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.
A KICK IN THE BAUBLES by Gordon Steel – January 2017
Restricted, as the Petuaria players are, to meetings on Zoom, we have been introducing a Christmas theme to our events and quizzes and play readings this month; for what should have been our annual Christmas meal we made the effort to dress up formally and our latest video interaction involved the obligatory ‘Christmas Jumper Night’ (not my idea obviously.)
As we think about the normal Xmas festivities that will be missing this year we were also thinking about our temporary shutdown and missing plays. And just how much that contrasts with the amazing Xmas of 2016 and our blockbuster production of ‘A Kick in the Baubles’, performed in the following January.
A Kick In The Baubles by Gordon Steel
When we are all feeling at the very least subdued by this awful year it is worth us looking back on one of the most successful plays we have done at Petuaria Players.
This was the play that had originally been produced at Hull Truck by Gavin Tudor-Price and who, as a friend of the group, had directed and motivated us to this memorable production.
This was a show that wasn’t just a sell-out, we had a long waiting list for tickets. Had we known how successful it would be we could easily have filled an extra night. It wasn’t just a hit with the audience – with all the action, the comedy and the music, it was a joy to perform and gave everyone an immense feel-good factor, a real lift of the spirits that left us all buzzing.
Editing the naughty sounds….
Many sound effects we create ourselves. To create the sound of a noisy rhythmically creaking bed upstairs, and then add loud shouts as a couple approached the climax of their activities was one of my funniest tasks. The recordings, which can only be described as Adult material with an 18+ rating, were carried out in the Forum rehearsal hut.
Our evening recording session was unfortunate in that it coincided with the Cub Scouts leaving the hut next door with their parents. We stopped, of course, but not before many were left wondering just what goes on in the Forum. We received no complaints but we were expecting a flood of applications to join the society.
So let’s remind ourselves of all that fun. SEE OUR PHOTOS BELOW – (YOU CAN ALSO CLICK ON AN IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT AND THEN SCROLL RIGHT OR LEFT THROUGH THE GALLERY)
Everyone looks back at this play with such fond memories, of aching laughter and a raise of the spirits. Just what we all need right now. Who knows, maybe this is a Xmas season play that would stand a repeat before too long.
Any fond memories of this play? Why not write in the comments below.
Seasonal Greetings to all our friends, readers, audience, patrons and members