Playwright Dorothy Hillis, author of God's Waiting Room, which is showing at the Pelican Playhouse for Seniors Week from March 3.
Playwright Dorothy Hillis, author of God's Waiting Room, which is showing at the Pelican Playhouse for Seniors Week from March 3. Caitlan Charles

Plenty of life left in God's Waiting Room

WE ALL hear stories about what it's like to live in God's Waiting Room, but what is it really like?

In the new production, God's Waiting Room, from The Pelican Playhouse, playwright Dorothy Hillis brings together her own experiences and that of her friends and family to create a positive, funny and sometimes gut-wrenching look into the lives of those of us with a few extra candles on their birthday cake.

Ms Hillis, who has been working with The Pelican Playhouse since she moved to Grafton, was asked to write God's Waiting Room for the upcoming Seniors Week.

"Naturally, being a senior myself and being aware of problems that my friends have had and I have had, and events in our lives, I thought, well right, let's focus on that,” Ms Hillis said.

"In everyone's lives there comes a moment of change, sometimes it follows sadness or tragedy, others by change of circumstance or illness or loss of some sort and you're faced then with the need to change.

"Then you have to accept a new way of living, and sometimes it's very hard for people if they've always done things this way, to then suddenly turn around and become something different.

"It's fascinating what happens to those people when they accept the chance and they start to go with it.

"The characters in the play, they all have had some loss or some change or some circumstance that's made them pull up short and made them reconsider how they are going to go on from now on.”

But God's Waiting Room isn't all about sadness and the end of life as you know it.

"I've tried to get a message of hope out: growing old is not necessarily the end,” Ms Hillis said.

"There are lots of good things you can still do and there is lots of fun to be had and lots of life to be lived.

"I read a phrase the other day, 'to enjoy the adventure of life' and that's the theme of the play, if you like.”

You can expect to go on a journey with the cast of God's Waiting Room and enjoy a good laugh too.

"We've got a couple of bits that are saucy one-liners and one or two bits that people may find shocking but they are bound to laugh.”

Ms Hillis is no stranger to adventure herself.

She moved from Great Britain to Australia in the 1960s with her then husband and children. After her children had all left for university, Ms Hillis and her new partner cruised around the oceans on a sail boat before settling in Grafton.

"I immediately became involved with the theatre group, I acted and directed with the theatre group until I couldn't really remember lines any more,” Ms Hillis said.

"With my own work I don't direct because I'm too close to it.

"I like to work with a director I trust and to workshop with the actors because as a playwright, you you build the skeleton, but it's the actor that actually puts the guts and the breath and air and the mind into that skeleton that brings that person behind.

"I just love that ensemble process; this is something a group of people make together and it's been

my fortune that I've been able to do this with all the production of my plays that theatre has done.”

In God's Waiting Room, you can expect to see a few familiar faces on stage, with a few fresh ones in between.

The production runs from March 3 to 12 as part of The Pelican Playhouse's celebration of Seniors Week.

Tickets at South Grafton News and Gifts, $20 or $15 for concession.



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