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The recipe for theatre magic

March 24, 2018

Facebook reminds me that it was four years ago this week that our little theatre company staged four sold out performances of Inherit the Wind.

This was my baby, conceived as a response to a spate of homophobic Bible quotes scrawled on posters at the 2013 theatre festival.

Although I’d returned to acting three years earlier (after a decades-long absence), I had never directed a play. A good way to start would be a one-act two-hander, but, oh, no, not me.

When I read the script I nearly had a heart attack. Thirty-four speaking roles, staging to take place on two levels. How on earth could our little theatre group stage this play in our tiny venue? But I was determined. I managed to figure out how we could stage it, using the entire building, not just the stage. I managed to combine a number of roles, to the point that the play could be performed by twenty actors, but that was still a huge cast. Where would I ever find them?

cast

Coming out of the woodwork, it turned out.

When word started to circulate that I was planning to stage Inherit the Wind, a professional actor on the island came up to me in the village car park to say he wanted to be in it.

When the auditions came round, many of our regular actors turned up. So, too, did eight men who’d never performed in front of an audience before, all of whom wanted to be part of this project.

It was a truly amazing experience from start to finish. There are a handful of accomplishments in my life of which I am very proud. I suspect that when my time comes and I am asked to pick the one of which I am most proud, I will choose jumping in with both feet and no idea to make this show happen.

As I said on Facebook the other day: Take one truly great play. Add one crazy woman who decides to try to direct it in a tiny venue. Mix in an amazingly talented and dedicated cast. This is the recipe for theatre magic.

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From → Inherit the Wind

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