Dance / “Happiness is…Celebrating 40 Years of Canberra Dance Theatre”. Directed by Jacqui Simmonds at The Street Theatre. October 14. Reviewed by BILL STEPHENS
I MOURN Harry Dean Stanton who eight weeks ago died aged 91, after a 200-title acting career beginning with an uncredited part in a 1956 B-Western.
In this, his penultimate role (a supporting role in “Frank and Ava” is now in post-production for 2018 release), Harry plays Lucky, living in a small desert community in the American west.
In World War II, Lucky was cook in a US Navy supply ship in the western Pacific (as was Harry in real life). Now he spends his days following a routine that suits him – ablutions, exercise, walk to Joe’s restaurant for breakfast, complete a crossword, visit Elaine’s tavern for a couple of Bloody Marys and conversation.
John Carroll Lynch’s film applies a wonderful screenplay by Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja that is intelligent, compassionate, funny, sad, loving, emotional, honest and any other graceful attribute you might care to find in the human context. And I suspect that Harry may have ad libbed more than a little and would get away with it better than most.
The movie industry is filled with people whom we recognise as much from their off-camera behaviour as for professional merit. Harry Dean Stanton was not one of them. He gave me pleasure whenever I saw him on the screen, no matter how small the role.
Harry was an acting legend for all the right reasons. So do yourself a favour. Go and watch him dominating the screen as his alter ego atheist Lucky searches for spirituality and an acceptable explanation for life’s purpose.
At Palace Electric