The new year is firmly here now and that means that we can finally stop wishing each other ‘a happy whatsit’. The remains of Christmas trees have been evicted outside the back door (and for the next few weeks that’s where they will stay), the decorations are back in the attic and after a week of running we have realised that running actually isn’t a sport for us. We have stopped photographing our reindeer jumpers and returned back to sunrises and sunsets.
While all the festivities have been going on, our little amateur dramatics group has been rehearsing a farce. We started off calmly despite the fact that we only had some parts filled and really needed full cast. We bravely persevered through the Christmas and New Year celebrations to the annoyance of our families. And we are almost there.
Personally, I have vowed not to agree to be the director ever again. It’s too much stress you find out halfway through the thing that ‘directing’ means ‘organising everybody and everything from teas at the interval to colour filters in the lights and buying the soda syphon for the second act’. But now I know, and I will remember, that village productions, much lark and fun as they might be, are often the vehicles for small people’s egos.
Just in case you want to produce, direct or take part in a village play, here are two lists to help you on your way.
- you get to work with new people who you would otherwise never meet
- you get to do stuff that you wouldn’t otherwise try (singing, dancing, directing)
- you have a good belly laugh when people fluff up their lines
- you exercise your brain by learning your lines (steps, actions)
- you get to be on stage and show off
- you ride on a wave of adrenaline when you realise that the play is on in three days
Not so plus points (especially if you produce and/or direct)
- you have to work with people who you would otherwise never want to meet
- you end up doing stuff you wouldn’t otherwise need to do (wallpapering the set, sewing buttons on costumes, printing posters)
- you have a pretend laugh (but cry on the inside) when people f*** up their lines again
- you exhaust your brain by inevitably learning everybody else’s lines, cues and actions as well as your own
- you get to be on stage and show your inability to remember or to improvise as you are helplessly hovering near the prompt, listening for your line
- you ride on a a wave of a near breakdown anxiety when you realise that the play is on in three days
Sounds familiar? Of course it does – every club, volunteering project, community campaign and village group have the same unwritten rules of positives and negatives. And most of us make resolutions never to join anything again. But we do. And I do too. Do you know why?
I like being busy. I like being on stage. I like being told by friends in the audience how great we were even when we all know the truth. I even like the rush of nerves before the performance (fingers crossed for 12, 13 and 14 Jan).
And really is great fun!