke machine begins to bellow out smoke.
Mandy stares into the audience and begins her speech about me
Nick McAllister grew up within the suburbs of Paris, France.
At 16 he left school to follow his dream of opening a travelling croissant van.
Aged 26 and disillusioned with life selling croissants he travelled to Australia and sought out a new life on the Gold Coast.
Currently Nick is a blogger operating his website www. autisticnick.com and an autism advocate.
Tonight, Nick will be reading a comedy piece inspired after a conversation between him and Dame Maggie Smith during a break on the set of Downton Abbey where he sold her a croissant and a copy of Hello magazine in French.
After everyone has wiped their tears of laughter away with tissues provided by Autism West (at a cost of $1) I take to the stage.
Here is what I read out
A STAGE PLAY
BY NICK MCALLISTER
ANGELA A TALL SLIM WOMAN, WITH A GEOMETRIC HAIRCUT SITS AT A TABLE INSIDE A RESTAURANT.
SEATED OPPOSITE HER IS THE PRODUCER DAN, A TALL THIN
MAN, WITH JUG EARS AND A PROMINENT ADAM’S APPLE.
THE TABLE HAS A BOTTLE OF WATER ON IT AND SOME FLOWERS.
THE RESTAURANT IS PLAINLY DECORATED, WITH
WHITE WALLS AND WHITE MATCHING TABLE CLOTHS.
TWO MENUS’ ARE DISPLAYED IN A WOODEN STAND.
A BOTTLE OF WINE AND A BOTTLE OF BRANDY STAND ON THE TABLE.
A SPOT LIGHT FALLS ONTO ANGELA.
Last week, I had the efficiency of my nerves tested in a hospital Out Patients Department.
I was hooked up to a machine and then had a series of electric shocks administrated to my fingers and arms. After the two-hour ordeal had finished, I swore never again.
I feel much the same way about writing for television. Why do I put myself through it? It always starts out pleasantly enough- it’s usually lunch or dinner in a good restaurant.
The wine is slopped into your glass in great quantities by the producer.
He doesn’t mention the project you’ve just written and he’s just read until coffee arrives.
All previous conversation has been about the house he’s renovating.
He has told you about his appalling childhood, his allergies, and his delinquent children.
He has taken you blow by blow through his first marriage.
Occasionally he listens while you speak the odd sentence. Then whilst the coffee is being poured comes the purpose of your meeting.
DAN PULLS OUT THE SCRIPT FROM HIS BRIEFCASE, HE WEIGHS
IT IN HIS HAND. HE PULLS A FACE.
Of course, it’s too long. The scenes on the beach will have to go
But! It’s called the beach, the whole point of the piece is that it’s set on a beach
Beaches are always difficult. Sand in the camera lens. How about the field?
He then speaks for a full twenty-five minutes on the advantages of resetting your piece in a field. I found myself, (despite attending twelve one-hour assertiveness training sessions) agreeing to this daft notion.
Now. Characters. I don’t believe in Tom.
Why? Tom is an average working class Australian in love with a middle-class woman, they meet on a beach, sorry, field.
I think Tom should be an American, a tourist.
I reeled back in my chair and I knock back the brandy I had previously refused. He then spoke for a full ten minutes about this new, American, Tom.
Obviously, Tom can’t be a garbage collector now, can he? Perhaps you could give him a more glamorous job – journalist, actor, stockbroker?
I flicked mournfully through my script, reminding myself that half the action takes place at the council garbage disposal unit in Byron-next-the-sea. How can I possibly transfer these scenes to other, more glamorous locations? He had the answer!
Change the location to New Caledonia!
At this latest shock my first instinct is to scream out for more brandy, my second instinct is to flee from the restaurant taking my script with me, but I stay where I am. I hear myself agreeing to rewrite the script; The Field, starring American Tom and set it in New Caledonia. What’s more I’ve promised to deliver these rewrites in five days, because the producer is going on holiday (he has a cottage in New Caledonia, coincidentally) and he’d like to work on the rewrites ‘away from the office’. He then suggests that Amanda, whom you describe in your script as a ‘tall, slim and is two dimensional.
Wouldn’t it be better if she was a short, earthy blonde?
At this point you are joined at your table by the producer’s wife, a short, earthy blonde.
Hi, I’m Tracy, I adored your script. I’m dyslexic, but Dan read it aloud to me last night. I’m an actress, but I haven’t worked for years because there is a conspiracy in the industry to keep me out of work. I blame it on ‘pink’ communists who are running the businesses.
Can you name a ‘pinko communist?’
After I’d stopped laughing, I realise that Tracy wants to play the part of my heroine. She has turned up at the restaurant for this very reason. She had brought along her scrap book of press cuttings. I peered with a fixed smile at photographs of Tracy handing a prescription pad to a doctor in A Country Practice 1984; Second police woman in an angry crowd scene in Melbourne CBD, City Homicide 2004; Passing a folder to Janet King 2014; South Yarra Rep 2008; Answering the phone in background at Parliament House in The Code; Cheering lady in crowd for local marathon in Home and Away 2004;
When Dan lumbers off to the lavatory, Tracy clutches my, hand, and confides that life with ‘him’ is a torment; if only she could earn enough money to leave him. My feminist sympathies are stirred. I agree that she is perfect for the part. I give it to her, then instantly regret it.
I leave the restaurant (after paying the bill) and look for a taxi. I do not want to ride the taxi, only to throw myself under the wheels, but luck is not with me, no taxi comes, So I go home, sit at my desk and like the good girl that I am, I do the rewrites.
More laughter erupts, and I bow to the applause, a person from the side of the stage hands me a bouquet of flowers. I bask in the glory of my night.
I would like to thank Autism West, Mandy Orso, the Centre for stories and especially
Caroline Wood Co-Founder and Director for hosting the evening as well as Graeme Simsion and Text Publishing for inviting me along to be part of this evening.
To purchase Graeme’s latest novel, click here
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Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.