Canberra, Thursday 6th August

by Kristy Apps

At 7:20am some weary eyed musicians, amongst us are new parents and bubba’s who probably looked slightly fresher than those of us not used to 5:30 wake ups, found each other with excited smiles and much needed coffees as we began our journey of taking the Soldier’s Wife show to The Canberra Street Theatre and then on to the Opera House.

Me and the lovely Bertie Page at the (chilly) Canberra Airport
Me and the lovely Bertie Page at the (chilly) Canberra Airport

As I sat on the plane surrounded by familiar voices chattering away I found myself deep in conversation with John Meyer and Bertie Page and quickly realised why this project is so special to me. Telling peoples stories is a precious gift given to us as songwriters and to do it as a collective with some of the finest, passionate and delicate songwriters I’ve ever worked with, who all understand that this journey is so much bigger than us lies the true magic behind this show.

As the afternoon progressed the backstage area of the Canberra Street Theatre became a little buzzier.. and it wasn’t long before the theatre was full and we were ready to go. Chairs back stage were but a few so I spent some time sitting on the floor cracking up at a pre-show dance off courtesy of Emma Bosworth! Laughs and tears are a plenty with this show. A few last minute rehearsals and tweaks.. with our bow the only thing left unrehearsed.

Me and Emma backstage at Canberra Street Theatre
Me and Emma backstage at Canberra Street Theatre

The songs in this show are easy to fall in love with as are the people in them. One of my favourites is a song called Giovanna- written by Roz Papparlado and a women she met at one of the Soldier’s Wife song writing workshops. Tonight was the first night I had ever heard the story behind the song and I was backstage in tears, it’s a happy song but like all the songs in the show it’s so powerful.. and sometimes we all need a bit of Giovani’s trust in his own instinct to jump ship and swim towards life.

My song is one of the most special songs that I have ever written because it’s for the most important human being I have ever known.. my mum. Her story of finding her dad, an American Soldier as a grown woman was one of the bravest journey’s I’ve ever been a part of. She feared rejection and pushed through it, she feared failing and she pushed through it, she feared absolute uncertainty and pushed through it and she found another part of herself. I am more nervous introducing this song..

Wanting to say so much in a so few words..

Margaret

When the bombs stopped falling and the sky was clear was clear
It was time for him to go home
A pregnant wife who wouldn’t leave her roots
He made that journey alone
At night if it wasn’t the guns in his head

It was you Margaret
At night if it wasn’t the bombs of regret
It was you Margaret

Hurt by the hand of the one that loves you most
Left you clueless with a broken heart
By the time it was for you to look for him
You had no idea where to start
Secret stashes of birthday cards
Could have worn a wig and a gown
A guilty verdict the sound of hammer to wood
A trail of breadcrumbs were found
At night if it wasn’t the guns in his head

It was you Margaret
At night if it wasn’t the bombs of regret
It was you Margaret

It was too late for you to meet him
But his family were waiting for you
With open arms they say what took you so long Maggie
This is a dream come true
You were named after your Aunty Peg and
Dad wrote you as a little girl
Till he was told to never write again
he couldn’t be part of your world

Margaret

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