Thursday, March 14, 2013


These stirring and emotional scenes come straight to you from the set of Ian 'Titanic' Cameron's latest period drama - 'The Wilds of Lovers Jump' - where Steve 'Mr D'Arcy' Ryan and his leading lady Gill 'Miss Bennett' Fowler, and a cast of 170, are filming the final scenes in this classic Sydney Summer Series production. And what a scene it is. Gentlemen in finely pressed frock coats, the ladies in running vests and bonnets, and elderly dowagers without speaking parts walking back and forth on the course and hoping for a line or two in the Spit Junction sequel.

Mr 'D' and Miss 'B' are of course our winners last night, and what a couple they make. Both only just holding onto their appointments though - with Steve's wet shirt test scene only just holding off that of fellow OM champ Andy Hill, and Gill's portrayal of the deft deflection of the fawning minister just outpointing Catherine Murphy's reading. Great running and great acting from our Open stars, and a nice way to lead into an appraisal of SSS event 25 - as Pork Pie finds the unlikely links between Barbara Cartland and Jane Austin the perfect vehicle for such evaluation.

For the dramatic final SSS scenes, director Cameron has chosen North Wahroonga, where the rugged cliff tops, tors, and plunging creeks, and the nearby mansions and gardens, allow the crew to fully capture the action in both the indoor and outdoor locations. Where the original script indicated the majority of filming would take place amongst the rock and scrub (with fog machine at the ready), there was a late rewrite to include expanded work amongst the lawn and tea party scenes that gave runners a simpler choice - the offer of points without plunge. The movie was taking on a more genteel air.

So, let's look closely at the script and how the days filming unfolded.

The original novel "Lovers Jump", was set at (Heath) Cliff Reserve and included serious work amongst the rocks and cliffs. It was a major drama in the 11/12 theatre season, with comments from critic Mr T B Scouthall being well remembered. For the 12/13 season, Ian moved the set further east to Golden Jubilee and added 'The Wilds' to the title. Queen Victoria was also bought in to advise, and it seems QV might have been responsible for the shift from cliff to canap├ęs in much of the course. For, upon arrival on set and in collecting their day's cast sheets, actors quickly saw a serious offering south in the streets that might well minimise their bush work requirement - of recent and scratchy memory. Shirts and cuffs of superior cloth replaced the anticipated tat, as the props department worked overtime to dress the cast.

The spread was a wide one, an inverted 'L', with a full width bush offer in the north, and a dangling loop south. Where runners had been expecting their scenes to be shot amongst the cliff lines and tracks, they now had parts to consider in the streets - parts that would get them noticed on the results board, and with the Arts Council. It was easy to see why working down to 21 and friends was popular, with many beginning 24,23,14 before sweeping through the bottom 130 points and an optional track/street return. Despite this lure, several 'bushies' eschewed the macadam, thinking the bush is what an event at Lovers Jump should be all about, and plunged off in a sort of mad embrace of Contour Kate and her mate on set, Mr Sydney Sandstone. Almost as soon as these loopsters had begun, they knew it was going to be a page two result - especially after going north to #13, and wondering why it took so long to read twenty lines.

The bush pots were spread across the three ridges, but the western offer was very meagre indeed (three @ten, plus a 20 for a fifty total). I'm almost certain Glenn would have been the only person in the cast to have read these parts. Perhaps if Ian had moved (say) 21 here it might have had a different effect. The middle ridge offered good rewards, although the low link to the main film set ridge involved some fearsome down and up work (The Pants loved this apparently). Running west to 19 along the road, and then 26 in-out,18,8,27,25 was a good western link to the home points for those with puff, with 14,15,25 and back appealing to actors with greater girths, and more need for sitting roles. There were many slow workers in the north, with time lost in the loopy (30,3) track and cliff 'fear' playing it's part. Working up from #28 above LJ Creek apparently worked for many, with 28,17,22,11etc giving a better result than running 28,6,22 and having to backtrack to add #17.

Interesting to see Steve Ryan and Mark Schaefer worked north first (5,13,30,3 - Mark going 13,5), where Andrew Hill went south (24,17,16,21). Andrew had the up the cliff finish from #4 which might have cost him, where 'Mr D'Arcy' ripped along with a fast 23,16,17,24 final run in. All three leading men signed on for a 540 point performance, with their various curtain call delays accounting for the scoring difference. Mark Schaefer's minus forty seeming to indicate the audience wouldn't let him go! Another beginning of interest is from Mike Burton, who went green flag, 28,3,30,5,13,29 etc, before finishing via 22,17,24. Bertie Germ was a couple of minutes late in doing this, but wasn't everyone? 

The complete outsider in the streets was pot number one, presumably intended for Glenn - who's agent might be lodging a complaint with Actors Equity. This could also be the lonely pot, although I think the three western tenners probably could share the award - maybe lets plum for number ten - a mound too far in anyones language. I liked the four east/west linkages (low track, high track#4, road at #23 and road at #14) as they allowed good out/back looping and short cuts if the bell was ringing for your stage call. Working around Judy Hay's place from 4 to 24 was a struggle if you missed the cliff line gap (as PP did - ending up in the green stuff. Tim Cox also in trouble here I'm told), but an excellent link if you snapped it. As an addendum to the main script, one runner, ignoring the lessons of the original play, decided a 'quick' 30 by dropping below the scout hall to #26 and back was 'on'. Many might remember the hard-to-find track here from last season. A pity your correspondent didn't - taking well over the earning rate in his struggle, but enjoying the rock climbing. An actor who does his own stunts it seems!

That'll do for the summation. A balance between the genteel and the dramatic, the pant and the pantaloon. Tea on the swings at #11, or a dangerous liaison with Miss Tree at #25, it had it all - but cops a 'Mature Audience' rating for the bad language scripted for players below twenty nine with one minute to go.

Let's have a look through the cast sheet, and what takes the eye.

I've already mentioned our open winners, but like to note the scoring. In OM, Steve's 520 to Andrew's 510 to Mark's 500 are the only scores over 500. Tough stuff indeed. Tommy and 'The Christmas Carol' plugged 480's and were twenty on from 'The Paint Tube'. Gill's 470 won OW from Catherine's 450, with Claire well back on 400, and Lisa - Lisa! - on set for a staggering 59.07 minutes, and a modest 280 reward for all the work. No sub or junior women parts this week, although there were a couple of small roles for the boys (Aidan being noted for the clarity of his 410 point audition).

The two classes with the biggest winning margins (by 70 points), were MW and WaW - with Alison Curtin's 410 to Sarah Walter's 340 in MW, a very stylish leading performance. 'The River Po' was similarly impressive over Ruth Jacka in the walkers, and is rumoured to be considering a running role in Gone With The Wind. I note Pete Fallows claiming, just, in MM, with his 420 points a tenner ahead of the three tenors, and twenty on from 'The Steam Engine', 'The Morris Minor' and Glenny. This is an unusual place to find the Garingal star, who also nearly got the longest-on-course award for a performance 'above & beyond'. His 64.03 post was a long time on stage without a coffee break, but not quite long enough - just losing this honour to Rowena Clark and her outstanding 75.51 minute speech. Well done Miss 'Wallace', our Gold Logie star.

Good wins last night to Kaj (JM), Robin Cameron (VW), Warwick Selby (SVM), John Anderson (LM), Bryony (LW) and June Stanley (IW), with a couple of winning ties also noted - Dale and Karin in SVW, and Malcolm and Bruce in IM. Good to see 'In The Middle' claim in IM, and for Bruce to also feel the red carpet. Heiko was a no show this week, probably after his long and exhausting role in a recent western 'Gunfight on the Six Foot Track'. I should also note Jim 'WMOC' Merchant taking ten off Mel in the walking blokes - and going home with a tidy 100pts for his trouble. Jim's 290 was a good result here, and in good company, with over half of the actors on set falling below the half way mark. Quite a telling stat - as is the late back brigade, with over two thirds of the cast arriving back late from lunch, SSS Productions chief executive Rosscoe 'The Weinsteins' Barr, is thinking of involving Mickey Arthur in a little finger wagging - and banning the Reschs.

Surprising defeats? Steve Flick going down to Ando in LM (320/360) is one, with 'The Stevedore' seemingly discombobulated at checkpoint #14 and not making the best of the opportunities - and being home early! Neil Hawthorne is another leading man to take on a more minor role last night, probably after working the chaps and spurs too hard in the Six Foot western mentioned above, Neil's 310 is well off Wazza's excellent 400. 'Tearaway' Ted Mulherin would also be unhappy to drop ten from Malcolm and Bruce in IM, with the probable difference occurring at the thirty point car wreck (#30). I gather Ted found another one there! And Sue Thomson, only off by ten as per Teddy, with it all happening at the sloping rockface in the easement track going 23-home that Sue couldn't climb! Sue lost several minutes here until someone helped her up. It was also an awkward one for the less agile going downhill. Several actors used stand ins during filming here.

Good to see Nick Dent down from the Central Coast, and also good to see Don Burnett and the Darvo's on the boards again. Anne was a well known lead in former days, with her modest 160 belying a very talented past. And Don, a stunning leading man over many appearances, once again out with us as the director called action. Great stuff. 

No close shaves this week, with Emmanuelle the only .01 over - although at 44.01 not quite the angst of a 45.01, and tears in the trailer. Our most popular score is a suprising 310, with nine runners posting this - among them we find 'The Vegie Patch' (LM), Peter 'The Butcher' Day (VM), Amy 'I Mean You No' Harmer (OW) and Michael Ridley-Smith (another Vet). Chris 'The She Oak' Cunningham (VM) and 'The Hawk' (SVM) both copped big time penalties in earning their 310's, with Neil's 65.48 doing to his total what Chop Suey did to grandma. Good scoring at 310 none-the-less - and above the 'mean'. 

So to wrap. Another low scoring day on set, but with some excellent work from our stars. Great to be back with a sniff of the eucalypt and sandstone - especially given the two State League events coming up this weekend, it was the right event at the right time. The Director and all of the Garingal crew deserve much praise, as do the weather gods, as they hand over the reins to a new crew, and a new location. Yes, next Wednesday sees the action at The Spit under the watchful direction of Marina & Fedor Iskhakov and the Bennelong road crew. This is another second outing map, with advice that all the filming will be on the eastern side of Spit Road, and no need for those actor-in-traffic dramas from last year. Going further south, rather than over to the west, will link in the northern parts of Balmoral to Chinamans, which should make for a very pleasant experience. The sniff of salt spray and the whiff of a martini. Mmmm, sounds kinda good, so make it a date. This is the penultimate SSS event for the 12/13 season, and almost your last chance to flash the fiver at the judges. A couple of classes still to be decided - including the fantastic competition in OM. What a blast! In two weeks we return to Macquarie Uni sports fields, where the Three Stooges (John, Bob and Dan) will be inviting you to run and laugh! All at the same time. More like sob probably, as another excellent SSS season draws to a close in one of our favourite areas. Not to be missed, especially if your up for the Masarati and Louis Vuitton prizes......well, badges anyone? Sigh.

I've also been asked to make an early mention of the Great Nosh Footrace which is on in early June, running from Lindfield to Seaforth Oval. This excellent bush track and fire trail run has history, and scenery (!), and is much more fun than anything along a road. Joel and Dazza are on the job once again, so check out their offer and the entry form at the Bennelong website ( Entries are now open.


1 comment:

Also Ran said...

Some of the loneliest pots ever at this event - the western grouping of 7 9 10 and 20, and the far south-eastern 1, all had a mere two visitors! Glenn was naturally 1 of the 2 in each case, with Patrik Gunnarson being the other to visit the western group and Lee Lowe the other to visit 1.

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