30 May 2007

A learning curve

I've been an "amateur dramatist" for years. Probably seriously since I was 17 and joined Ottershaw Players, but before then I was in every school play going from the age of 5. I blame it on my dad, who is also an am-dram fan. Before now, I have almost always been on stage, with a few forays into producing and set shifting. But, in the last year I have learnt to direct (Teechers), do sound at the Rhoda (A Chorus of Disapproval) and DSM (The Wind in the Willows).

None of which were things I've done before. And now, I'm starting a new skill. I am stage managing a fairly large scale production at the Rhoda in July for a friend of mine. I have never stage managed before and frankly I'm terrified. But, it'll be a learning curve...A steep one!

10 May 2007

A Chorus of Disapproval

Being the AmDram whore that I am, I am now involved in another production, with another group. Pyrford Little Theatre are presenting "A Chorus of Disapproval" by Alan Ayckbourn at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking.

A diffident North Country widower attempts to escape from his loneliness by joining the local amateur light operatic society. By accident, rather than design he advances from a one-line part to the lead. As the play progress the author skilfully draws parallels between John Gay's The Beggar's opera and the day to day activities of the Society who are performing it. Ayckbourn goes on showing how painfully embarrassed are the British in the face of emotion and keeps us laughing in happy recognition.

The show is on tonight, tomorrow and Saturday, the sound effects are MARVELLOUS and everyone should come and see it!!

I have enjoyed working with a new group, it has to be said. I know every group has it's politics, but as a new person I'm not aware of these and it's quite nice really!


Ok so it's maybe a bit up myself to post this here, but hey, I'm proud... First of all, here is what Pete had to say about Teechers.
And here is what Mrs NODA (the National Operatic and Dramatic Association) said:

Clare Groome is to be congratulated on her very successful directorial debut, especially given the choice of play. It was not a ‘run of the mill’ piece but one which required imagination to make it a constantly moving and interesting entertainment for the audience. She achieved this most effectively.

Within the limited facilities of the Brook Hall, and perhaps almost because of them, the few props and furniture on stage created a perfectly adequate school setting and were all that was needed.

The three actors set the various scenes quickly and efficiently all as part of the action, and their being on stage the whole time worked really well. The fast pace never faltered.

All three of them are to be commended on excellent performances, and I should imagine that acting would continue to be an important part of their lives in amongst the other plans they have for their individual futures. I hope so.

They played a multitude of characters and all of them convincingly but I particularly liked Suzi Braggin’s Hobby, Thomasins Breslin’s Mrs Parry and Jack Breslin as Salty. Suzi also made a good gym mistress, very prissy, but it would be unfair and untrue to say that any one of them was more confident or capable.

Because the girls were older they were perhaps a little more credible in some roles but if the purpose of the play was that they should all take on all parts then they did this brilliantly. We met just about every one to be found in a school environment including a very unhelpful caretaker, a variety of teachers ranging from shy through encouraging to self-important and of course the school kids, mostly with ‘attitude’.

This was a challenging project for all concerned and, although hard work, I imagine the three actors had a great time. They had an enormous number of lines to learn and I don’t believe there was a prompt when I attended.

The music chosen and the sound effects were very good too. Although the lighting was limited it was nicely plotted and operated.

Congratulations to everyone involved in putting on the production. I’m sure that Suzi, Thomasina and Jack were delighted, and also appreciated the fact that Clare gave them the opportunity to present the play once more.

The young people of Ottershaw are fortunate to have someone like Clare who has an interest in youth theatre and it was good to chat with her in the interval.

Thank you for inviting me to see this unusual production. It was funny, a true reflection of school life and poignant at the very end when the children were leaving. I enjoyed it very much.

Just a little bit pleased with that :)