Okay. Here's the thing. I have a bit of a problem with the whole 'biography' blurb. It feels awkward to me. However, since you've made the effort, and hey-you're here now, so....where to begin?
Like most kids, my aptitude for playing dress-up and pretending to be someone was apparent from an early age. I remember being determined to beat the boys in racing to the dress-up box in kindergarten, as in there resided a Batman costume that was fiercely contested over. Many times VICTORY WAS MINE, and I got to parade around in the coolest costume that was hip and happening in kindergarten, pretending to be the dark crusader.
I grew up with my siblings in the outback opal-mining town of Andamooka (it's okay if you've never heard of it, most people haven't). My parents, being new immigrants, thought they might find some opal and strike it rich (they didn't). Instead, they ended up falling in love with the freedom of living in Andamooka and the unique "European" community that had sprung up in the desert. Andamooka was so remote in those days that it was a 12 hour drive to the nearest major city. On an unsealed road, best described as a rough track, making the trek to Adelaide in summer holidays required leaving at 3:00am (too hot to travel in the day with no A/C in the car) and carrying lots of spare tires to cope with the inevitable blowouts!
The wonderful thing about living in such a remote community was that we grew up with no television. Instead, we were lucky enough to have a movie screen at the Community Hall and a local Drive-In. My father was the projectionist for both locations, and my brother, sister and I would go (along with most of the townsfolk) to the Community Hall for the movie on Friday night and to the Drive-In on Saturday night for the double feature. Packed to capacity, I can still remember sitting in the Community Hall on summer nights, the double doors flung open to catch a breeze, experiencing for the first time the joy of watching a movie as a collective - people laughing and screaming together, followed by the chatter after, about the merits of the movie and the performances. How John Wayne really was the Duke. Elvis was like a God. The amazing performance and beauty of Vivien Leigh in "Gone with the Wind." And everyone loved Bruce Lee.
I think the movie Cinema Paradiso closely reflects the experience of watching a movie at the Community Hall when I was a child. I was struck by the similarities when I first saw that film, and I think it beautifully captures the experience of small-town cinemas. Film is a medium that everyone can share, and it was through this shared experience that I realized performance had the power to affect change. While watching a movie, people feel the highs and the lows of the character; they can be swept along and feel emotions that may not be easily expressed. Naturally I am writing this as an adult, and my little child-mind couldn't articulate and express these ideas and concepts!...but I observed it and I felt it.