12 March 2012

Peninsula: Little Blue Vinyl Bag

Peninsula director Jane Waddell shares one of her stand-out childhood memories with drama on the waterfront.

"I was brought up in happy working class home in Invercargill. My parents were committed church-going Presbyterians and so Sunday School was a weekly feature of my early life. I remember the little checked coat I wore, with the Bambi brooch pinned to the collar - and the little blue vinyl bag with the long strap and the zip that kept safe, the coins for the collection plate and a threepenny bag of tiny pink Smokers.

One particular Sunday morning, when I was five years old, I sat on the floor of the Junior Sunday School room next to Sydney - a plump, pink faced boy, who was a bit of a brain-box. While the collection was being taken, Miss McLaughlin pumped away on the organ as our fluting voices sang 'Hear the Pennies Dropping.'  But I wasn't singing, I was sucking on the strap of my bright blue bag - that is, until Sydney interrupted to inform me that the dye in the strap was poisonous. I was alarmed. He told me I would die. I left the Sunday School room convinced that Sydney was right. I would be taken into the bosom of Jesus that very day (which raised the question of what Jesus was doing with bosoms anyway).

I was afraid to tell my parents of my impending fate and decided that if I survived the Sunday Request Session on 4ZA, I would survive Sydney's gloomy prophecy.

I picked at my lunch, expecting to be beset at any moment with a severe tummy ache and a nasty sickiness.
I sat through Beedlebomb, Old Fashioned Girl, Tom Dooley, Tammy - finally, it was 2 o'clock, the Request Session was over and I was right as rain.

I was careful never to sit beside Sydney again. And I stopped sucking the strap of the little blue vinyl bag."

Peninsula is on at Circa until 31 March. It is part of the NZ International Arts Festival until 18 March - to book, call Ticketek at 0800 842 538 or go online at www.ticketek.co.nz. The season will continue at Circa after the Festival; to book, call the Circa Box Office at 801-7992 or go online at www.circa.co.nz

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