I Remember Mama

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I Remember Mama by John van Druten

This was the entry for the 1969 NSW Arts Council's Drama Festival and opened in August 1969.  The producer was Rene Levenspiel.  (The adjudicator for 1969 was Robert Levis).  This is a play in two acts based on the novel by Katherine Forbes Mama's Bank Account.  It had 22 roles, and only one of these was doubled, so with 21 actors on stage it attracted new people to Wyong Drama Group as well as the usual stalwarts.

The play opens with Katrin Hanson, a young Norwegian girl living in San Francisco, reading from the manuscript of her autobiography. Then follow scenes from an important period of her life giving us glimpses of the career of this delightful, affectionate, impecunious family of Hansons.  Mama, the real heroine, is responsible ultimately for Katrin's literary career, in which I Remember Mama is her first success.  Period 1910.

Thanks to Marion Romig (nee Gingell) for these recollections about the play emailed to me in mid-2010:

"The play was quite successful, and was awarded "Best Play" in the Arts Council Festival for 1969.  Ten-year-old Stephen Clarke won the Best Young Actor in the Arts Council Awards and went to Sydney for a drama workshop.  He played the character Arne and he had to scream and moan in pain because he had a leg infection.  Uncle Chris carried him (the imposing Aubrey Brown) and it was very convincing.  The adjudicator said the next time he returned to see a play at Wyong a year or so later, that he hadn't gone to the professional production of  I Remember Mama in Sydney because he had already seen such a wonderful production from Wyong Drama Group.

"I was Dagmar in the play.  I was 9 years old.  My mother (Beth Gingell) was in it too.  I remember it very clearly.  Actually I remember everything that Bonnie Bryant acted in as she was truly moving - she could have been a professional if she had gone to Sydney. Gwen Clarke was also very talented..."

I Remember Mama Programme  (pdf file, 261,405 bytes)

Picture Gallery

These pictures are thumbnails.  To see the full-sized pictures, simply click on the thumbnail images.  Photos taken by Les Turton.

From L: Mary Smith, Gwen Clarke, Marion Gingell, Aubrey Brown, John Werleman and Carlotta Payne 

Mary Skidmore and Bonnie Bryant

D Gingell, Beth Gingell, Ted Bryant, Bonnie Bryant, Vic Bryant, Mary Skidmore, Stephen Clarke 

The Children: Mary Smith, D Gingell, Vic Bryant, Marion Gingell, Stephen Clarke and Carlotta Payne

Gwen Clarke and John Werleman

Back: Mary Skidmore and Beth Gingell

Front: Bonnie Bryant and Gwen Clarke

Pam Jones and Mareka Scheple

The Adjudicator, Mr Robert Levis, from the NSW Arts Council

The Adjudication (page 1)


(NB: These articles can be expanded in the browser window they open in by clicking on the picture and scrolling around)

The Adjudication (page 2)

The Adjudication (page 3)
Tuggerah Lakes News 23 December 1969


Wyong Advocate 13 August 1969


Sydney Morning Herald 21 November 1969
Tuggerah Lakes News 13 August 1969
Article in late November in the Tuggerah Lakes News following release of the written adjudication by Mr Robert Levis

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Copyright Dec-12 by Peter Deane   -  Last modified: Wednesday, 09 January 2013 04:24 PM