Zahra Newman and Bert LaBonté on stage in 'The Mountaintop'. Photo: Jeff Busby

Camae's Coat

From time to time, our supporters and audience members very generously offer vintage wardrobe items that they’ve found or inherited and no longer have use for. While we feel very blessed to receive these precious items, the greatest treasure to us is often learning the story behind the items themselves.

One of our Leading Patrons, Pinky Watson, recently gifted three fabulous furs that had belonged to her late mother. A former Californian, Pinky now resides in Melbourne and, like her mother before her, is a dedicated theatre lover – she has been coming to MTC for many years.

When Pinky’s mother’s coats arrived at MTC, our Wardrobe staff were so impressed that they displayed them in the work room to enjoy for a while before carefully storing them, perhaps for years; fur is rarely used at MTC. Incredibly, within a month they were on stage! The Mountaintop Director Alkinos Tsilimidos saw the exquisite sable jacket and knew it would be perfect for his vision of Camae.

Having seen The Mountaintop on opening night, Pinky says she was moved by the performance and thrilled to meet and talk with the lovely Zahra Newman after the show. Pinky even tells us that Barbara, the woman who looked after her mother, had many similarities with Camae. When Barbara went home to visit her family in a ghetto in Oakland, California, she would take Pinky’s mother along, dressed in the sable coat.

“This was a regular occurrence. Barbara actually took her to jazz clubs, wheelchair and all,” Pinky said. “We have photos of Mum sitting in the living room of Barbara’s sister, surrounded by black people, young and old, and laughing her head off. We think Barbara kept our mother more alive than any medication ever did. Barbara could have been that Camae in fact. Feisty and REALLY funny.”

Pinky and Brett
Leading Patron Pinky Watson and MTC Artistic Director Brett Sheehy

Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop, starring Bert LaBonté and Zahra Newman, must close on 18 December. If you haven’t yet seen the show, be quick!

Published on 11 December 2013