Augustine: The Way – Tony Macpherson on Radio YYY

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Tony Macpherson, the composer of Augustine: The Way, was recently interviewed on YYY radio station in relation to the upcoming stage performances.

Augustine: The Way is a story of LOVE, LOSS and LIBERATION in captivating song performances.

This true story is set towards the end of the Roman Empire era and ties into Australian history.

The Augustinian Order has a long history in education reaching back 700 years. A love of learning and pursuit of understanding are hallmarks of the Order, which Villanova, a college in Brisbane, Australia, has made part of its character since day one.

The stage production will be Performed by SIMON HYLAND (Hot Shoe Shuffle, The Boy from Oz, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Hair the Musical, the movie South Pacific) and SAMANTHA SHAW (London West End Singer and Actor Les Miserables, Oliver!, The Beggar’s Opera, Little Shop of Horrors, The Wizard of Oz).

This fascinating story will take you on an all-consuming journey of rapturous musical performance. A concert of class and broad appeal!

YYY Radio Interview Transcript:

Brian: Brian and Peter with you on the Band Programme, ready to do our usual carry-on, but today is a special day. It’s special because we’re into Augustine The Way, courtesy of Tony McPherson, who’s written songs and has a glorious story to tell about his Augustinian connection. My connection with Augustine was rather simpler and more primitive from years in religion.
Peter: Isn’t that a surprise, ladies and gentlemen?
Brian: And so this was for me, some of the music I’ve heard, Peter’s composed music on Augustine, and it’s magnificent stuff. You’ll hear some of it shortly.
Peter: Fortunately the parts I’ve composed are in the breaks between the songs, and we’ve got Tony here who’s actually composed everything, so welcome Tony.
Tony: Thank you Peter, thank you Brian.
Peter: Now Tony has got a wonderful story that kind of mimics in a way Augustine’s life. He was a wild child, both Tony and Augustine in the early times. So Tony, you produced a show called “The Way: Love, Loss, and Liberation.” You’ve not only produced it, you’ve written all the songs, all the tunes. So obviously in your early days you must have been a very musical person?
Tony: Not at all.
Peter: Not at all.
Tony: Never been in a music class Peter, I’d never studied music or played an instrument, I often say I only played the fill.
Peter: Played the fill huh?
Tony: And I was good at it.
Peter: I imagined you would have been. So tell us about your early life a little bit-
Tony: I was a wonderful life, I grew up on the amazing Brisbane South side, and really ventured North.
Peter: Amazing in South side?
Tony: Yes at Wynnum the capital of Brisbane.
Peter: Wynnum , that’s [inaudible 00:02:00] Tony: Had a great education, so I went to guardian angels, taught by the sisters of mercy. And into Iona college Lindum, taught by the Oblates. And it truly was an outstanding education, I think I-
Brian: But no Augustine in sight yet?
Tony: No, definitely not.
Brian: Right and you’d be by now you’re a 12 year old urchin, or how old would you be?
Tony: I don’t know about an urchin, I was a spiny creature I suppose that spent a lot of time in the mud and salt water but not really an urchin-
Brian: And age about, we’re up to what now?
Tony: At Iona I left school at 16, with the oblates. And then off to university to study science and mathematics.
Brian: Right, still a long long way from Augustine?
Tony: Yes, however I had a great logic teacher Bob Callon. And we spoke a bit at school about philosophy. And so then after I finished university and started teaching I decided to lecture in logic and philosophy at night to adults. So then I mentioned a little about Augustine, I had read just a little. But the theoretical side, so he spoke about the nature of evil and other concepts too.
Brian: So no Augustine really and no music still, and you’re well on the way, I’m intrigued at all this.
Tony: I did enjoy music. My dear mum Lorie Mcpherson she passed away recently. She had a lovely voice.
Brian: I’m sorry.
Tony: Thank you. She had a beautiful voice and she would often sing at home and so we would buy Perry Como records and Jerry Vale and Frank Sinatra. So would sing along to those songs-[crosstalk 00:03:55] Peter: So there was a love of music but not a quite ability to produce music?
Tony: No, I’d just sing along to Jenson, I love rock and roll too. I liked music, but no I didn’t have the patience to go on to … In fact my cousin Jeff Dickson, who had told a lot about Villanova. He went there as a boy, he had to study the piano, and I’d be at his place. And he’d have to do his practise. And I thought, “What a torture.”
Peter: Scales and scales and scales. The best scales are on fish aren’t they really?
Tony: I would agree with you.
Peter: Yes. Now-
Tony: We better not start fishing stories or I’ll be here all day.
Peter: Non of it will be true, will it?
Tony: We’ve caught some pretty big fish actually, but that’s another story-
Brian: So get on there then.
Peter: Oh behave yourself. Anyway so I love music, I always loved music but couldn’t play at all. My grandfather used to play the piano by ear, but he had very big ears.
Tony: He would have had to, I was just thinking that.
Peter: The biggest band yes. Anyway sorry about that-
Tony: No I like that, that’s cool.
Peter: So you went teaching?
Tony: I did yes.
Peter: And I understand that you had a bit of car trouble that you got your students to help you with.
Tony: I did, my first job was up in Mackay at an all girls school. A really good school, I made some great friends there. One fella in particular that worked there, then went with me to Bob Callon school. John Cromby is a life long friend, John and Mary.
Peter: Tremendous.
Tony: But yeah my engine blew up on the way, my [inaudible 00:05:38] so I took the old engine into school, into my year 12 chemistry class. There were 7 girls in that class, so yeah I put the engine on the floor and the girls-
Brian: Everyone does that in chemistry.
Tony: Correct, combustion, organic chemistry that’s right Brian-
Brian: It’s a bit of a stretch.
Tony: So I showed them the black from the combustion on the head of the engine when we took it off and yes so-
Brian: There’s the chemistry yes.
Tony: Pistons out and whatnots. We did that and beer brewing, and photography. I set up a photographic dark room there and taught them many things, and spliced it all into chemistry yes.
Peter: So were you using a fair number of education principals with the kids in the [inaudible 00:06:29] Tony: Yeah well just anything to make education interesting. So when children see something that is relevant, the chemistry in a dark room, the chemistry of combustion, the chemistry of fermentation. Knowledge seems worthwhile if you can see an application of it.
Peter: Yes very-
Brian: I’m still intrigued how you can spread a whole engine out in a chemistry lab, and have the kids helping you piece it together.
Tony: Actually an engine is really very simple, it’s just a connection of very simple parts. So there are just two bolts that hold the bottom of a piston onto the crankshaft. And once a girl knows how to use a sidchrome spanner, she can literally pull apart an engine.
Brian: So those 8 girls were very busy?
Tony: Yes, but I do the same with the class that I’ve got now, I take away and cut away four strock engines, real engines and show them how they work, still in chemistry class yes.
Peter: Okay so you went from a car and they obviously fixed up your car and given you your home brew-
Tony: I had also got them to bog it up it was full of rust. So when I was teaching polimers, I took the girls outside to my car because it had so much rust in it, living the base side on Winamp everything rusts. So it’s literary turning back into how God made it, ferric oxide. So I had a lot of ferric oxide. It was well on the way returning to God’s original condition of the iron.
Peter: And so I got the girls to take your car away from God?
Tony: Well not quite, I wouldn’t put it like that Pete, but I did show them how to cut rust out and mix up the fibreglass filler and put it back in the car-
Peter: That would have been unheard of in chemistry class as I would imagine.
Brian: Or in any classroom, this beats me, I’ve been a teacher most of my life. I’ve never seen this kind of carry on.
Tony: I did it most at my schools, would buy old wrecks, one car I bought off a teacher, Mike Ryan at Villanova for a carton of stubbies. another one I bought for a six pack from fellow teacher Rage Allen. So I always thought if you want something decent, it’s worth paying the extra aid in studies.
Peter: Well yes [crosstalk 00:09:07] Tony: I have rebuilt many cars with students over the years spray painting, panel beating.
Brian: So move on from the cars Pete. We want to close that-
Peter: Well no I’m interested-
Brian: To Augustine-
Peter: Because as I understand, well no, you listen to this as I understand Augustine played up a lot when he was young and part of that playing up involved alcohol. Now we’ve got turning on the home brew, turning with the car-
Tony: At the moment ladies and gentlemen, we are just drinking water.
Peter: Very good. You’re not trying to turn it into wine at all?
Tony: I can write good music and and I’m not that writing good music.
Brian: Okay so towards that writing good music, that’s the bit that intrigues me even more than pulling together a car on the floor of the chemistry lab and wondering what mother superior is gonna make of all that.
Peter: I’m sure she was intrigued. Okay. You’re in Mackay.
Tony: Yeah mother superior was very happy actually said to me-
Brian: She’s an enlightened woman.
Tony: Yes she was sister Mary Stella, a great boss and she told me later, she said, “You know, Tony, I often have to drive from Mackay down to the Rockhampton Diocese and it’s a long way.
Brian: It’s a long hike.
Tony: And she said to me, “You know, having the girls knows something mechanically, particularly up here in Mackay, a big lonely [inaudible 00:10:30] she could see great value in that.”
Peter: Very wise lady.
Brian: Yeah, she’s an enlightened wise lady.
Peter: Now you ended up in Villanova. How did you get from Mackay?
Tony: Well, I drove, but it was completely by accident. I first did a few years with Bob Collan, at St Peter Claver, another amazing Catholic school of Brisbane. So I was there in the very early days with Bob helping set up the school and then after that, a bit of time at Seton college within Nolan and then Villanova completely by accident. So my wife noticed the job in the paper, but I wasn’t even looking for a job at the time.
Brian: And the job was?
Tony: Well the job was to teach science and mathematics-
Brian: Which was right in your line?
Tony: Yes, indeed. So I’ve been fascinated with science, the order of things, so I’ve had my own little museum as a child and dissected animals at home and had my own chemistry lab. And just fascinated with science and mathematics. Definitely not music, I didn’t go to Villa to-
Brian: Not a trace of music yet?
Tony: No, nothing yet.
Peter: And you started working there?
Tony: Yes.
Peter: A kind of happenstance and effect of the ad just showing up and your wife saying, “Oh, Villanova is looking for someone.”
Tony: An amazing feeling Peter and Brian, when I walked in. I met Father Laurie Mooney an Augustinian priest. And then there were many Augustinians so I was very fortunate, 34 years ago to work in that community. It was beautiful. I lived in the home that we now call Langlands, but it didn’t look anything like that, the verandas were enclosed. But we would go into their home every day and sit around one table, priests and lang staff together. So when I first walked into the school, I had this sense that I had arrived home.
Brian: I mean home. Yeah, that’s magic.
Tony: It felt to me like a home from the first couple of minutes I was there.
Peter: What’s home mean in that way to you?
Tony: A place of love I often call it an Isis of love and learning for indeed it was. Yeah. They were very intellectual, very clever men. Villanova was outstanding school when it was set up by the Augustinians father Hanrahan. An early rector lectured at University of Queensland, at a time when there were teachers around Queensland who could become a teacher as a cadet, you know, 15, 16 years of age, very little training the Augustinian priests were all degreed men. So an outstanding education. And they have universities around the world and well known as men of great learning.
Brian: What was the Villanova breakdown of staff. So how many were Augustinian priests, and how many were-
Tony: The school was much smaller then, not so much smaller in student number because then everybody worked. Well, I shouldn’t put it like that, but-
Peter: It sounds a bit suspicious.
Tony: Well these days you know, you’ve got administrators to look after the administrators. In the early days of Villanova, the whole school with 800 students was run out of a biscuit tin.
Brian: And how many Augustinian priests?
Tony: There were about a dozen when I started.
Brian: And how many of you got of late people?
Tony: Yeah-
Brian: About a dozen again?
Tony: No maybe a little bit more than that number, twenty five.
Brian: Right so the Augustinians were a real presence weren’t they? [crosstalk 00:14:35] Tony: Very real presence, a presence that you more than feel. I remember one day my wife Maryanne, my beautiful wife Maryanne. She’d been ill for a little while and I was walking to class one day and one of the priest just came up to me, looked deeply in my eyes, put his arm out on my shoulder and just looked at me and he said, “We were praying for you and Mary.” Just walking to class-
Brian: Out of nowhere?
Tony: Yeah. So we had a sense of real belonging that we were loved, no matter what. [crosstalk 00:15:18] and there were a lot of fellas there in their twenties. We played up like secondhand lawn mowers. So but they still. We knew that we were loved.
Peter: There was a certain twinkle in his eyes that really underlines that playing up like second hand lawn mowers doesn’t it?
Tony: Even as second hand lawn mower can be fixed Peter.
Peter: It can be if you’ve got the girls there to work at for you. But was there, you know, like how you found Villanova as a home. Was there an awakening at all in their life as far as after being there for that long?
Tony: Well bit by bit, I heard more about Augustine. So after three years with Father Laurie Mooney, Father Pete Winneke came along and Father Pete and I have since gone over with other Augustinians over to the holy land. But in Pete’s time there. There was something rather remarkable that happened and completely by accident. And that’s how, again, how I stumbled into this industry.
Peter: So you’d better tell us about your accident then.
Tony: Well, one day, just completely out of the blue I started humming a tune, a very peaceful tune, almost like a mantra. And I’d lived a very high paced life. So slept little. I was a runner, running marathons and running another business and teaching, I love teaching,
Peter: So no stop time, no reflection or mediation.
Tony: Very little. I was a deep thinker, but this tune, this very calm, peaceful, meditative tune that I had no input of my own into it’s generation. It just arrived and so I hummed it over for weeks and weeks and weeks, and then one day Peter and Brian, it sounds like Jed Clampett but you know that. Then one day my eyes caught the words of St Augustine and those words, instantly I saw as fitting this beautiful tune.
Brian: That is extraordinary.
Peter: And what were those words?
Tony: Well Augustine had written. I have learned to love you like I lowered your beauty ancient yet so new. And another passage. Our hearts are restless until I find rest in you.
Brian: And those words just bedded down with the tune you were humming in your head?
Tony: Yes they did Brian, but interestingly, if you read the original text in Latin, we don’t have the same number of syllables. It doesn’t rhyme. So I now see it looking back, certainly as the hand of God, I had no, there was no-
Brian: Manipulation or control.
Tony: Yeah. So definitely as divine inspiration to produce that first piece and one other piece. Everything else has been a lot of hard but very enjoyable work.
Peter: If we just go back a bit now, if I was humming a tune, a tune came in my head, the only words that’d probably pop out for me from or you know, the local paper or whatever. So why was it Augustine who popped out at you the words there, what exposure where you given to that?
Tony: Well, living daily with the Augustinian priests, dining with them and walking into their home and knowing sometimes when one of them is healed you’re walking past his room in the middle of the day and then night time parent teacher nights, they would always invite us back. Augustinians are famous for hospitality. They really love to be with the people.
Peter: They love to party is that because of their founder?
Tony: I think because of their good hearts and spirit, Augustine himself really promoted community life as opposed to trying to go it alone, you know, being in solitude. So I had absorbed just by living with these wonderful men what Augustine must have been like himself with his community. And every person there felt it. Every parent that came along to that school, you could see that they just, they loved being part of that very rich community. So I had absorbed some of that as well, more than absorbed it
Peter: Had just started reading about him at that point?
Tony: Certainly after the first revelation I did, I was quite stunned by it that this would happen, but I also felt it was my duty to share it. So our wonderful singer. Here’s another thing that I had no, absolutely no control over. So I had this old serviette with all his scribble on it and I went up to Simon Hyland a singer, a fantastic singer in my year 11 math class. So I got that serviette with all the scribble on it. That was my lesson plan, I put that to one side. I said, “Look at this other serviette Simon.”
Peter: It’s much more, it’s something about your education, but look at this.
Tony: So Simon is with me still. And we sat together and in next to no time I could sing to him. And he understood. He picked up the passion, he picked up and understood the feeling that I had when I first heard the tune. So he has encapsulated and he just happened to be there in that class but again, I look back now there’s no such thing as these coincidences.
Brian: So he put notated music for you?
Tony: Well, I could sing him a tune and I still do-
Peter: So you had the tune in your head there?
Tony: Yeah, I can pick the tune and then Simon could play the piano and then yes, create the arrangement. And so he’s been with me for 26 years, right up to James Morrison studios. Simon and I sitting together onstage. We, Chat, you know, we’ve spoken several times on the phone this week and yeah. So I sent him a song in Latin and we’d chat about and yeah, he was arrangements with me still.
Brian: Some of your songs are in Latin?
Tony: Well, the rule of St Augustine is exquisitely beautiful.
Brian: And that’s all in Latin.
Tony: The original. Well Augustine wrote in Latin. Yes. And so I’ve put parts of the rule to a song and it’s not on this album that album’s just a. small snapshot. So that tells a particular story. But in total there’s more than 40 songs.
Brian: Yeah I was going to say a small snapshot with over 40 songs is one hell of a small snapshot.
Tony: Well, it’s been 26 years and I’m still writing Peter and Brian, I’m still going there. But yes, back to the Latin. You’ll hear that at the show on June first and second at the Hanrahan theatre. Seven o’clock in two weeks’ time. You’ll hear that song with the oboe. It’s a beautiful piece. It’s going to be performed by Sampson Highland, Lo and behold, Simon’s son.
Peter: Oh, there you go. Well done.
Tony: And oboe as well.
Brian: So tell us more about that show that’s coming up in June.
Tony: Well, the show features all of these tracks plus more, so this album titled Songs of Love, Loss and liberation, Augustine the way.
Brian: Augustine the way.
Tony: Yes. The aim of the show is to let people see and know Augustine the man. So when you read this book, his magnificent autobiography, confessions, he speaks so openly from the heart and it’s like I’m talking to my next door neighbour. There’s parts of this that I’ve read hundreds of times. It is such beautiful intimate writing. So what I’ve attempted to do is to take that intimate encounter with this man and bring it to the stage. Now Augustine was brilliant and he has articulated many aspects of church doctrine. However, I want to bring it about that encounter with the man. So what could they expect to see on the show? His love, his losses, His ultimate liberation and resolution.
Brian: So you designed the sequence of events to highlight that or how did you get that on stage?
Tony: Well, I did deliberate about the love part for some time, but how I get it on stages with the love, he was a wild young fellow. You read about his days in Carthage, he calls Carthage, a cauldron of lust, and it’s great fodder for song. So I’ve written a very raunchy song using Augustine words, in fact, his saxophone, the perfect instrument to describe his teenage desire. So he talks so graphically and honestly, so then he meets a woman and he couldn’t wait to be in love. He was in love with the idea of being in love, so his passions alighted upon this woman at 17, and he moved in with her much to the distress of his dear mother Monica, who prayed nonstop for him.
Brian: Nonstop, day and night for her wayward son.
Tony: And drenched the ground with tears. So the love part, I show the seduction on stage. Augustine ultimately came to the conclusion that he knew that he should convert, but his prayer was, Lord save me, but not just yet. So on stage, people who come to the show are going to see a beautiful, young, vibrant woman attempting to Seduce Augustine. So I’ve put that to song, but also his famous prayer, Lord save me, but not yet. These sins of the flesh are pretty good.
Brian: Yes, he’s having one wild of a time at college.
Tony: He was indeed and all the time, so still on the theme of love. I’ve pinned songs for Monica and one song in particular, Monica’s Song, which shows that never ending love of the mother she never ever gave up. And in fact, in that song enshrined in that I’ve used the words of the bishop that she went to, she went to the bishop in desperation and he said, “Don’t worry, the tears of a loving mother will not go unnoticed.” So that’s the love part.
Brian: It’s a great line yap.
Tony: Yes.
Peter: Okay. So we have Augustine and the carnage in-
Brian: Carthage.
Peter: In Carthage. But we also have Augustine with this idea of Lord. I’ll come back to you at some stage, but not yet. So he must’ve had some kind of grounding in teaching about God.
Tony: Well, whilst he had this desire to be with a woman and earthly desires too. He had great ambition. I see him also as a very good man on the road to truth. So he studied Cicero. He really wanted to understand, there was a sect S-E-C-T as opposed to what we were chatting about earlier. There was a sect that he joined, and it seemed to provide some of the answers, but he has wonderful intellect. He was able to probe their writings and their teachings and he could expose it for what it was, empty words, and so he kept pursuing truth.
Peter: So just as you like getting to the order of things and[inaudible 00:29:21] he was trying to work out his own order as he was going along.
Tony: That’s a great way of putting it. Yes. And in fact, you know, I’ve brought these coins along, that one was minted in 354. So he was born into the greatness of the Roman Empire. And this one means it in 375. This one has got a picture of Valentinian the second, the boy emperor. So to understand how great an auditor and thinker he was, he’s in the court of the emperor and he later said he told lies for the emperor. But here he is. You know, if you can’t be emperor, what’s the next best thing to be the emperor’s mouthpiece, mighty Roman empire. And there is Augustine. So in terms of ambition, you see, this is where I see it as every man’s story. You can clamour for prestige and position women, whatever in your life, but it won’t give you true happiness. And that’s the thing that Augustine came to realise. Lord, why will you never be content? So he’s in this tarrent, these agony, and he realises his liberation is necessary.
Peter: Okay. So he’s got the love of the flesh. He’s got the love of the partying, he’s got the power needs in effect, matched with his aritrey for the emperor. And he’s got the never lasting or never ending sorry love of Monica coming through, but something must’ve happened to kick him into the kind of liberation and you speak of loss in the show is that where that happens?
Tony: Well there are losses on many fronts. So the woman that he was with, and interestingly in these early days, even when he wasn’t a firm believer in God, he named his illegitimate son who was born at the age of, when Augustine was 18, he named him Adeodatus, latin for gift from God. So in terms of loss, the mother Adeodatus she left in her late twenties, she left, she had to go away and she left Augustine with that son. Now Augustine was in agony after her departure and he wrote about it. So he then went and got engaged to another woman. She was too young to be married. So he had to wait. So while he was waiting for his fiance to be old enough, he then took on with another woman, but this was not giving him fulfilment. So his ambition, his needs, no.
Tony: And so the loss for the resolution of that, there is this very dramatic scene, in a garden where he’s in tears, he’s in torment, and he hears children singing a game and he later described it. He said he’d never heard them playing this game before. And they’re singing tolle et lege. Latin for take and read. He had never heard those words. So he took that as a sign and he went to the Bible, he opened it up and there was St Paul’s words, not in your revelry, nor in your drunkenness. Put on the Lord make way to me. And in an instant he saw those words were talking to him.
Brian: Yeah. And you somehow have found a way to put this on stage?
Tony: Yes, indeed. So I’ve written, I’ve coauthored now with St Paul’s. So those words of St Paul are in there, the words of King David, he later prayed to King David on his death bed. So there’s two reasons why I like writing with Augustine, St Paul on King David. First up they’re not gonna chase me up for royalties.
Brian: No royalties involved.
Tony: Yes.
Peter: And namedropping too, by the way.
Tony: The second thing and far more importantly, Brian and Peter, is that they all have something wonderful to say. So yes, I’ve brought the words, I’ve people. Back to what you were saying, Brian, what could people see on the stage? What would it be like? They will see this very confronting time in the garden and I’ve used Augustine exact words. There are some of the songs on this album where every single song has in fact been written. Every single word has been written by Augustine, so they will see, they’ll hear the take and read in Latin and him breaking down at this great point of liberation.
Brian: So when you actually got down to writing the script and the screen, and setting up the incident that you wanted to portray on stage, you’ve gone through a whole creative thing here haven’t you? That seems Adeodatus major cast to me.
Tony: Augustine left over 5 million of his words. So just one of these books, the great city of God, it’s as big as the complete works of William Shakespeare. And he had a couple of hundred books. So yes, it’s an enormous task.
Brian: So your content saying hugely aren’t you, like this must be a work of art just to condense into something presented well on stage.
Tony: Yes it is. And also the quality of what Simon does. He’s a real master of his craft. So he’s a professional musician and stage showman, so he’s been in all the big shows, you know. His magnificent bio.
Brian: So he’s got an orchestra lined up there and help try this, does he?
Tony: Oh, we’ve got. Well two piano, we’ll use on stage piano, oboe, but long term we are attracting more and more people. So I’ve got a world class violinist who will be in subsequent shows with us. He’s joined by Samantha Shaw from London, West End. She’s outstanding. So she’s been in all the big shows in London. So Les Miz. So you’re going to hear wonderful singers. So Samson yes. From Opera Australia’s production of common, from sound of music. So you’ll hear great musicians pull-
Brian: It sounds like a six hour show.
Tony: Well the eventual show, the largest show that we are taking to the world will be much bigger than this one. But what I’ve done with this one is to also salute the wonderful Augustinian heritage of Villanova. So I’ve got picked. I met the first rector who started 70 years ago a Ben O’donnell. He walked into my class one day. So yeah, I have pictures of the Augustinian priests from the past that have contributed so much to that wonderful college.
Peter: Okay. So it’s a very high quality of what you’re presenting there?
Tony: It’s outstanding. In fact, there’s this wonderful marketing person that had a look at it and she said, “Tony, you’re too cheap.” Not me personally, but the show-
Peter: She had forgot you have been through the loss and liberation so you weren’t cheap anymore.
Brian: Well, for such an x writer, brilliant performance, that sounds, yeah, you could charge the world for this one.
Tony: Brian it’s not all X rated but it is, and a number of the Augustinian priests have shared this with me. They’ve, Pete Winike describes it as emotionally provocative and very true to the story of Augustine. So that’s what I’ve tried to be, to be truthful to the story of this great man, but also to do it in such a way that it brings it to the big audience. Many people will never read city of God. Many will never read confessions, but in the space of a couple of hours they can come along, drink some great wine and chat with their friends, meet a great cast, a world class set of show people and see a story that is every mother’s story, the love of a mother for her child.
Brian: Yeah, that’s great. Give us some detail on when and where this is on again?
Tony: It’s on at Villanova College. They have an outstanding performance theatre there. The Hanrahan theatre is a very high quality theatre-
Brian: Do we need to book or can we just roll out?
Tony: Yes indeed, well our first show is sold out. So the Matnhaye we have 500 for that one already. So we’ve got Friday night, the first of June, Saturday night, the second of June, and there’s still tickets available for those.
Brian: [inaudible 00:39:26] Peter: There’s two classes of tickets I understand or to experiences you can get, one the straight show and they are $35 I think?
Tony: No only 25.
Peter: $25. How’s that ladies and gentlemen?
Tony: Which is pretty cheap.
Peter: It’s very cheap. If you want to meet the cast, if you want a drink of some beautiful wine. What price is that ticket?
Tony: There is what they call the VIP experience, but it’s on the details. Yeah, that’s a little bit more expensive, $85 that involves, you know, a bit of history, lecture, looking at coins. But yes, it’s a meet and greet as well.
Peter: Well, you say, I mean, you continuing your education, obviously your educative process with letting people have a look at this man in such a varied way. So many people might want to come along to the intensive VIP one, to learn much more.
Tony: Well they might, but if they don’t have too much money, that’s fine too.
Peter: So that-
Tony: Oh welcome.
Peter: Thanks very much. So. Now we haven’t talked much about the liberation of this guy. So tell us a bit about that?
Tony: Well, the liberation is wonderful. His mother, Monica, on her death bed, he had already converted. And so she had said to him, “I’ve lived long enough, I’m happy to go.” She said that at 56. So she lived long enough to witness these liberation and you’ll see her die onstage in Augustine’s arms with Adeodatus at his side. So prior to that, his liberation, which I’ve described in the garden, when he hears those words, tolle et lege he reads, and then he becomes a formidable character in the Catholic church.
Brian: Well he’s enlightened, and he is reformed it says there he’s full of grace of God.
Tony: He is indeed full of the grace of God, but he calls himself still, you know, almost a baby in the woods on this earth. So he wants to learn everything. He had already started studying scripture, but he also wants to be with like minded people. And in fact his preference would be simply to just be with a loving community studying, talking. And in his early days post-conversion, he had no inkling of where that conversion was going to take him.
Brian: Right.
Peter: So in the show we’ll see a little bit more of where it takes him?
Tony: Well, with respect to the liberation in his community, he articulates how he would like the people, his group to live. He articulates that they should live in community and share their positions, and he articulates principles in the rule of equitable distribution so that if somebody comes and they have more than someone else, that it’s their duty to hand over their goods and share and he articulates that each should be given according to his need. So he also says very early in the real that that community ought to be of one heart and one mind together on the way to God. So in Latin, that’s cor unum anima una you know. So, yeah, I’ve put that to songs in Latin.
Brian: Yep.
Peter: It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it Brian?
Brian: Yeah, I’m not sure. How do you buy a ticket to this thing?
Peter: I’d say you go to a website myself and I would think that that website is-
Brian: The way, go to the way.
Peter: And you’ll have the details, there are pictures of Simon there so you can see what a quite 11 from Villanova has grown into.
Brian: And Friday the first of June. You’re not giving us much time to get organised.
Tony: I know you can do a lot in two weeks.
Peter: You can do it.
Tony: I mean look what Augustine did in 10 minutes in a garden-
Brian: That’s true in a garden with just only one Bible.
Tony: And I presume that this is on your website too, so listeners could click onto your great website, which I’ve seen myself.
Peter: And I’ll put a link in there tonight. It’s not quite there yet, but I’ll put a link in there tonight and we’ll get it pointing to it.
Tony: And that flyer that’s there. Then that dark flyer they’ll see that it describes the show us the way. And when you go to the website you’ll see photos of Simon Highland, Samantha Shaw and Carolyn Malvina, just a few of the performance that you’ll see on the night. And it also lists some of the performances that they’ve been into.
Brian: I think I should have made it for two weeks or two months by the sound of all of this [inaudible 00:45:10]. That sounds a brilliant show.
Peter: You’ve heard there’s more to come haven’t you? This is a precursor to-
Brian: This is a precursor.
Tony: There is more to come and, but there is a lot in this. So even after his liberation, the way this show is organised in the two acts, you’re going to see Monica and the lover, the two central women in his life. I’ve wanted to salute those women
Brian: Right?
Tony: And you’ll see them in two acts. So when a lover goes, she is so upset as well, and she vowed to never love another man again. So the song on the album, are you missing me? That will be performed and it’s not uncommon in the audience to see people cry. It is a very-
Brian: It’s powerful stuff.
Tony: It is a very moving story. Yeah. And a great experience listening to this, this is on Itunes, Augustine the way, songs of love loss and liberation theory.
Brian: The songs are quite-
Tony: By Tony Macpherson and Simon Hyland, but it’s another experience to see it live and to see the actors portraying the emotion as they sing. So it brings a richness to the music in dramatic performance.
Peter: That’ll be very good to see.
Brian: That sounds excellent. Yes.
Peter: And I imagined on Itunes, people are there to see the artwork of your cover?
Tony: Yes, I’m a painter as well, so yes. So this is a quite dramatic, the CD you’ve probably known as has got a beautiful feel to it, the cover and it’s a piece of art in itself. It was put together with more than a pinch of love.
Peter: Okay. Well Look, ladies and gentlemen on Itunes, you’ll be able to see that I might be able to get a picture up on the web with a link to your site. But I just wanted to thank you Tony for coming in-
Tony: It’s been a pleasure Peter. Thank you so much.
Peter: Yes a pleasure for us too.
Brian: Thank you and-
Tony: Yes thank you Brian.
Peter: Wonderful to hear about your show and I hope a million people come along to the June first and June second at the Villanova College-
Tony: I hope they don’t-
Brian: I would be embarrassing Peter.
Tony: We might run out of wine Peter.
Brian: It wouldn’t be the wine. It’d be bums on seats I’d be worrying about.
Peter: You’ve got Augustine scene, you’ve got a water supply. You’ll be fine with the wine. Okay. Ladies and gentlemen, another bam programme for you. Very enjoyable to have Tony here today, so thank you Tony as we wind up.
Brian: Yes thanks indeed Tony-
Tony: It’s been a pleasure and I encourage your listeners to come along and have a think. It will open your eyes, but more importantly your hearts to give you a glimpse of this wonderful character in history who’s left such a rich legacy for us all. Thank you.
Peter: Excellent thank you Tony.

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