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December 9, 2023

Eltham’s in Love for One Night

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NORPA CEO and Artistic Director Julian Louis. Photo Tree Faerie.

Who doesn’t love a country pub? The parmi, the pool and the beer – country pubs are gathering places made magic by night, where love begins, blooms and sometimes dies, often all in one night.

Love For One Night is NORPA’s first production since the floods and will be lighting up the Eltham Hotel for a three-week season this starting Thursday, including an Auslan-interpreted performance on Thursday next week.

You never know where, when, why, or who love will strike, filling hearts with joy and torment in equal measure. Love for One Night is a series of love stories told in the signature playful and theatrical style of NORPA’s Railway Wonderland and Dreamland.

A dexterous cast leads us through love in all its aspects — from deep friendship to infatuation, romance and heartbreak and, of course, sexual attraction and unbridled lust. Great visual effects and a live band adds to the electric ambiance.

Rehearsals for the show. Photo supplied.

An atmospheric backdrop

The iconic Eltham Hotel provides an atmospheric backdrop, a magical place to gather and flirt and fall head over heels in love. For one night.

Directed by NORPA’s artistic director Julian Louis and devised in collaboration with a stellar cast and creative team – this is an experience you won’t want to miss!

Louis says that Love for One Night is a love letter to country pubs and our region. ‘The concept started with my long-term collaborator Janis Balodis over a couple of schooners in the beer garden. We started imagining a daisy chain of scenes about love, a small cast playing multiple roles, pub band scoring the action, and all of it happening at an old hotel, surrounded by paddocks, literally in the middle of nowhere, but somehow also in the perfect location for gathering and telling stories.

‘As a local theatre company, we’re driven to create new shows that connect us all. We love making theatre that’s popular, joyous, and adventurous. We also enjoy tackling difficult subjects, but the world’s felt pretty serious lately, so this show is pure unapologetic entertainment, made to seduce our audience back into the physical and dynamic experience that only theatre can deliver.

Some of NORPA’s creative team pre-production. Photo supplied.

Combining a variety of styles

Louis says that from its inception, the team wanted to create a work that combined a variety of styles and tell a series of stories, each of them inspired by research from around the pub and improvisations from performers across two phases of creative development. ‘What’s emerged is a collection of short scenes that express different aspects of love.

‘Like many punters recently, we fell head-over-heels with the Eltham Hotel’s relaxed vibe, classic character, and good music. This 130-year-old building is the perfect setting for our exploration of affection, and publicans Matt and Luke have been super supportive during what’s been a difficult time for NORPA and the performing arts more broadly.

‘Working in the arts over the last few years hasn’t been full of much love. The pandemic closed us down before the floods ripped through our home, just over the hill in beloved Lismore. But these extraordinary challenges have only given us strength and clarity that art is important in everyday life and it’s what we absolutely adore.’

Recharging the company

‘Making Love For One Night has recharged our company,’ says Louis. ‘Getting the opportunity for our team to come together again and focus on creating something new, with all the effort that requires and the joy it gives, felt like falling in love for the first time. The way it pulls you in, makes your heart race, and keeps you wanting more.’

Love For One Night presented by NORPA plays at an epic pop-up theatre at The Eltham Hotel from September 8 to 24 at 7.30pm.

There will be an Auslan-interpreted performance on Thursday, 15 September, at 7.30pm, with seats reserved for the Auslan audience.

Internet relay users, connect to the NRS – see www.relayservice.com.au for details, then ask for 02 6622 0300.

For more info and tickets, visit: www.norpa.org.au.

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