Of course, its a life
Since Toni Allayialis grandparents fled Greek Asia Minor, the village Alliayi has become Turkish territory. Toni revisited the island her grandparents found refuge on and gazed at the lights of Turkey the place where her fathers roots are from.
This story, and others from her Romany Croatian refugee grandfather on her mothers side (as well as growing up in Cairns), form the genesis of her one-woman play My Of-Course Life, which is on at the Star Court Theatre in Lismore this Friday and Saturday, April 28-29, at 8pm.
Toni returned to Cairns in 1999 after working overseas as a singer, dancer and actress. While working with JustUs Theatre, she became involved in a special playwrights mentoring project.
I had to do this audition, and we had to do one drama piece and one comedy, and it was hard to find pieces I could relate to, Toni said. So for the comedy, I used this character Lola Gorgonzola, that I do for cabaret sometimes, where I improvise these stories. And they said this stuff would make a great play. So the improvisation grew into the project, which grew into the script.
Toni was insistent from the outset she wanted the music composed by a Greek woman. When QPAC came on board as co-producers, John Kotzas connected composer Irine Vela with the script, and magic blossomed.
The show has now been touring for three years, most recently to the Sydney Greek Festival.
Music and humour are a big part of the show.
People come and get a good laugh, and a good cry. It is important for this younger generation to know about the genocides, the massacres that have happened. Many of them dont know. A lot of it is about trying to break those intergenerational curses; how to pass on love not hate to the next generation; how to walk in love, to walk in forgiveness, walk in the light.
Tickets are $36/30/16 from www.norpa.org.au or phone 6621 5600.