Say you grew up in a small country town, agricultural but steeped also in a rich cultural history, writers and actors and artists and musicians born from this soil, this place. Say, unbeknownst to you, Shakespeare players had toured the area long before you were born, or before the town was even conceived of, and that they had held rehearsals on the bend of the Murrumbidgee River, near where the Euroley Bridge now spans the brown water. Say you always wanted to sing and dance and perform, but in a serious and philosophical way, an earnest yearning for .. creative truth.
Say one day after years of flying high as a darling of stage and screen, you found yourself at a crossroads moment. You walked to the park in your suburb and sat down and read a book cover to cover. Say it was Shakespeare. Say it was the play, Henry V. Say as you read the final line and closed the book, you knew. You knew that you would stage Henry V. Say that afternoon, you bought a notebook and started writing the idea into being. Conceptual realisation. Say you didn’t fully understand the import of that moment. Say you started the journal and it kept filling with ideas and concepts and research and history as the years progressed.
Say you felt home calling. Say the hallowed theatre was going to be transformed. Say people were imagining a place, an institution, where beautiful things were made, where relationships were forged, where people shared skills and learned the way to make their stories come alive. Say people recognised that you could lend your influence to make it fly. Say you were waiting for a reason to return. Say it was written in the stars.
Say you found people waiting for you who you didn’t know had been waiting for you since before you were born. Say bloodlines and songlines drew you. Say it was a blink of an eye since all the unwitting ancestors were waiting at the quay on the River Thames for the boat to bring us all here to this moment. Say Henry V created a United Kingdom that spawned us. Say the play was written about the very human moral questions that no more urgently than now demanded answers? Now. In this moment.
Say you scribbled a picture in your Henry journals one night of a crown. The Crown of the King. The struggle with The Father. The passage into Manhood. And say then, a man came before you, and made you a crown out of a single beautiful piece of river redgum. And say they were made in the same image, without a word being uttered.
What say you then, my lords, to predestination, to Fate and what is written in the stars? Five years and many lifetimes in the making.