Amity Dry (Mother, Wife and the Complicated Life) had no plans to write a new show. The deadline for submissions to the Adelaide Fringe Festival was looming, but she planned to give it a miss this year. Then one night, as she was trying to fall asleep, an idea came into her head: 39 Forever. Dry was turning 39 in a few months time. It sounded like a good idea for the title of a show so she wrote it down, then laid back down and tried to sleep.
“Then a few more ideas came into my head and I wrote them down,” said Dry.
The ideas kept coming for the next hour as Dry was trying to fall asleep.
“Eventually, I thought I’m not sleeping, so I got up, got my laptop and sat up in bed until 3 o’clock in the morning,” explained Dry.
“I got up, took the kids to school, then went to a cafe and I wrote all day – from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock – without drawing a breath. Just wrote, wrote, wrote,” said Dry.
She picked up her children from school, got them dinner and then continued to write until 1am. In total, it was 18 hours of writing.
“ I just could not stop writing!”
By the time she had finished this first draft, Amity Dry was confident she had a good show. She found a venue (Gluttony) and pulled together all the submission requirements for the Adelaide Fringe Festival.
Amity Dry then spent the next six months reworking and editing the show, as well as writing two original songs to add to the numerous 80’s songs included in the show.
“It was really like therapy,” Dry laughed.
During that time, Dry turned 39 and her show changed from being “bad, bad, bad, don’t want to turn 39, don’t want to turn 40” to not only coming to terms with this milestone, but also acknowledging the positives.
“In the end, I had something that was very funny and looking at all the reasons why I don’t want to turn 40, but also looking at all the reasons why going to that next stage is quite freeing. In the end I was so happy with the balance of light and shade,” said Dry, adding, “ I don’t just want to do a comedy show, I want to do something that grabs people by the heart as well.”
Although Dry was confident in what she had written, she knows you can’t really tell until you present it to an audience.
“It exceeded all of my expectations and then some!” exclaimed Dry.
Amity Dry originally had five shows scheduled for the Adelaide Fringe Festival, but due to demand, she was asked to do 12 shows.
“Those 12 sold out before we even opened. It was just incredible! So then we added 5 more shows in a venue twice the size and then one of those sold out!”
In the end, 3200 people saw 39 Forever, which is a huge number of ticket sales for any fringe show. Dry did 17 shows in just 14 days.
“If the Fringe hadn’t finished on my final weekend I could have added more shows!”
It certainly has been an amazing start to the year for Amity Dry who now brings 39 Forever to Melbourne’s Chapel Off Chapel.
Amity Dry considers the success of her writing is her honesty.
“Perhaps women aren’t always honest about how they feel, so when someone says it out loud it’s such a relief to know someone else feels like that.”
Audiences loved it. They laughed, they cried.
“I knew I got the balance right,” Dry reflected.
Many of her audiences were fans of her full musical, Mother Wife and the Complicated Life. Following the international success of her musical Mother Wife and the Complicated Life, Amity Dry is busily rewriting the hit show ahead of a workshop in London later this year. It would seem turning 39 hasn’t been too bad after all!
39 Forever opens this week for a limited season at Chapel Off Chapel.