Whenever was the queue itself a prelude to an enchanted evening experience. In Hobart it was. So much fun for us Sydneysiders!?
As we waited in the 8pm queue at the ornate gates, flood-lit in moody blood-red, the buzz in the air was palpable. With the overseas visitors in front of us, we shared tales of the walking trek/saga just trying to get to the opening night of the Power Plant light and sound installation in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.
Chatting with the local literati couple behind us, we realised we were at the same performance of Singapore’s Wild Rice Theatre Company’s Animal Farm at Hobart’s historic Theatre Royal the evening before.
To the side, in the 8.10pm queue, friendly eavesdropping Burnie locals proudly encouraged us to visit their neck of the woods.
And then, once in the gardens, one magical moment followed another – from live snails’ caressing tentacles captured on a kaleidoscope screen, to lights swaying firefly-like in magnificent trees. The recommended 45 minutes took us two hours as we lingered with warming pumpkin soup at the candle-lit garden cafe.
In hushed, almost reverential tones, others in the queue had spoken of Elizabeth Walsh, the artistic director of this wonderful Ten Days on the Island 2011 festival who had fallen and injured herself so badly that she couldn’t even attend her own festival! As our “island” experiences unfolded in the next few days, she would have been very proud.