Fairbridge Plays by Michael Pass

Fairbridge has some good memories for me; a particular individual a Mr. Ted Wisell, Head Master of the Primary School at the Farm during the period 1950 to 1954 is enshrined in my heart as a person who introduced me to English Literature.

He would announce that one of Shakespeare’s plays would be performed on a certain night later in the year. We had to read the play, work out the cast, design the props, decide on the costumes, and finally practice the dialogue.

These naturally had to be coupled with all the other mundane duties that occurred during the day at the Farm.  The Play I recall most of all, was the Merchant of Venice. Some of the cast from the Royal Shakespearian Society (London)  came to Fairbridge to visit and see our play. Quite an event. This of course is all off 60 years ago, “In the play the lines that still resonate in my head are.”

“The Quality of Mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from Heaven, upon the place beneath.”

The plot of the play involves a duel. This raises happy memories of two young lads one armed with a navy cutlass and the other with a samurai sword, getting into the spirit of the scene, and sparks being raised as the swords clashed. All good fun.

I also recall standing on the stage delivering “All the World’s a Stage” a famous scene from “All the World a Stage” I was dressed in a pair of shocking pink, elastic kneed long legged women’s bloomers. I never did find out who owned them, I always thought they belonged to Mrs. Mount (cottage mother of Brown Cottage, but it could have been Mrs. Gibson. Both were monumental women.

After seeing our play, The Merchant of Venice, the RSS cast returned to Sydney, they then arranged for our entire class to come down to Sydney to see the production performed by them. There had been reporters from the  local newspapers in Orange and Molong and a critic from the Sydney Morning Herald who had  viewed both performances. The critic from the Sydney Morning Herald said he enjoyed our version of the play against the RSC, for sheer enjoyment.

Sadly, that was the last year that plays were performed as the elder children started attending the school in Molong.

Spins off from our presentation of the play in Sydney were the wonderful activities we enjoyed in that city. We all stayed at either at the YWCA or the YMCA, we were taken on a ferry ride to Manly, an afternoon at Taronga Park Zoo and a trip to Luna Park at Milson’s Point (all rides thrown in). At Lunar Park on the famous Centrifuge we met the famous Johnny Ray. I ended up with Johnny’s autograph and a 10-shilling note.   Happy memories.                             Michael Pass


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About The Phantom

Came to Fairbridge Molong in 1957 and began immediately as a farm trainee. I was 15 yrs old. I loved the work,but found it very lonely and the bullying was awful. Billy Gelson saved me many times in Orange cottage from beatings. I loved this man. I have had a successful life with a wife who died in 2003. I have 3 children and 2 grandchildren. Life has been a challenge since Maureen died.. Brian K OF
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