Monday, 7 May 2007
Nerves and plays and stuff!
Oh dear my first blog since the site began – I do hope it isn't going to hurt and that I haven't forgotten how!
Friday 4th May 7.30 pm. I stood gibbering hopelessly on stage, waiting for the moment when I would have to creep out onto the stage all on my own – front of curtain, in a spotlight – to tell everyone that I was Squadwon leader Cwafowd (Cwafie does't sound his Rs) and that I was 28 years old (guaranteed)to get a laugh) and that I would be dead in ten minutes – um the play Stalag 69 is a comedy . . . honest.
Once again as I jittererd about waiting for my cue – I was confronted, and not for the first time, with the thought 'why the berludy hell do I do this to myself?'
Music started and I was off and Cwafie took over. And once again I knew why I put myself through it all. Why I spend Thursday and Sunday evenings in a cold hall – where you can see your breathe in the air – rehearsing and rehearsing and rehearsing. Why I spend hours – learning lines that will inevitably vanish as soon as the lights go up – lines that then somehow magically come out in mostly the right order. Why I turn out time and time again on wet damp and windy evenings instead of snuggling up by the fire. Why? Because I LOVE it that is why. I love the electric thrill of being on stage, the buzz, the adrenaline, the nerves, yes even the nerves, the thrill of the audience responding, crying, laughing and the satisfaction and relief and after show party when it is all over.
Stalag 69 by Michael Green is a play set in a Nazi Prison Cell during the 2nd World war. When the curtain opens it quickly becomes apparent that the 'stage crew' have put the scenery up – upside down (see picture one) – which creates absolute chaos – with poor old Cwafie twying to keep it all going. He has porridge tipped over him, he has to tie himself up and even shoot himself, because no one can enter the cell . . . the door is six foot up on the upside down flat. The play finishes and the director announces that because the play is an important piece of work – we are going to do it all again . . . and we do.
This time the set is the right way up. All goes okish – until Cwafie in his enthusiasm gets his arms stuck through the prison cell bars and pulls the whole lot out of the wall . . . . There is then a chain of events which leads to the walls of the prison collapsing and revealing the back stage crew and all their sound effect paraphernalia See picture 2). Cwafie then has to do the rest of the play with the bars stuck on his arms, whilst the back stage crew rush about doing their sound effects.
The play is fantastic fun to do – very physical, messy (the porridge) and occasionally painfull . . . ie on Friday Cwafie just didn't get out of the way in time and one of the 12foot scenery flats fell on him . . . . Berludy hell – that was NOT supposed to happen. Knocked old Cwafie to his knees – but he got up and carried on . . . complete Bar Steward that he is I wanted to make a fuss . . . . But whilst the curtains are open and the lights are up Cwafie is in charge!
Stalag 69 – only lasts 25 mins. The rest of the evening was filled with a mini play – written by one of our members and co directed by Westerwitch. Four comedy sketches and then the main play of the night Happy Jack by John Godber. The latter is a lovely play spanning the life and rough love of Elizabeth and Jack (a coal miner and his wife). It is a play filled with laughter and tears, potential violence and incredible tenderness. Every time I see it – and I have seen it quite a few times now – I get something new from it. I did the sound for Happy Jack. Happy Snaper did the lighting for the whole show!
So two performances under our belts – four more to go in four different Scottish locations. Plus Happy Jack being performed at the East Kilbride One Act Play Festival this coming Friday. So busy busy busy and plenty more nerves to battle with in the coming weeks.
Good grief – what a huge Blog – but I feel so much better for it. And as for Cwafie – he is back in his box until Friday week. 28 years old indeed and the stubble . . . . and he smokes a pipe . . .