At last! Today is another milestone step on the nation’s roadmap to recovery as we open up a little more. But if anything confirms The Petuaria Players rational approach to not making premature decisions then the appearance and potential threat of the new variant that is now showing its ugly face is it.
Already there is talk within government that the total lifting of restrictions planned for June may be in jeopardy. That is one of the reasons that we have not scheduled a meeting of our planning committee until that time.
Like ourselves our followers and audience regulars are keen to see us back on the stage and are asking when that will be. The short answer is, we don’t know yet.
It is always a challenge at the best of times to find three plays that fit our cast and their availability and our stage. At the moment we are faced with too many unknowns. We are eager to get there but we need to be in a position – months ahead of a performance – where we know actors and backstage people can commit their free time to a play, are in a safe position to be rehearsing and performing in sometimes very close or intimate proximity and that they will not have to halt a production because a cast member has to self isolate. We have no stand ins. And then we have to know how we can safely bring an audience into our venue and pay our costs.
Many assume we are ready to return to rehearsals but both the rules and the above constraints mean that day is, sadly, still a little way off. Professionals are in a different position and new ways of performing to limited audiences are now in progress and that is to be welcomed.
Hopefully, next month we will have more clarity and be better informed to make decisions. And as soon as we have more news we will be posting it on here and on Facebook. Make sure you are following us to stay informed.
To sum up, our thoughts over these unknowns are about as clear as that infamous statement from Donald Rumsfeld.
….as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know….
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.)
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.
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.
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…..
“Is there no play, To ease the anguish of a torturing hour?”
[William Shakespeare. A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Act V, sc I]
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.
No – not the Alan Ayckbourn play of that name. No really, seasonal greetings – all of us at the Petuaria Players wish you a Happy Christmas wherever you will be, whether it be normal or different this year of years.
We look forward to getting back to entertaining you on stage in the future.