Tag Archives: Amateur Dramatics

‘The Ides of March’

Soothsayer: Beware the ides of March.

Caesar: What man is that?

Brutus: A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March…

[Act 1 Scene 2 Julius Caesar. William Shakespeare]

Julius Caesar isn’t the only one who had a bad day at the Forum on the 15th of March, known to the Romans as ‘The Ides of March’. We at Petuaria Players did too because it was exactly one year ago today that we met as a group for the last time. (Well, the 16th actually but it was a Monday and even Bill Shakespeare stretched a few truths.)

The Forum – not in Rome but in Petuaria

We were at the books-down stage in rehearsals for Alan Ayckbourn’s FlatSpin and whilst the first time without scripts in hand is always stressful we were all looking forward to putting on this play, not least new girl Sally who had been preparing for her first stage performance with a mixture of excitement and nervousness.

Sally’s wait to get on stage is rather longer than she expected.

Of course, it was not to be. That was the night that it had become clear that a performance at the end of April would be impossible and we made the decision that had been hovering over us for a few days to postpone the play.

Early stages of rehearsal for FlatSpin

At the time we wondered if we may be able to reschedule it later as our October 2020 play. Who knew then that even October 2021 would be shrouded with a mixture of optimistic promise and uncertainty. We shall see…..

Our last production – January 2020 – we look forward to our next, whenever that will be.

“Is there no play,
To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?”

[William Shakespeare. A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Act V, sc I]

No. But soon, we hope!


Voyage to the New World

It is somewhat stunning to realise that we have not posted anything on here so far this year. It is a measure of this longest stretch of lockdown that time has lost its meaning, and apathy and lethargy has become equally pandemic. It is also a measure of the fact that as a group we in the Petuaria Players still have no real news to impart. The recent awful peaks of infection and the changing roadmaps made it clear very quickly that a resumption of performances and audiences was still a long way off. On the other hand, the vaccine programme and this depressingly strict but very necessary lockdown is turning the tide fast.

Talking of tides, and stretching the metaphor into the regions of hyperbole, perhaps the situation can be summed up in a more frivolous and tongue-in-cheek way……

In this longest and darkest of nights, as the good ship ‘HMS Britain’ sails on through the turbulent seas of the pandemic, weathering many storms, its crew confined to quarters, our hatches battened down, amidst mutinous mutterings from those below decks, the ship’s surgeon struggling with an overflowing sick bay, drifting aimlessly at times in the doldrums, despatches from the Admiralty in London at last suggest that a gentle glow of light has appeared on the horizon. It may be a false dawn, it may be the promise of sunshine and smiles. And yet that light is at present a distant one, shining on a land still beyond the horizon, an as yet unknown and uncharted territory. Until we hear ‘Land Ho!’ shouted from the crows nest of Downing Street we cannot visualise the landscape and the peoples of this terra-firma onto which we all desperately wish to set our weary feet.

Cmdr. Hancock, the ship’s surgeon is distributing the lime juice of our vaccines to fight the scurvy of Covid. We have our protective masks as we venture out and climb the rigging to set the sails towards this New World. When will we enter port and hoist our ensign, our village hall banner, once again? When will we be able to act out our trade with the indigenous population? Will we be so encrusted with the weary barnacles of this long voyage that we must enter dry dock to restore our skills and enthusiasm?

As long as all the ships in the fleet continue to sail in the same direction we will surely arrive at our destination and begin our new adventures in a new world.

Hmm. So we remain in uncertainty. There is such a lack of clarity that positive plans for the future cannot yet be made but rest assured, at some point we will be back, even if changes have to be made to our traditional production formats.

Meanwhile the group continues to Zoom regularly with our online play readings and weekly quiz nights.

And on here you can expect some more throwback posts to remind us of the enjoyable productions of the past.

Meanwhile, if you are forgetting our visages then I enclose a reminder – I do not vouch, however, for their accuracy or representation of our current appearances……

Until then, stay safe, and be optimistic about that sunny horizon.

Our traditional actors…..
And not forgetting future ones…….

Throwback #7

CONFUSIONS (2008)

Was it really August since our last article was posted on here? When time should be dragging it seems to be rushing. Once again we have a flashback to 2008 to another Alan Ayckbourn play, one which kept everyone on their toes with numerous parts and characters to cope with.

Yes, remember 2008? The year of the financial crisis and start of a decade of waiting for recovery – and where are we today? On the other hand Obama became President of the USA with the promise of a great future. And where are we today? And Lewis Hamilton became F1 World Champion for the first time and…. well at least some things never change!

And in November of that year we took on the challenge of Confusions. This consists of five one act plays all loosely linked by either a character moving from one play to another, or the same location. But the themes of obsession, isolation and companionship appear in comedy form.

Richard Bateman produced the play and, by necessity, acted in it too.

Confusions by Alan Ayckbourn – a comedy in five acts, performed in November 2008

Act 1 – Mother Figure
A mother (Lucy) unable to escape from from her children bound existence treats her concerned neighbours as children…

Act 2 – Drinking Companion
Lucy’s errant husband Harry is away overnight on business and at his hotel desperately flirts with and attempts to seduce the attractive saleswoman also staying there…

Act 3 – Between Mouthfuls
The waiter at the hotel in Act 2 finds himself serving in the restaurant there, where two couples at separate tables find they have an unwelcome common bond…

Act 4 – Gosforth’s Fête
In this the most chaotic and farcical act, we find Councillor Mrs. Pearce (previously seen at dinner in Act 3) invited to open Gosforth’s village fete. But when one of the ladies’ personal news is accidentally broadcast over the site PA, a catalogue of disasters and embarrassments are revealed…

Act 5 – A Talk in The Park
In the same park where the Fete took place, sit five strangers on separate park benches, each with their own troubles. When Arthur sits next to Beryl to relate his story an uncomfortable Beryl eventually escapes and joins the person at the next bench – where she now relates her own feelings – and so it continues as each one moves to the next bench…. .

Cast: (from L) Janet Drewery, Richard Bateman, Jayne Hewson, Rob Newton, Nic Johnson, Emma Gibson, Phil Johnson, Dianne Turner
Our backstage crew

More throwbacks soon! (honest)