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Back on stage

June 2, 2022

A week today is opening night of the One-Act Play Festival. Have I mentioned that A Divine Comedy is getting another outing? Probably, but the writing’s been so sporadic in recent months I can’t remember. Forgive me if I’m repeating myself.

My little play, originally written (with the help of my friend Richard) decades ago for a BBC radio competition, is now in its third iteration.

Adapted last year, with a brief scene-setting intro, it was performed live on Zoom.

Everyone said it was a shame that we hadn’t been able to perform it live on stage and I tended to agree. So I went back to the script and expanded the play quite a bit with a much longer intro scene and a newly written third scene. It is now as much about the actors (and their relationships with one another) who have been cast in the play within the play. I had a great deal of fun with some of the backbiting humour.

I sent the new version to the artistic directors some time after the deadline for submissions for this year’s one-act play festival, assuming they would think it too soon. To my surprise they opted to do it again this year. What larks!

I’d hoped to get the band back together, but, alas, my Zoom Essex was unavailable. I lucked out at the auditions and am very happy indeed with Essex II.

After three live Zoom shows, with all rehearsals also taking place on Zoom, it was absolutely delightful to get back to the venue for the first time in two years and to see the actors physically interacting with one another.

The decision to return to live-in-theatre performances was not taken lightly, but, as one director said, “If not now, when?” It hasn’t gone without hitch, I’m sorry to say. We started out rehearsing without masks (air filter on, windows and doors open) and one fateful Sunday one of the cast members, unaware that he’d been infected with Covid, managed to infect three others, one of whom has had an extremely hard time of it. 

A week of rehearsals lost and then another week back on Zoom.

Since then all rehearsals have been masked and will be until the dress rehearsal next Tuesday.

Dire warnings have been issued to all cast and crew members to avoid all unmasked indoor social events until the run is over. As one of the other directors stated, if just one person catches Covid we’re “hooped”. So far, so good (she says touching wood).

We’re going to take a bit of a bashing from some members of the community for imposing strict safety protocols. All audience members will be required to show proof of vaccination and to wear masks whilst indoors. A marked contrast to the government’s free-for-all lifting of mandates. But fuck ’em. As my character, “the director and the playwright”, says in the opening scene, “Do not get me started on the anti-vaxxer wankers who are prolonging the whole thing.” (I took considerable pleasure in writing that line in the new intro.)

Fingers crossed we’ll be back on stage in a week. 

From → Blog

One Comment
  1. Catherine Stewart permalink

    Brava!! Sounds like enormous fun, and good on you for putting safety and health first!!

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