Today I had a little more time to think about my blog
Thanks for your patience- it’s all been a bit of a blur recently, lots of late nights and hasty posts. Sorry if you feel short-changed. Remember the old days when I dressed up dolls to amuse you? There will have to be a Christmas special – maybe Jackie can knit Bob a festive jumper? (“Not by Saturday”, I can hear her saying)
As you will have gathered, panto week has arrived – but in truth panto week stretches across three weekends: two weeks leading up to the show of set build and promotion, a week of tech rehearsals, dress rehearsals and performances, then a final Sunday to break down the set and pack everything away to leave the village hall in a fit state for the other users. Costumes to be washed and put away, numbers to be crunched, bills to be paid – the list of jobs is as long as your arm and pretty much everyone has jobs, family and other commitments to fit in. Something to do with Christmas, maybe?
As tempers flare and tiredness creeps in, it’s easy to forget that we do this FOR FUN. We belong to an amateur dramatics society. It’s a social thing we do with friends, because we are creative, we like to sing, dance, make things and generally show off. It has to be a team effort: director, cast, backstage crew, front of house, wardrobe, publicity, box office, light and sound, the people who make the tea and sell the raffle tickets are vital.
I have recently come back to the group after taking a back seat for the last six years while I was doing my part time degree. It’s a very different group today, lots of the familiar faces have gone – moved away, drifted away for different reasons. A few new faces. There are lots of other societies in the area, and people move around depending on the production. How great, you might think, lots of variety, a thriving drama circuit in a small town. Yes, great if you are an actor; the large cast, more attractive, spectacular summer shows are understandably popular, but maybe not so good for panto. Not so good for backstage either. Attendance at set build was ‘disappointing’ according to our current director. Societies need a core of committed volunteers who are guaranteed to turn up. Often, but not exclusively, the older members. Busy people who get things done. We have one of these, but it appears to be shrinking.
I am afraid that our society may be dying or perhaps it’s just a mid-life crisis as next year is the 40th anniversary of the Lynden Players. Shows are lined up for 2015 and 2016. We do our best to offer a range of productions – interesting but commercial- we are even tackling Shakespeare in May, if we can cast it! Ticket sales for Dracula are a little disappointing, which is a shame because it really is very funny, but those who are coming will get 100%. From a selfish point of view, next year is my panto and I want a full, enthusiastic cast and crew, packed houses and applause ringing in our ears till February. (Note to self: must finish writing panto asap)
Membership is down, but our village is growing in size every year. There must be potential actors, singers, painters, prop-makers, ticket buyers out there.
I feel a call to action, a crusade is necessary. Crikey, I love a crusade!
Join me! Or send me your suggestions…