|Performance||8 March, 1987|
|Venue||Swanston St, Melbourne, Melbourne Moomba Festival|
THE LAST WAVE was created by Handspan Theatre commissioned by the City of Melbourne for its entry in the 1987 Moomba Parade.
The Festival theme for 1987 was Moomba Goes to the Movies. Parade entries were required to be based on a film title, and Handspan chose Peter Weir's film, The Last Wave.
The processional production was paraded by almost all of Handspan's members at the time, supplemented by a few close colleagues, as the parade imagery and its articulation demands grew. It was produced for one performance only, but seen by thousands of viewers in Melbourne's main thoroughfare and a television audience of more than a million.
Three floats provided the overall image of waves heading remorselessly to the shoreline. Each float itself carried a continuously animated centrepiece on a platform wheeled by several live operators and was accompanied by a cluster of smaller scale, individually operated images of churning waves. which linked the whole to form the 30 metre-long pageant entry.
Lifesavers represented by animated rows of capped legs led the pageant. A sandcastle float, its ramparts a forest of waving hands, followed. Then, small cityscapes were engulfed over and over again by waves, preceding a huge tin wave that sounded thunderously at it rolled and broke repeatedly. The final image was a Hokusai-style spray of foam and bubbles inside the palm of of a towering upright hand, that crashed open and closed tumbling constantly as it travelled.
The construction of the work and its large scale images required the company to hire an abandoned local corner garage space as temporary workshop space for floats to be built and rehearsed on its oily tarmac and in the neighbouring streets.
On the morning of the parade, 28 performers assembled for rehearsal on the garage driveway and refined their performance on the 3 kilometre walk to the parade starting point in Lygon St Carlton. From there THE LAST WAVE began its 2 kilometre performance through the Melbourne CBD, along Swanston St and across Princes Bridge.The images were large and not easy to operate so that it was an exhausted company that reached the procession's end where THE LAST WAVE was awarded the Mayor's Cup for Most Original Entry.
|Carmelina Di Guglielmo|
|Jack Parker O’May|