Remembering spring

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As we sink slowly into Northern Winter, I thought I would post a picture of the spring earlier this year. The buds were starting to burst, the flowers were opening on rhododendrons. The sky was a warm blue, not the cold, grey, scudding clouds of today.

Warmer evenings, longer days… I can’t wait! I don’t want to make time rush by, but please, don’t let it be a long, cold, harsh winter. We already have flooding in South Yorkshire and parts of the South Midlands where towns like Fishlake have been inundated.

Our local pantomime is on in February, just when winter is starting to get really annoying. We are doing Aladdin this time. I’ve got a small part in it. Hopefully I won’t be falling over while I try to dance!

Panto

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Have you heard of Panto? Or better known as Pantomime?

No? It’s something that goes on here in the UK around Christmas time.

Usually seen in a theatre it consists of brightly coloured sets, with brightly clothed people, messing about, telling an adventurous story while telling awful jokes and singing contemporary songs.

We do this in Penkhull, but for the at two years someone from the group has written the panto/pantomime, rather than buying in a script.

We started rehearsing last week. Lots of people who have done it before, greatful to get a couple of lines and be able to play act again. Most modern pantos seem to have commercial sponsorship, but in our case we just mention local shops. We don’t have advertisements in the panto, unless it’s jokey ones in the programme.

This time we are doing Aladdin. Set to open for four performances (too many for’s?) in February 2020, so the cast can take Christmas off!

Oh yes we can!

Wild and wet

Looking out of the side window  yesterday, you can see why I didn’t want to go outside! It being the 4th of April, I was hoping things would dry and sunny. But no. On the TV there were photos of snow in Shropshire. The weather was swirling round a hook of cloud scooting across the British Midlands.

Last night when we went out to the theatre the wind and rain were awful. There were gusts of wind that blew my umbrella inside out. I could have thrown it away but despite the supports being bent out of shape the fabric kept the freezing wind off us. My partner bent down and walked behind me…. If we had been in costume we could have been a pantomime horse!

Today there was sunshine this morning but its turned very dark and cloudy. I’m guessing it’s going to tip it down again soon.

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After the panto

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This is me in panto costume and makeup. I have not published photos of other cast members as I don’t have their permission. What a brilliant time! Two full shows today. That’s 8 hours in the hall. Trying to look serious , happy, perplexed, confused. Changing from being a villager to a Scottish villager, supporting Robin Hood in a wrestling match, capturing Robin Hood in Scotland. Visiting the court of Prince John and the Sheriff of Penkhull and being in the presence of King Richard. Squabbling with other villagers and getting into fights. All while watching the action as Robin tries to rescue Maid Marian when she is actually quite capable of rescuing herself. Add a mad sketch which shall not be revealed at the start of the second act, and large and small Loch Ness monsters chasing the cast round the hall.

So much more goes into putting on a show than the people acting. There is the stage crew who make and place props as they are required, including a mocked up wrestling ring. There is sound and lighting. There are the amazing people creating the costumes. The make up artists trying to paint the faces of almost 40 members of the cast. The people selling tea and drinks  Mostly though it’s down to a local woman who wrote and directed our version of Robin Hood. How she kept all the adult and junior cast going and persuaded us to put it on is beyond me.

So after  4 performances including 2 yesterday, that finished about 4 hours ago … Well all I can say is I’m glad I was in it and congratulations everyone. We’ve had really great feedback from audience members. I want to do it all again!

Waiting to go on…

After 3 or more months of rehearsal it’s the first night of the panto at penkhull . Robin Hood is going to run round in a flap with  his merry men. Prince John, the sheriff of penkhull and the goons are taxing and harassing people. The villagers are assisting  Robin in his attempts to be macho.

I’m nervous. I need to hide!

I hope not to break a real leg! See you on the other side… DSC_1495

Painting again today.

I’ve just finished these two boards for the panto  They may be the last ones I do. If they are sold afterwards the proceeds will go to the Penkhull village hall although it’s not clear whether they will be kept or not. Its been hard work but great fun painting these.

Gretna Green is a Scottish village where people used to elope to get married if they did not have the permission of their parents.

The second picture is an impression of Big Ben and the houses of Parliament situated in London on the River Thames.

The idea is that the images should be clearly visible even at the back of the hall.

Panto rehearsal

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Help! The pantomime is getting closer “oh no its not!” it’s on in a month “oh yes it is!” and we are supposed to be word perfect and know the songs and dances… “oh no we don’t!”

Well last Fridays rehearsal was cancelled due to snow and this week a couple of the main cast were away or had injured themselves so some parts had to be read in. There are lots of things to remember for the whole cast. Like when to come back on stage for a crucial part of a song which we all missed! I don’t know how long 16 bars is! It’s a case if standing around muttering rhubarb rhubarb (to pretend we are talking) while the main characters act out the story.

It is funny (honest) but it’s hard to describe. It’s good that one of the cast has actually written  and I’d directing it. She’s so clever to do it. Plus organising over 20 children.  I don’t know where she gets the energy.

I won’t tell you all the story, but Robin falls for Marion, some Goons cause mayhem on behalf of the Sheriff of Penkhull who is cleverer than Prince John. Marion is Scottish and the panto has her travelling to her home land. However all ends well.  …