15 March 2017

Tales After Dark featuring the enigmatic Fred Smith - 18th March

| Suzanne Kiraly
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tales after dark fred smith

Do you love live theatre? Do you love a good story? Do you enjoy going to quirky theatre-restaurants?

Would you love to eat, drink and be merry, as talented actors make you laugh, cry, think and feel? Wouldn’t you like to do something different?

Yes? Then this Saturday’s Tales After Dark is definitely for you! Each of these shows also features a special guest artist and this Saturday, we have Fred Smith appearing.

When I first saw the name, Fred Smith, I was curious to know who he was? Wouldn’t you be curious too, with a name like Fred Smith? At that time, I had not heard of him and so, knowing little about the man, it was an extraordinary experience to discover him at TEDx Canberra.

Every now and again, you come across a character who resonates, as well as fascinates.

Indeed, I found Fred Smith to be a bit of an enigma – a fascinating character indeed, who not only performs his music with great gusto, writes his own lyrics, and magnetises his audiences who respond brilliantly, but has also had some extraordinary life experiences in war-torn Afghanistan. An incredible combination.

He has written a book, called Dust of Uruzgan and it is fascinating. It turns out that this book is a personal story of Australia’s war in Afghanistan as told by him. Fred also happens to be a star of ‘Australian Story’, Australian diplomat in Afghanistan and Australian Defence Force’s favourite singer, and composer of ‘Dust of Uruzgan’, the CD of the same name.

His bio at Allen & Unwin says that over the last 15 years, Fred Smith has emerged as one of Australia’s most interesting songwriters (and I would agree). He has spent the last 15 years all over the joint: working on peace-keeping missions in Afghanistan and the South Pacific, touring in America and travelling the Australian festival circuit.

He has also been the subject of the film, Bougainville Sky, about his time in the war-torn islands of the South Pacific where his work as a musician and radio broadcaster contributed to the success of the world’s first unarmed peace-keeping force.

Fred was the first Australian diplomat to be posted to Uruzgan in July of 2009. He wrote a powerful collection of songs about the realities of life for soldiers and civilians in this difficult war, and he recently released a highly acclaimed album called, Dust of Uruzgan.

He has put out about eight CDs so far, two of which (in collaboration) won National Film and Sound Archives Awards.

My favourite song by far, though, had everyone rolling in the aisles at TEDx, as Fred sang affectionately, about (our allies) the Dutch soldiers and their unsightly habits in the latrines of the base camp, and in true Aussie style, takes the Mickey out of the Dutch, but in a good-humoured way, (just as we tend to often banter with our neighbours, the Kiwis). Here is a sample of him singing this song to whet your appetite

Of course, Tales After Dark would not be the same without our very talented actors, Adele Lewin, Linda Chen, CJ Carroll, and Cole Hilder, who will also be there to relay stories that have been specially chosen to entertain you.

The beautiful Teatro Vivaldi is the venue, and you can book in for dinner before the show, from 6 pm onwards. The show starts at 7:30 pm and snacks and drinks will be available on the night.

The cost is $40, and you can book through Eventbrite here: http://talesafterdark18thmarch.eventbrite.com.au

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