Interviewed by arts journalist Martin Buzacott the day after his appointment as Artistic Director, Sean Mee said: “The time has come for La Boite to take its position as a theatre company of national significance. It’s well-placed for that because it’s financially healthy, it’s got a good, stable staff who’ve been here a long time, and it produces important new work”.[i] Touring out of Queensland was one way to reach this goal. In 2002, managed by Performing Lines and with the assistance of Playing Australia, Milo’s Wake by Margery and Michael Forde, directed by Andrew Buchanan undertook the longest national tour ever by a Queensland production.[ii] On tour for twenty-six weeks, it performed to over 30,000 people in twenty-nine venues, forming part of the subscription season for the State Theatre Company of South Australia, Melbourne’s Playbox, Sydney’s Glen Street, Riverina Theatre Company, Wagga Wagga and Q Theatre in Penrith and toured twenty-three other towns in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.
The theatre critic for The Adelaide Advertiser commented on the success of the writing in revealing “with quite intimate cruelty, some of the worst of the Irish character and culture” tempered with “wit and music which keeps the audience giggling, guffawing and foot-tapping”.[iii] Kate Herbert, writing in Melbourne’s Herald Sun conversely found fault with the writing: “the relationships do not develop, the play keeps stalling in its action and there are no consequences to any of Milo’s actions …the play fails to fulfil its promise”.[iv] In 2001 Milo’s Wake had won Best Play at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.
Writer: Christine Comans