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Waiting for Nick

October 28, 2021

It was the first read through yesterday of my little Christmas play, Waiting for Nick. (Let’s be honest. It’s only about ten minutes long, so it’s more a sketch than a play.) 

Here’s the basic story: Noel and Angie are hosting Christmas dinner for his sister Carol and their Uncle Nick. It’s clear from the start Angie isn’t all that keen on Nick’s inclusion in the celebration. (“It must be someone else’s turn, surely?”) As they wait for Nick, who’s always late for Christmas dinner, to arrive, conversations reveal a far from savoury side of his character. When he does arrive, he turns out to be (for anyone who hasn’t already guessed) Santa Claus.

I’d already asked my friend Donna if she would like to play Carol – a bit of a drinker who absolutely loves Christmas. And I’d asked Marshall, who’s already been our Santa a couple of times, to reprise that role. At the end of the meeting where it was decided mine would be one of the three Christmas plays for this year’s online show, I bagged Wendy to play Angie. Knowing there was bound to be a bit of a scramble for actors, I went straight from the meeting to the pub, where I knew Joe would be taking part in the weekly jam. Cornered him, handed over a script and said, “Tag. You’re Noel.” (I would have ordered a pint andWastayed to listen to the music, but of course I didn’t have my mobile with me, so no QR code, so no sticking around. Duh.)

The read was at Joe’s place, as he’s the only one with a big enough diningroom. (Woot! A little extra Georgie time.) First go through didn’t take long. It was followed by an hour of discussion about what the playwright (that’s me!) had in mind as the beats changed. 

I have to say, that part was fun. 

The first one-act I wrote for the local theatre group, That’s Nice, was a bit of a nightmare. I’d written it as a vehicle for Donna and me, although there were four other characters. It was originally going to be directed by a friend of mine, but she had to pull out for personal reasons. She recommended someone we both knew as a replacement, which I thought would be fine, but turned out not to be. The woman wanted to take my clever little play and turn it into a Benny Hill sketch. When it became clear that neither Donna nor I were willing to play ball, she quit and was replaced by another woman, one I didn’t know, who had moved to the island recently and had a lot of previous theatrical experience. Working with her was hellish. Call me crazy, but if you’re directing a play in which the author is playing one of the roles, surely it would be a good idea to check in with the writer to ensure you were being faithful to her vision? Nope. The day after the dress rehearsal (driving home from which I found myself reduced to tears of frustration), I confronted her. She let me rant for a while, then said, in a nutshell: “The play isn’t very good. You’re not a very good actress. I’ve been trying my best to overcome these obstacles, but have been met with resistance every step of the way. The play is going to be a flop and I will get the blame.” Say what? Drove straight round to Donna and Garry’s place to repeat this. Reassuring that they were every bit as flabbergasted and outraged as I was. On opening night, I gathered the cast outside for a final run through as the first play was being performed. Before we started, I said I knew the entire rehearsal process had been awful for everyone, but the play was now ours and we should just concentrate on having fun with it. Which we did. The play was a huge success, by far the most popular of the three performed. (FYI, it wasn’t just me. No one in the technical or backstage crews ever wanted to work with this horrible woman again.)

So, yes, it was lovely to be asked yesterday.

And it’s going to be lovely to watch my little Christmas play take shape.

Ho, ho, ho.

From → Blog, Plays

  1. Donna permalink

    Lovely to be one of the actors involved in bringing your plays to fruition! xo

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