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Lisa McCune interview about Girl From the North Country

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“Investigating that world, the way the brain starts to break down and how it can manifest itself by being the great disruptor… I learned to love [my character], she’s very truthful, it’s got such a great heart.

“Seemingly it’s a bleak piece, but in fact you’re left with such hope. Time moves on.”

McCune didn’t come into the show a particular Dylan fan – not that she dislikes his music, but she knew only the famous songs: Like a Rolling Stone, Hurricane, Forever Young, Slow Train.

Discovering more (the show crams in more than 20 Dylan works, dramatically reinterpreted for new voices and instruments) was a sheer pleasure, she says.

It’s also a deep pleasure to be back on stage again, after the long COVID theatre shutdown.

“I just wanted to have an audience connection again,” she says. Even thinking about it makes her feel like she’s going to bawl her eyes out.

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“I wanted to feel what that was like again, and to make sure it didn’t disappear. To go out and say, ‘Hey guys, we’ve still got to go to the theatre’ – a really overwhelming feeling to do that.”

She senses a mirror of her relief and joy in the audiences that rise to their feet after the show’s closing number, the transcendent, spiritual crescendo of Pressing On.

“Shake the dust off of your feet, don’t look back / Nothing now can hold you down, nothing that you lack.”

But, McCune being McCune, she doesn’t want to sound too grand about this.

“Ultimately, we want an audience to have that very simple experience of rocking up to a theatre, hearing the stories, getting something from it… and perhaps if we’re lucky they think about it a couple of days or years later and go, ‘That was such a cool piece of theatre’.”

Girl From the North Country opens Friday and runs until June 2. northcountry.com.au.

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