As we approach our next production it’s worth saying that any dedicated and serious golfers in the audience should take heed that this is a comedy and may contain scenes that they find disturbing – rules that may be broken, behaviour unbecoming, techniques that may cause dismay. A special helpline has not been set up.
I say this because as a golf-ignoramus I was faced, a few years ago, with our visiting American friend and golf fanatic wanting a round of golf. My solution was to pair him up with our ticket secretary Steve Turner who kindly agreed if I would accompany them. As caddy.
My hopes of racing around the course in an electric go-kart were dashed when I had to manually pull a wheely-bag of clubs around like a lacky, the other two conversing in golfing terms that may as well have been in Russian, occasionally deferring to English for my benefit. I found that when asked for a 12 iron or whatever it was best policy to pull a random club from the bag and if I was unlucky enough to have picked the wrong one I could say ‘well this was what I suggest for this stroke guv…but.. your choice..’
My reaction to the rules, regulations and conventions were such that they deemed me some sort of anarchist. I’d already received instructions as to my attire and footwear, my idea of jeans and walking boots for walking across the grassy meadows of the course dismissed out of hand. And this extended to the golf course where both men went into some kind of apoplexy when I tried to take a short cut with the trolley across the green, insisting I had to walk around!
When I asked why some golfers felt the need to shout at the top of the voice that, so I assumed, they had just scored ‘FOUR!” they shook their heads in dismay and I realised that this world was definitely not for me. Something they both agreed with and felt relieved at.
So whether you are like me, a golf-ignoramus, or a golf addict, golf widow, or prefer a good walk then come along to see this well-loved comedy performing May 11th, 12th, 13th. Seats still available with the best seats available on the Saturday night.
Last week members and ex-members of The Petuaria Players joined with so many friends, colleagues and family to say goodbye to Jayne Hewson at a celebration of her life. Loved by so many she left us all far too early.
Our group was such a significant part of her life that we cannot do justice to it here – there must be a thousand stories to tell. She’d watched from the audience as a teenager with her mum and friends, and then joined in 1986 as a young 19 year old.
And that was it. She was hooked. And now we find ourselves – prematurely, painfully – having to look back on her 37 years with us. During that time she was directly involved in an amazing total of 94 plays either performing onstage or working backstage and later, as Producer and Director. Jayne had a massive presence in our group and had a real strength in creating characters, especially those wonderful comic roles that we and our audiences will always cherish.
Always present at rehearsals, even when she was not in a production, Jayne never missed an opportunity to be there. The drama group without doubt was a very important part of her life, an area she was never prepared to give up, a constant – a source of fun, friendship, artistic challenge and, at times, an escape from the hardships of life.
Jayne’s laughter is something everyone can relate to. And she loved making people laugh and in any social occasion she would be the one to resurrect the funny stories. Our after-play parties were always an excuse for Jayne to tease and embarrass, have a laugh and never failed, for example, to bring up the hilarious subject of ‘the basket’. But that story remains ours…
Talking to our longest serving members, an amusing common theme emerged in their memories – most of her early acting roles seemed to involve her being onstage in various stages of undress! If they needed to cast a young woman in skimpy underwear, wrapped (seemingly) only in a towel – then Jayne was the brave go-to girl for those days when farce demanded it.
But this tendency for revealing performances was resurrected in her ultimate onstage bare-a-bit-more performance in one of our most successful plays: Calendar Girls in 2014 along with our other equally brave female members.
She played Annie and posed for February – the one serving tea from the hatch – and at final rehearsals – to misuse a line from the play – we realised “we were gonna need bigger tea pots!”
Us male actors were locked away in the boiler room out of sight except for Adam playing the photographer and we were convinced he saw a lot more than he was supposed to. When we asked him, Adam, being a gentleman, would only give us an enigmatic smile and a wink.
But stripping off for Calendar Girls was just a pre-cursor for the ultimate undress in 2017 when artist Spencer Tunick somehow convinced 3200 people to wander about the streets of Hull stark naked – albeit painted completely blue. Jayne, Nic and Gill (and Adam – though he was elsewhere in the crowd) are the only members that have staggered though the streets of Hull naked- as far as we’re aware anyway…..
Jayne rated Calendar Girls among her favourites and she often quoted Stepping Out as a favourite too – 6 months of tap dancing – the cast having to learn how to dance correctly – and then – start rehearsals and learn how to dance badly as Jayne herself put it.
Her acting, accents and character-creating abilities produced some memorable roles – the dippy but delightful blonde Linda in Ladies Day and Ladies Down Under, rough, tough Kirstie in Double Top, Olive in the female version of The Odd Couple playing the role made famous by one of her favourites, Walter Mathau, or the role of Anne, going from teenager to middle-age in the moving Generations Apart. And another of her personal favourites – Jean in Kick in The Baubles – one of our most successful and enjoyable plays – made so by the guidance and direction of our friend Gareth Tudor Price.
And of course she turned her stage experience skills to producing and directing. Her first production was Neil Simon’s California Suite back in 2010 with Richard helping. Then, after two more as co-producer, in 2015 went completely solo for five wonderfully directed plays. It should have been six – our most recent production The Final Test late last year should have been hers – but she became unwell at the start and was forced to drop out.
What made Jayne a great Director, apart from her stage skills, was something everyone who knew her will recognise. Her care and empathy with people, her counselling, her motivational skills. She gave actors confidence, cast them and pushed them outside of their comfort zones, realised their potential. Nobody left a rehearsal or a play of hers without a smile on their face or tears at her warm and emotional feedback reports.
Everyone knew Jayne as a bubbly, friendly, warm and loving person who touched the hearts of so many people. They would recognise the same sentiments we received; “her ability to send words of comfort when I needed them”; “made me smile even on the bad days”; “always supportive, caring and thoughtful”, “came to me in my time of need”.
But we all had such fun and laughter and tears in her company, it was no coincidence that she was our Social Secretary arranging meals, theatre trips, parties and cycle rides.
And we must mention her amazing broad knowledge and memory skills! To our ongoing dismay Jayne won most of our weekly lockdown Zoom quizzes. Her excellent memory for long gone dates, events, faces….. your mistakes… could be your downfall.
The realisation that this truly beautiful person will never perform with us again is hard to bear and her loss has left the group and her many friends in shock and we send our love once again to her family. Yet she leaves a treasure of so many good memories and smiles that will not diminish and give us all comfort for the future.
To recipients of the email: a more reader friendly version including the photo gallery can be viewed online by clicking on the title at the top of this post.