I’m in a play. It’ll be the first time I’ve been on stage in an acting role in around 25 years (What??!! Where did the time go?!). When I was a young ‘un, my main ambition was to become an actress. In fact, I would literally throw myself onto a stage and perform in any way shape or form, such a show off was I. At school, Drama was one of the few subjects which I looked forward to. It was every intention, that at this point in my life, to be signing autographs at the stage door rather than, well…not.
Life has a funny way of throwing us off track. I joined a local am dram group, Street Theatre in Street, Somerset probably nearly a decade ago, with the intention of doing a bit of back-stage work to then ease myself onto the stage in a performing role.
I started with props, which I loved. Then I moved onto costume, which I love more. But despite having to go on stage to strike props, move bits of set in front of a full theatre, I just couldn’t overcome the fear of performing. I attempted an audition for a tiny part, once, but even that was raddled with nerves. I was scared before I even got near the stage. I have no idea what had transformed me from being a confident young performer into a blithering grown-up nerve bag, but there it was. I remained happily behind the scenes.
So I worked on a fair few productions and then had a break for a couple of years until now.
This current scenario began when Peter Wintle, the esteemed Director of The Ladykillers which is being perfomed at Strode Theatre, asked me to be wardrobe mistress for the play. I love Peter, and we’d worked together on a number of productions. And I’d had enough of a break from it all to, very happily, say Yes.
Then came the email.
‘I’m looking for some ladies to play a small role, non-speaking, bit of a caricature, know this might be your thing, you up for it?’ (or words to that effect). I dithered a bit…..’Erm,….potentially…?’ I replied. However Peter is no ditherer. And wanted his cast, well, cast. I received a phone call.
‘Potentially?’ he enquired. And went on to twist my arm. I could not say No.
Now, those of you who are more brazen and bold may be sighing with disdain at my silliness – a tiny role, non-speaking, what am I worrying about? Well, as it happens, not too much at the moment. I’ve been rehearsing and rather like my character; a little old biddy who enjoys clapping and is VERY fond of the cello. That’s as much as I will say.
I’ve been assembling costumes too – which I LOVE. I had forgotten how much, in fact. And this is partly why I’ve been very crap at blogging of late, too many distractions! But good ones, nonetheless.
The Ladykillers is a brilliant comedy – you may have seen the old Ealing film from the 60’s. It was adapted as a stage play by Graham Lineham (he of Father Ted and The IT Crowd), and no doubt, the Street Theatre production will be excellent. The cast is made up of many brilliant and experienced local actors. Excellent comic timing and direction, along with a fabulous set, lighting, music and props (and hopefully costumes) means this will be a great night out for those who go watch. And seats are selling extremely well, with the upper balcony now having been opened due to demand.
I’ll be interested to see how I feel when I go on stage on the opening night which is next Thursday 17th March. I may be slightly terrified, or I may re-discover those show-off feelings from my fearless youth – who knows?! I shall be glad to have finally taken the plunge, either way, and will know whether my future involvement with the company remains behind the scenes or whether it inspires me to go for a bigger, speaking role…
If you’re local, and want to go watch then the play runs from 17th – 19th March at Strode Theatre. You can book tickets on-line but they’re selling fast so be quick!
The cast of The Ladykillers.
Photo courtesy of Peter Wintle.