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Archive for December, 2009

DECEMBER 2009

Does everyone feel that this year has flown by or is it just me?!?!  It has however been a wonderful year for MVDS with four vastly different productions at the Masque and Hello & Goodbye’s very successful venture to Grahamstown.  Here’s hoping 2010 will be even better!

 

  

EVENTS TO DIARISE

Laughing Room Only a compilation of three hilarious comedies performed by the brilliant Deon Bisschoff and the Waterfront Theatre Company at the Masque Theatre from 02 to 19 December (Wed to Sat & Sun 13th).  Evening shows at 19:30.

A Christmas Carol, A Pantomime presented by Pinelands Players at the Little Theatre, Gardens, from 4 to 19 December 2009.  Evening shows (19:30) R80, Matinees (14:30) R80 adults, R40 children under 12.  A traditional pantomime with music, dance, comedy, dames and audience participation.  Info and bookings on www.pinelandsplayers.co.za or 0729231035

 

  

Tribute to Mario Lanza presented by Fuad Sawyer from 8 to 10 January 2010 at the Masque Theatre.  This Cape Town-born tenor has graced the stage both locally and internationally, singing with the Eoan Group and Capab/Artscape.  . Join us in our beautiful foyer and be serenaded by Fuad with wonderful evergreens such as “Golden Days”, “The drinking Song”, “Be my Love” and much more.  Fri and Sat evening shows at 20:00 and Sun matinee at 15:00

A Night at the Theatre presented by the Wynberg Girs High School at the Masque Theatre from 21 to 23 January 2010. A variety show directed by Shelley Robertson and Sarah Thackwray, including popular numbers from Broadway shows such as “All that Jazz”,“Chicago”, “Mama Mia” and “Porgy and Bess”. The cast of over 20 will also be showing their skills in a variety of dance mediums.  A show for the whole family. Thurs & Fri shows at 19:30.  All evening shows R60 (R50)

Please note days, times and prices for Masque Theatre productions (unless otherwise stated) are Thurs & Fri performances at 20:00, Saturday matinee at 14:30, Saturday evening at 18:30

Thurs eve and Sat Matinees R50 (Theatre Club members R40)

Other Nights R60 (Theatre Club members R50)

Bookings on 021-7881898

 

  

PRESENT PRODUCTION

 

Rehearsals for Improbable Fiction are going well with some very interesting props being constructed by June and Bruce Edwards with assistance from Ronnie Carr – necessity certainly is the mother of invention!!  They will be having a break over the festive season, restarting rehearsals on 6 January 2010.  Urgently required are more back-stage helpers – specifically dressers as the second half of the production has a vast number of quick costume changes.  June Edwards would love you to volunteer – contact her on sunshinedesign@intekom.co.za or 0825577873

 

  

INTER-SOCIETY QUIZ

An account by birga Thomas:

This year’s annual quiz (on Sunday, 22 November, at the Masque Theatre) involved most dramatic societies in the greater Cape Town area. Claremont Dramatic Society organised a memorable event, and their quizmaster (also a Mvds member!), André Thomas, did a perfect job: friendly, displaying a great sense of humour, very pleasant but pleasingly firm and with spot-on timing. Thank you, Claremont and all involved!  The four “Masque societies” were represented with six teams (in addition, there were the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, Pinelands Players and Milnerton Players as well as a team representing the production Return from Oz).  Somerset West was sadly missed this year.  The vibes were great, refreshments served during “interval” and the bar – of course – open all evening.  Questions were cast far wider then usual – a lot more general-knowledge was called for than specific theatre/drama-related facts.  Listening to the participants, this was welcomed with enthusiasm.  Elza-lynn Kruger and Kim Harris-Dalla counted and calculated the points, also for the brain teasers which served as warm-ups for the teams as well as the “off the wall” (which was on the wall in the foyer) questions for individuals (we didn’t do too bad there either, especially our vice-chair Alastair Duff – who otherwise played on the Fish Hoek team, and see where that got them!).  The results were (on the whole) quite close: “Oz” achieved 40 points, followed by Claremont 1 with 56 ½ and Pinelands with 57 ½ points.  We were under strict instructions, not to come first, so we decided to play it “safe” and stay exactly mid-field.  Guess what? Mvds B with 58 and the Mvds A team with 60 ½ points achieved that quite easily. Team B was formed by Hayley Fargher, Suzi Gehr (who celebrated her birthday with us), Lynda Jennings and stalwart Val Stephens. The A Team consisted of Angela Lee-Wright, Celia Musikanth, birga Thomas and Brenda Gray, who stepped in “last second” to replace Raymond Rudolph (whose dry wit was sorely missed) – thank you, Brenda!  Then came G&S with 63 points, Claremont 2 with 65 ½, Milnerton with 66 ½ and Constantiaberg Theatre Players with 67 ½ points. The winners were the Fish Hoek Dramatic Society who earned 70 ½ points and therefore “have to” organise next year’s annual quiz.  Congratulations! Well done to all the teams! And wasn’t it fun? Can’t wait for the 2010 quiz …

MEMBERS’ EVENING

 

And another report by our chairman, Andrew Blake:

The evening commenced with a report back on Grahamstown Arts Festival by Terry Best and Celia Musikanth.  This humorous review (with props!) served not only to share some of the practicalities of going to the festival, but also engendered some discussion on the value of the experience for performers.  This was followed by the directors of our shows this year relating some of the amusing and terrifying moments from the rehearsals of their shows.  Many humorous anecdotes were appreciated by the audience and even some of the performers in the shows were able to chip in from the floor with their own recollections.  After a delicious meal of assorted pastas prepared by our very own committee members, Tom, Celia and birga, a presentation was made of a 1:20 scale model of the stage with all of the lighting bars, legs and assorted paraphernalia to Rick Magnin of Mancom.  The model had been expertly manufactured to exact scale by Bruce Edwards, who gave a short description of all the parts.  After the presentation, there were a number of light and amusing readings from various sources by Wendy Morling, Bruce Edwards, John McConnell and Raymond Rudolph.  The evening was rounded off with champagne and chocolates to celebrate the end of another successful year and MADS’ 31st birthday.

 

  

A SPECIAL OFFER

One of our newer members, Ryan Cyster, has opened his own small production company which records, edits and documents all types of events no matter how big or small.  Should any Society want a DVD of a production he is happy to offer his company’s services at a very special rate.  He can be contacted on 0217062381 or 0828128537 or cysterproductions@yahoo.com

  

WELCOME

 

Our newest member is Norman Murray – no stranger to MVDS but now official!!

BIRTHDAYS

Again we have a terribly small crop of birthdays in January!!  We in fact utilize only two days of the month.

Andrew Blake, Jenny Seabrook and Wolfgang Thomas all share the 19th.  Three interesting facts (for three interesting people) about that day in 1955:  “Millionaire” TV program premiered on CBS; “Scrabble” debuted on board game market; first presidential news conference filmed for TV (Eisenhower).

Ronnie Carr celebrates on the 29th together with Tom Selleck who was born in 1945 in Detroit, Michigan – best known for his role in Magnum PI.

 

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

You should all by now have had official notice of our Annual General Meeting which will be held on Wednesday, 27 January 2010, 19:30 for 20:00, at the Rendezvous (Old Zandvlei Bowling Club), 57 Promenade Road, Muizenberg.

******

Last month I advised that the Cape Amateur Theatre awards evening was scheduled for 28 March – this has been changed to Monday 22 March but more details will of course follow.

******

Looking ahead to 2011, a directors’ forum will be held on Saturday, 27 March 2010 when proposed productions for the 2011 year can be presented.

 

THE NOTHING-TO-DO-WITH-DRAMA BIT

I thought I would join in the spirit of the “silly season” and give you some facts (??) specific to this time of year.

*****

OK, let’s start with reindeer:  their favourite food?  Duck droppings!!  Oh, sorry, you KNEW that did you?  In 2001, Harrods Department Store in London had to replace Santa’s reindeer and sleigh with a horse and carriage because the movement of reindeer in Britain was limited by an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.  A spokesman for the store said that this was the first time in living memory that Harrods had not used a reindeer.

*****

Moving on to Mistletoe: of which there are some two thousand species!!  Traditionally, a berry should be plucked for each kiss beneath the mistletoe – when the berries run out, no more kisses may be claimed.

*****

In 1647 the English Parliament abolished the celebration of Christmas.  Eating mince pies and plum puddings was also made illegal!

*****

The total number of gifts given in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas adds up to 364!

*****

And a very last one that will probably stop you EVER buying a real tree again: The average Christmas tree has about thirty thousand bugs and insects on it according to Mr Arne Fjellberg, a Norwegian scientist.  Microscopic examination of the trees revealed midges, fleas, lice, parasitic wasps, spiders and beetles.  Anyone for plastic?

Myself and the MVDS committee wish you all well over the festive season!

If you drive ANYWHERE – please take care! 

Eve

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Claremont Dramatic Society Newsletter
Box 50, Eppindust, 7475

Tel: 021 671 2242               Cell: 082 821 4353             Fax: 021 528 2299

E-mail: andrethomas@vodamail.co.za

www.claremontdramatic.wordpress.com
December 2009 – Number 85


 

Greetings to all CDS-ers and our friends!

There is a saying in German that states, “Die Vorfreude ist die beste Freude”, which roughly translates to “anticipation is the greatest joy of all”. That certainly was the case with my recent holiday – I could hardly contain myself before I left for Djenne and Timbuktu (in Mali, West Africa). A dream that had been brewing for 8-and-something years. Well, I’m back, and it was so different to what I expected in so many ways. Not always an easy destination to travel in, but fantastic as far as being in a completely different world.

The main point though is that we should always give our very best towards fulfilling our dreams. I don’t mean just getting or doing things we’d like. But actually achieving a dream through hard work and preparation – that feeling of achieving a goal that has so much personal meaning – that is a truly wonderful feeling J

But back to matters of the stage:

 

Return from Oz

Return from Oz played at the Masque until last night, sadly to small houses, but I do hope all of you had a chance to see this delightful Christmas offering.

Yvonne, Roland and Barrie worked very hard to mould a young and inexperienced cast into entertainers and they deserve all the support we can give them. In spite of a somewhat negative review, we must bear in mind that Claremont is not in the business of constantly mounting sure fire winners; how else do we encourage fresh blood, offer opportunities to potential members and develop wider audiences? It takes pluck to write a piece like Return from Oz, guts to   cast it according to developmental criteria and selflessness to let a talented artistic team make their mark.  The two galas where very well attended and their patrons highly appreciative.

 

CDS Christmas Bash 2009 – a reminder!

Our Christmas party is going to be held at the Hok on Sunday, 6th December. It will be a bring & braai, not forgetting your party pieces. Brenda Gray also has a little surprise for the party…

Please plan to arrive between 17h00 and 17h30.

We have booked tickets for the matinee performance of Pinelands Players Production of A Christmas Carol at 14h30 that day – Pam may still have some seats available, so please let her know if you want to attend that with us.

So – A Christmas Carol at 14h30 and Bring & Braai at 17h00 / 17h30

Please RSVP Pam Burger, our Social Convenor by 30 November, at pamb@masterparts.com or on 082 488 0442 (cell)         021 657 5757(work)                   021 696 5959 (after 6pm)

Inter-Society Quiz 2009

** NB: A pair of spectacles were left on the “podium-table” at the end of the quiz – if they are yours, please pick them up at the Masque Theatre.**

The 2009 Inter-Society Quiz was held last week, and the Claremont committee is very happy to have received such positive feedback – it seems that everyone who attended had a good time. We certainly enjoyed putting it together – we together worked as an excellent team. This “review” was on the Muizenberg website:

This year’s annual quiz involving most dramatic societies in the greater Cape Town area, was held on Sunday, 22 November, at the Masque Theatre. Claremont Dramatic Society organised a memorable event, and their quizmaster André Thomas did a perfect job: friendly, displaying a great sense of humour, very pleasant but pleasingly firm and with spot-on timing. Thank you, Claremont and all involved!

The four “Masque societies” were represented with six teams (in addition, there were the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, Pinelands Players and Milnerton Players as well as a team representing the

production Return from Oz, presently showing at the Masque). Somerset West, we missed you!

 

The results were on the whole quite close: “Oz” achieved 40 points, followed by Claremont 1 with 56 ½ pts, Pinelands 57 ½, MVDS B with 58 and the MVDS A team with 60 ½ points. Then came G & S with 63, Claremont 2 with 65 ½, Milnerton with 66 ½ and Constantiaberg Theatre Players with 67 ½ points. The winners were the Fish Hoek Dramatic Society who earned 70 ½ points and therefore “have to” organise next year’s annual quiz.

 

Congratulations! Well done to all the teams! And wasn’t it fun?

Can’t wait for the 2010 quiz …

We also look forward to being hosted by Fish Hoek next year, and trust they will the treat the Golden Duck with care and love J

Claremont AGM

Our Annual General Meeting is booked for Tuesday 09 February 2010 at Kelvin Grove in the Palmyra Room. Notice and details will follow closer the time.

Fish Hoek donation request

Angela from Fish Hoek Dramatic Society sent through this request:

We have been accepted as host parents and will be having a little boy with us for the holidays, he is 1 yrs old. We need a car chair and a pram for him and am asking everyone we know if they have one to donate to us. We dont’t mind the condition as Garth can fix anything and I can sew new covers etc. If you know of anyone who might have, please pass this onto them.

If YOU can help in any way, please contact her directly: angela@natraloesa.co.za

Can you help MVDS?

Mvds’ first production in February 2010 is Alan Ayckbourn’s Improbably Fiction (directed by Coleen van Staden, who is great fun to work with).

The production has quite a number of very QUICK costume changes, and we therefore need SIX dressers (one per actor). Every dresser will be dedicated to just ONE actor, and each actor has her/his own dressing station, i.e. everything will be pretty streamlined and as easy as possible for all concerned.

Also needed is a costume co-ordinator (overseeing the combined dressing stations and any additional costume requirements – no designing, sewing involved since the show has Robyn Wainwright as costume designer). Nevertheless, this person should have some experience.

These people are also needed during most rehearsals, since the fast costume changes have to be rehearsed very well.

You should be available from 09 to 16 December 2009 (since year-end break in rehearsal), and again from 04 January 2010.

The production runs 05 to 13 February 2010 at the Masque Theatre.

 

PLEASE contact the production secretary June Edwards as soon as possible (also if you need more information):            082 557 7873   or   021–762 9446   or   sunshinedesing@intekom.co.za.

birga from MVDS says: It’s a great way to get involved in a production … costumes are usually fun, exciting and “easy” to memorise (easier than “lines” anyway). It’s also something for newcomers: You get to know the actors and backstage crew quite well, esp. when attending the rehearsals, the whole process of staging a show becomes much clearer to you AND (most importantly) you are involved in it. … and for those with an “Ego” (with capital “e”): Your name will be in the programme!

Get Thee to The Masque!

Laughing Room Only

A compilation of three hilarious comedies performed by the brilliant Deon Bisschoff and the Waterfront Theatre Company at the Masque Theatre from 02 to 19 December (Wed to Sat & Sun 13th).

Matinees at 15:00 R50 (Theatre Club members R40).

Evenings at 19:30 R60 (R50).  Bookings on 021-7881898

08 to 10 January 2010 Bookings open 15.12.

Tribute to Mario Lanza

Fuad Sawyer is a Cape Town-born tenor who has graced the stage both locally and internationally. This operatically trained performer has sung with the Eoan Group as well as Capab/Artscape. The late and great Mario Lanza has always been a favourite of Fuad’s, and his popular and famous songs suit his voice perfectly. Join us in our beautiful foyer and be serenaded by Fuad with wonderful evergreens such as “Golden Days”, “The drinking Song”, “Be my Love” and much more.

Friday 08, Saturday 09 and Sunday 10 January 2010.

N.B. Both evenings 20h00, Sunday matinée 15h00

TICKETS: Matinée: R50 (R40 Theatre Club members),

all evenings: R60 (R50 Theatre Club members)

Get Thee to The Theatre in Milnerton

Milnerton Players presents” RODGERS & HART – ‘A Celebration’

A revue with music & lyrics by the renowned song writing team

Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart

Concept Richard Lewine and John Fearnley

Direction: Sheila McCormick             Musical direction: Keith Benjamin

A rousing pastiche of almost 60 songs by the prolific song-writing team of Rodgers & Hart.

The first act sets the stage for romance while the second act is comprised of their more satiric gems with a brief narration highlighting the Rodgers & Hart story.

Featuring such standards as ‘Manhattan’, ‘Blue Moon’, ‘The Lady is a Tramp’ and ‘Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered’, this fast paced revue is a guaranteed evening of enjoyable musical entertainment.

The cast of seven singers includes: Phoebe Snayer, Evan Witten, Nicole Nefdt, Carl de Lange, Lisa Stiliano, Simon Speck and Julie du Plessis.

Bookings: 021 557 3206 or 082 267 1061 E-mail: macdram@absamail.co.za

At the Milnerton Playhouse from 27 November to 12 December 2009

Ticket prices: R60 evenings and R50 Saturday matinees

  Audition Notices

See an attached notice for Claremont’s production of Neil Simon’s “Rumours”.

So that leaves me to wish you all a splendid festive season – be it Christmas, Hanukkah or Eid. Enjoy the time with family and friends

Claremont Dramatic Society invites you to audition for

 

‘ Rumours’ 

By   Neil Simon

 

Directed by Sue Bolton 

 

Production dates:  23 April to 1 May 2010 

 

Venue: ‘The Hok’ club house

Date: Sunday 24 January 2010

Time:    2.30 p.m.

 

This riotously funny farce centres around the efforts of 8 party guests to spare their unfortunate host and themselves, from scandal. It opens with Ken and Chris who have found their host, Charley, a prominent Government official, in his bedroom, too dazed to speak, with a bullet wound in his ear lobe! His wife, Vivian, and domestic help are nowhere to be seen. Len and Claire arrive, themselves injured in a car crash, and are soon joined by Ernest and Cookie, Glenn and Cassie, each with their own problems. Following a second, accidental, gun shot that leaves Ken temporarily deaf, the police arrive and Len, drawing the short straw, pretends he is Charley. He concocts a touching and fantastic explanation, that in the end proves more credible than anyone dared hope.

Cast Descriptions

Chris Bevans – mid 30’s to early 40’s.Attractive, elegant, nervous lady striving to be the ‘Perfect wife’ to a well placed husband.

Ken Bevans – her husband – 40 + Dominant man with a mission. He is excitable, bossy, and controlling. Has to be ‘deaf’ for a short section of the play.

Claire Cummings – 30 to 40 years old; Very chic socialite gossip. Tends to be superficial and is not the brightest pebble on the beach.

Leonard Cummings – 30 to 40; Tax consultant, and has known Charley, the host, since their school days. Demanding to the point of rudeness, competitive, upwardly mobile. He has the crowning monologue of the play. Married to Claire.

Cookie Cusack – late 40’s. She is a famous chef with her own T.V. Show. She is a self assured bohemian oddity, who is very reliant on her husband’s support. They adore each other.

Ernest Cusack –  50+  He is a popular psychiatrist to the rich and famous. He is sharp and observant, and is his wife’s biggest admirer.

Cassie Cooper – Very attractive, edgy, jealous young wife who is very unhappy and insecure and relies on the properties of her ‘crystal’ to give her strength.

Glenn Cooper 40+  Very ambitious politician, arrogant, self assured, a ladies man, and very conscious of his public image.

PC Conklin – appears in the last scene only – a lovely cameo role.

PC Casey – is a woman or can be a young man. Has very few words – is just Conklin’s junior back up.

Please direct all enquiries to Wendy Goddard at ph. 021—6712888 cell 0834147003 or e-mail wendygoddard@xsinet.co.za

Further to my message last week about the various roles in the theatre, I thought I’d get the ball rolling by sharing something with you that I wrote while I was stage manager for a show of Wendy’s last year.

 

If any of you have funny or serious, long or short descriptions of some of the various essential roles in the theatre – please send them along. It’s always nice to hopefully inspire more people to help out, and not everyone is made for acting!

How to smuggle matches onto the stage

So, there is Corrie, on stage in her ‘apartment’, 5 minutes away from having to light a fire.

I am standing backstage, behind the ‘front door’ wondering how to smuggle a small yellow box of matches onto the stage, that should have been there already…

The rest of the cast and crew are in the dressing room listening over the tanoy to what is happening on stage – how is she going to save the situation of needing to light a fire without matches?

The audience, oblivious, is laughing at all the right places

Corrie, her mind frantic with how to light the fire, and “why did I forget my handbag with the matches”?

And I am still trying to find a way to get the matches on stage. Can I quickly dress up as a delivery man and deliver matches to the apartment? Too contrived. Can I leave her to cope without them and improvise? No- I need to try and help her till the last possible moment. Will the audience notice if I drop them over the apartment wall into the kitchen? Yes! And will Corrie know it is even there then… what to do…

And that is just one of the things a stage manager needs to do during the course of an evening supporting the crew on stage.

A performance evening would start with my arrival about 90 minutes before curtain up, unlocking the theatre and dressing rooms, preferably before anyone is there yet. Gives me a few minutes of peace to settle myself and get the doors open. Then I climb the steep stairs to the mezzanine level to switch on the tanoy. This is the moment from which people need to beware that what is said on stage can be heard in the green- & dressing rooms…

Reverse back down the stairs (the only safe way) and begin to set the stage for act I.

in the current case, this involves manoeuvring a 4 metre long ladder from the green room into the wings and setting up without knocking any of the lights or curtains out of position… then ascend the 4 metres into the cavernous space above the stage with a jug of water in hand to fill the “tap-pipe” with about a litre of water. The cut-open plastic coke bottle is an ingenious idea to get real water onto the stage when the tap below is opened.

Then manoeuvre said ladder through the wings and the front door of the set onto the middle of the stage to set the snow-contraption. This involves climbing up, releasing a cloth contraption, thereby releasing dozens of snowflakes onto the stage. Obviously after refilling the snow-contraption with snowflakes, it is returned to its lofty perch ready for release at the right moment.

And while I manoeuvre the ladder back through a door, around a flap, under the wings and bars into the green room, the cast & crew are arriving and need to be let in at the stage door.

They need to be there by 60 minutes to curtain up, otherwise the “where-are-you” phone calls begin… in one instance where I couldn’t get hold of the one cast member I was busy learning his words when he arrived, seemingly oblivious to the consequences of his not informing us that he was on his way, but stuck in traffic.

Another time, the lead was called 45 minutes prior to the start to find out where he is. His casual “thanks for the SMS you sent last night” confirmed my worst fears, that he was nowhere near the theatre… upon asking where he is, and mentioning that curtain-up is in 45 minutes, he remarked that there isn’t a show today… but he made it with 15 minutes to spare!

In the period between this call and his arrival, I moved my car and blocked a bay so he had somewhere to park in front of the theatre without having to search; we sent someone into the wardrobe to find shirts for him in case he didn’t bring his; we endeavoured not to tell the director who was schmoozing in the foyer with the charity guests; we asked his co-lead to help calm him on his arrival and get him into character.

Oh, and during all of this the normal other activities took place – assisting the props team to get the goulash & alcoholic drinks ready for the stage, giving the cast and crew their 45 / 30 / 20 / 10 and 5 minute calls. Making sure that the sandbag is behind the bathroom door, so that it doesn’t open too far. Making sure that all personal props are in the personal possession of the cast.

Then in the last 15 minutes, I need to close the tabs (curtains) so that the audience can come in, make sure I have a walkie-talkie to be able to communicate with the lighting & sound team. They are situated closest to the foyer, so they are my link to front of house.

They let me know when the 5 minute call is played in the foyer to advise the audience to start moving in (or back in, if it is during interval).

They give me clearance when the last audience member has come in. I let them know when everyone is in place backstage so that they can start playing the intro music. All over a walkie-talkie.

By this time I’ve called “beginner’s on stage” and made sure the curtain-opener is in place to open the tabs at the correct cue in the music.

I’m sitting backstage and watching the action through a narrow gap in the back of a cupboard, through the beads hanging in the front of the cupboard, waiting for my cues to ring the doorbell when it is needed in the script. I also watch what is happening on stage to give other actors their “go-on-now!” or backstage “speak now!” cues (which can be as subtle as the opening of a fridge door, a nose-blowing or the bottom of a bottle of gin making contact with the coffee table. exciting stuff!

All the while, there you sit in the darkness of backstage, with a slight blue light to show the obstacles to avoid and only a shaft of light from the stage to read my script by. All the while only whispering if you need to talk to others, or tiptoeing if you need to walk to others.

And everytime the audience laughs, you give an involuntary smile.

Every time they don’t laugh when you expect them to you wonder what’s wrong with them.

You stop breathing every time someone forgets a line.

And you start breathing every time they save each other and continue – the audience non the wiser.

In the end I poked my hand through the back of the cupboard at a moment that Corrie looked my way. I showed her the matches and dropped them onto the floor of the cupboard.

Did she really notice?

 

She did – and changing her moves a little – doing a little sashay move across the stage to get the matches to light the fire. All in character. All good!

Close curtain. For interval. Of 20 minutes.

That means our work really begins – as we need to set the whole stage for the next act. from an ostensibly empty apartment to one that is fully furnished with net and normal curtains, pictures, mirrors, books and trinkets, carpets, bowls of fruit and cans for tea & coffee. No detail is spared in the quest for authenticity.

In one case I even needed to make small repairs to an in-stage wooden screen – to hammer a few nails into a narrow piece of wood. Once that was done, I spotted a piece of cladding that came off the front door, so quick actions to repair that:

Find double–sided tape

Try to separate double-sided tape from its backing

Find brown paint

Find knife to take off blotches of glue on the back

Cut myself

Hear “5 minute call” from lighting box

Reply with “we need 8 minutes”

Find plaster

Apply plaster (ever noticed how long that can take?)

Find screws

Go to stage and try to screw into place

Fetch hole-maker to aid screwing in

Hear audience’s chatter as they return to seats

Fasten second screw in place while assistant is already painting brown paint over the first

Quick check of stage that all is in place

Go backstage and advise cast of wet paint on front door

Call beginner’s to stage

Check personal props of beginners in place

Tell lighting we’re clear to go

Get a reply that we are all go

Check that colleague to open curtains is in place

Get message that we are waiting for 1 person

Have a quick wee (no flushing allowed)

Get the all-clear

Music begins

Sit down and wait for paint can to touch fireplace on stage so that I can ring doorbell

Wait backstage with feet up following the words, laughter and smiles.

Actors come off stage and go back on. One of them needs to take of her dress on stage, and remembers at the door that she has forgotten to put her petticoat on…

So I run backstage and brainstorm a way to get the nightie to her. My colleague has an idea that there is a moment when she thinks she change. So colleague goes and stands back stage in the “bathroom” of the apartment and waits for the change scene. Actress arrives, is super thankful, and does a lightning change behind the door instead of in front, and the audience is none the wiser. (have I said that before?)

Drinks are made backstage – voiceless hand requests are made in the shape of a T or a C. I choose a C – I need coffee.

The scene continues.

The scene nears its ending.

Make it snow.

Stop the snow.

Close the curtain.

Sweep up the snow.

Change the set.

Beginners on stage.

Curtain up.

All systems go.

Again.

Laughter.

Smiles.

Nearing the end now… all in place for curtain call!

You stand backstage and watch. And listen.

Bow of the cast

Bow of the leads

Bow of them all

Black out

Bow of them all

Is there enough applause to warrant another bow?

Close the curtain.

Applause dies. Chatter starts. Laughter continues.

Tell the actors how well they did (ego-stroking is an important part all the way through)

Clear the stage.

Let out the troops.

Lock the dressing rooms.

Climb the steep stairs to switch off the tanoy.

Switch off the lights.

Set the alarm.

Lock the theatre.

Go home.

Sleep.

Repeat after work tomorrow.

 And the next day when people ask how it went, you will only remember how well the cast did. How happy the audience was, how much they enjoyed it. How well we overcame little obstacles.

It’s been compared to a child. At times frustrating as hell, but overwhelmingly lovable.

 ** of course, not all of these happened on one single evening. sometimes evenings run without any of the additional challenges that i also described above; but other nights we do have one or two of them to deal with**

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