Now it’s a memory

After all the months of rehearsals, during which director and actors juggled their everyday work lives, personal lives, family crises, holidays, illness, other commitments, with the need to turn up every Sunday and often on a weekday evening, plus make time in their busy schedules for learning lines, my play’s run has become history. After the last performance it’s now been put in the memory box. Other events and situations, not least Christmas, clamour for attention and minds become focussed on the tragi-comedy of life rather than plays.

It began as a strange time in a world I knew nothing about, but I have been bowled over by the commitment of director, cast and crew, their professionalism, the reality of what can be achieved with hard work, a bit of begging and borrowing topping up a minimum budget, their sheer inventiveness at making audiences believe with a hint and one or two props.

I was fascinated to discover every performance was different. Audiences reacted in different ways. Some were volubly enthusiastic, laughing and chuckling from the outset. Others were more muted, keeping their appreciation till the applause at the end. Actors, too, performed differently, adding additional expressions and gestures to deepen characters as the tour progressed. Touring in a local theatre and village halls means acting on stages of varying sizes or none at all, with modular stages often having to be put together before the performance, then dismantled after to leave the hall clear for whatever group has booked the following day.

Where the seats were raked and the performance took place at ground level, the acting space was larger, giving more scope for movement and tussles between the three homeless guys. Picks had space to give full rein to his imaginary tank driving whereas on some stages his enthusiasm had to be curbed, though on one occasion he did step down from the stage and take action to audience.

The size of venues varies too, so actors often had to adapt their comings and goings to suit the position of entrances and exits, with some making removal of scenery from the stage more challenging. A few bangs told their own story. And then there was the question of dressing rooms for the cast. Even in recently built village halls, where most activities had been thought of and catered for, dressing rooms were non-existent, or storage cupboards for tables and chairs were offered. All these added hassles were accepted with equanimity by the cast. As long as a cup of tea was available, then much else could be overcome.

Some halls boast stage lighting and sound systems, but more often these have to be carted around. It took James our lighting man two hours to set up, ensuring no member of the public could trip on any equipment or wiring, and a considerable time to dismantle and heave all back to car.

Rat jingsandthingsSuch performances are possible because of the combined effort of people who are committed, adaptable, knowledgeable, helpful, considerate, people who love what they’re doing and get a buzz from it, people who invariably have a great sense of humour to keep themselves and others going. Wonderful people who make the memory of my play’s performances something to cherish.

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14 Responses to Now it’s a memory

  1. andy says:

    my what a wonderful review of where we were, I would like to direct this play with Linlithgow players and have already run this by one of the directors who first recruited me there.
    This was Christmas come early for me.
    The fact that audiences including my families and friends enjoyed it so and those who read the parsons review has been a huge boost to me when my own morale was down in the gutter of life somewhere.
    I climbed the ice wall at Kinlochleven last friday, but I know I could climb all the way to the top if i wanted to for my 60th birthday next year, but if I could I would rather find some way of bringing this play to a Linlithgow audience or elsewhere in w Lothian
    I already know the actors I would ask to audition for it – I would have a husband and wife team, brilliant actor and handy man who would devise a stage suitable to go with this wonderfully inventive and heart warming but testing piece,
    then there would be the challenge of matching at least one of the shows, I never got the best out of my part so I would like to do it again either as an actor or director.
    It was simply a mind blowing experience for me – I dont imagine that I will ever embark on someting so impossible and challenging during some of the worst times of my life, I am not through the other side yet, but the simple fact that I managed to turn up and do my best – apart from the first night which was sometning of a diabolical trial to me due to the content of Oliver Eades play which I have explainerd to him was so raw to me after a dreadful meeting with a social worker that very afternoon, and from which hall I could not escape, that too much of that play had an awful resonance with me and i so wished to go an hide in my car the way I did when i first heard fool on the hill at Cardrona.
    I never thought that being an actor could be so tough, but neither could I imagine how Cath coped with what she had taken on, she was so lucky to have a an apparently very self effacing writer who coped with all the chops and changes thrust on her wonderfully crafted piece which my friend Chris Cameron as a fellow creative writer and his wife Isobel so obviously deeply appreciated at the first night – thus after an exquisitely awful first night for me, the audience went away satisfied when the actors were obviously not, was an amazing roller coaster for me, with the huge pick up my family sat right in my line in the bulk of my off stage delivery was almost nerve wracking the first time I experienced some sort of stage fright, whilst knowing the performance had gone down a storm because my sister Gilly had not managed to pick her prized and well (0ver) used camera and it was still on her lap as the curtain closed. I have only once been in a situation where one of my sisters could have topped that – when Sheila the other( of my four ) present at carlops simply split her sides laughing at a six minute sketch and dance routine which Liz drewett and i had spent oveer 12 hours rehearsing for aladin some years ago.One of her colleagues and admirers of her acting was in the Selkirk audience.

    well i have gone on long enough, but I have enjoyed sharing this renminiscence with you, for once again see them Rats has hauled me out of another nights despond.
    Thank you all of you for that. Yours aye andy mcgregor

    • So glad you have good memories of it too, Andy and that many of your family were able to be there to share it with you. I do hope the play gets more outings as our audiences really seemed to enjoy it.

      • andy mcgregor says:

        jemmy& I went for a swim today in Peebles pool

        On Wed, Dec 19, 2012 at 1:21 AM, jingsandthings wrote:

        > ** > jingsandthings commented: “So glad you have good memories of it too, > Andy and that many of your family were able to be there to share it with > you. I do hope the play gets more outings as our audiences really seemed to > enjoy it.”

      • That must have been quite a milestone. Hope you both enjoyed it.

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