On a Tuesday night, I fancied myself carved from the pages of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. I cast myself as Gwenda Reed from “Sleeping Murder.” The year was 1951, and I pinned a bakelite Bluebird of Happiness brooch to my coat lapel. I swapped The Duchess of Malfi for “Coppélia” because this was fantasy, and made for the Palais Theatre in St Kilda. And true to the liberties of daydream, 1951 rolled into both 1962, when the Australian Ballet first performed “Coppélia”during its inaugural season, and 1979, when founding artistic director Peggy van Praagh and former theatre director George Ogilvie revived the production.
Ako Kondo in the Australian Ballet's “Coppélia.” Photograph by Jeff Busby