The opening night of the musical comedy, “Marg Szkaluba (Pissy’s Wife)” was a triumph. Wendy Herbert and Bill Paige, under the capable direction of Teri Fitsell, staged the first English language live theatre performance in Hua Hin at Le Pub last night, with extremely positive feedback from the sold-out crowd lucky enough to have snaffled tickets.
This is not the first time that Wendy has undertaken this one-woman performance, Marg having been previously conjured into existence by Wendy in Hong Kong in 2009. Wendy, a Hua Hin local who self-identifies as an Australasian, has lived and worked in numerous Asian countries although she is technically a New Zealander by birth and an Australian by choice.
Acting in a one-woman piece of theatre is a boost to any acting career as the claim of being the lead actor is hard to refute, and this role seemed to fit Wendy like a glove. Wendy’s stagecraft combines her innate talent with her studies at the Australian Film Television and Radio school. Although Wendy is known as an all-round good guy in the local ex-pat community, this role allowed her to completely slough off her own persona and let us into Marg’s most intimate thoughts, feelings and needs.
As the wife of an oafish and abusive Australian farmer from the late 1950s to the 1970s, Marg has a harsh life and can often be found out standing in the field, alone both physically and emotionally. Wendy is mesmerising as, piece by piece, Marg “spills her guts” to the audience. We keenly feel her miniscule self-esteem, her subjugation to her husband and his church, and the dawning of awareness that the only person who can free her from a life without amazement is herself.
It is no exaggeration to use those very same words in reference to Wendy’s craft,”outstanding in the field”. Wendy’s performance of both the monologue and the songs was masterful, her voice capturing the essential twang of the country music style. Bill Paige, a long- time musician and music journalist, in the role of Mad Dog, ably assists Wendy in facilitating the telling of Marg’s story, with both his guitar and vocal accompaniments. And a backroom of supporters and organisers made this event seamless.
Written by Canadian, Ron Chambers with songs by Paul Morgan David, this theatre piece is clearly close to Wendy’s heart. She believes it captures a poignant yet universal moment when we all wonder how the heck we ended up where we did, and if there might be something more to life than we have been told. And the audience lapped it up, due to Wendy’s ability to maintain the fine balance of pathos and humour. Wendy is well-known to locals for her personal brand of self-deprecating humour, her recent videos of her attempts to master the hula hoop, published on her FB, springing to mind.
Wendy Herbert’s favourite quote, “Fortune favours the brave” applies seemingly equally to her wish to bring the gift of live English theatre to Hua Hin and also to Marg as she struggles to finds the courage to break free from her loveless marriage to actually live her life.
If you are lucky, there may still be a few tickets available for the next performance. Be quick. Tickets are only 290 Baht with proceeds going to charity and can be purchased on the Marg Szkaluba – Pissy’s Wife Facebook page or directly here – https://www.eventbee.com/v/marg-szkaluba-pissys-wife/event?eid=275109503