There was a bit of religion around me today – the good, the bad and the downright ugly. I’m reliably informed that religion is all about faith. Proof and evidence are just there for the believing. Which makes me wonder why creationists don’t believe in evolution something they think is ‘just a theory.’ Like gravity is a theory. And gravity is something that I believe in…like the sign writers along the Hawksbury River.
For Mr Klopper, religion is the be all and end all. He believes that god is in everything, sees everything, IS everything. And so he feels like he has to abuse anyone who thinks differently. Especially Mrs Klopper and his son, Thomas. Mr Klopper fears that if his family doesn’t follow god’s plan then they will be damned for all time. Mr Klopper is what you’d call fanatically devout and what I’d call delusional.
The Klopper family, however, doesn’t go to church. Along with other crazy locals, they gather in a house and hold services with Mr Klopper reading from his weathered old bible about plagues and stuff. They also don’t take the tram because god doesn’t like people catching trams on Sunday. Because THAT is something god is so concerned with he doesn’t have time to fix up everything else that’s wrong with the world.
The Klopper family are the main characters in a play called The Book of Everything, which we saw tonight at Castle Hill Players. Originally a book by Dutch children’s author Guus Kuijer, it has been adapted for the stage by Australian writer Richard Tulloch. It was first performed in Sydney at Belvoir Street.
I have to say that I enjoyed it. In particular young Brayden Sim who played Thomas. He gave an excellent performance, well beyond his years. And Paul Sztelma as his father, Mr Klopper. He gave a very powerful performance both as Klopper and the vicious Bum Biter. Hating Klopper is very easy as seen through this performance. I should also mention Jesus (Gavin Jamieson) who was a continuous presence and who had the funniest line in the play (“Jesus swept” – unexpectedly genius).
Both Mirinda and Bob were concerned I’d be overly critical of the play because, apparently, I am normally overly critical of things we see. Personally I can’t see it and prefer to think of myself as honest. Being as this was an AmDram production meant that Bob was certain to assure me that it probably wouldn’t reach the high standards I’m used to. But I’m not going to be critical at all.
Back in the day, when I was involved in AmDram, a company would be loathe to try something so adventurous, relying instead on old reliable plays that followed the tried and true rules of story telling. This was one of the reasons we branched out on our own. It’s very good to see Castle Hill Players pushing the envelope rather than sitting comfortably behind the well established.
The only shame was the lack of audience. Being Easter Saturday, I reckon most of the usual audience was probably out and about, on holiday or just exhausted from a day spent on the Hawksbury River…where we were. Not Bob, he was playing and winning golf, but Mirinda and I went for our traditional pilgrimage to Ebenezer to see Mirinda’s ancestors.
In order to get to Australia’s oldest church, we took the Sackville ferry, something that’s always a treat. In fact, it’s such a delight that I have decided to share it with anyone reading this. Here’s an edited video of the journey. There’s no need to worry, I’ve reduced the trip to two minutes.
Note that the video has to be taken inside the vehicle because you’re not allowed to leave it. Also the electronic voice you hear is that of Delores, Bob’s SatNav.
As is always the case, Ebenezer was beautiful, bathed in sunshine and not too hot. In fact, it almost made me believe in some higher power, one that works for the good of the tourist rather than domestic violence. And gravity.
I’ve written extensively about the church and Mirinda’s ancestral links before but here’s the two sentence version.
The church was established in 1809 by a group of people including a few of Mirinda’s ancestors. Among them was John Grono, a Royal Navy sailor who eventually became a very successful ship builder on the Hawksbury.
You can read more about the church and the free settlers who started it here. These days they serve tea and scones and the sun always shines.
We sat with our tea, admiring the view before wandering around.
We then headed off for lunch…only we didn’t find any. We’d headed for the Paradise Cafe at Lower Portland only to find it too full to accommodate anyone else. It was a huge shame because it is beautifully situated on the river. It also serves quite a lot of beer. Still, we climbed back aboard our faithful borrowed steed and headed for Wiseman’s Ferry along an increasingly narrowing road which sometimes forsook bitumen for gravel with signs warning us of the possibility of our being crushed by huge chunks of sandstone.
It was all very picturesque and a delight even on an empty stomach. We may not have eaten at the Paradise Cafe but we certainly savoured paradise…all day long.