Unfortunately I have no photographs of the first play so if anyone reading this has any then let me know and I'll scan them and put them up. All the other pictures were taken at the Dress rehearsal when the stage wasn't quite finished. Once again if anyone reading has photographs taken on performance nights then I'd like to include them.
Ernie's Incredible Illucinations.
Written by Alan Ackbourn, this tells the story of Ernie, a small boy who is able to create reality just by imagining it. With a very large cast, it was always going to be a challenge to produce the play on the relatively small stage that we had to work on. Producer Rachel to keep the thing in order and it made an enjoyable opener. The play was recently performed at the Harrogate Theatre as part of a junior festival and received positive comments.
Costa Del Packet.
Back in the 70s and 80s there was a running joke about holiday destinations, particularly the Spanish coastal areas, not having completed hotels. With gullible holiday makers arriving at little more than a building site. Heck, there was even a Carry-on film about it.
The play sees four such holiday makers having to come to terms with their hotel being nothing more than a workman's hut. If that wasn't bad enough they had to cope with an ex-Butlins PT instructor holiday guide who had a terminal case of joyfulness.
From the outset, the set captured all the details of such a hut down to the scruffy lamps, dusty chairs and lewd pictures on the wall. The four actors playing the tourists, Holly, Jane, Mary and Natalie, each possessed a different character and did well to cope both with the manic Beryl as the guide and the unseen spanish workmen whenever they went to the toilet.
All five did equally admirably to cope with a script that had seen better days. Written by Anthony Booth, it definitely showed its age both with the subject matter and some of the language and concepts. Still, it was very well received by the audience and producer Rachel can be proud of her efforts.
Last Panto in Helperby
David Tristram is beginning to get a bit of a reputation on this web site. It's nothing to do with money or any form of nepotism, it's just that he writes such excellent plays. Therefore, below are details of the fourth one to have been produced by groups that I have an involvement in.
Last Panto in Helperby is the follow up to his Last Tango in... and has the same four members of a terrible dramatic society trying to produce the groups annual pantomime. As before the chairman sees sex as the only way to guarantee audiences and so the play proceeds accordingly.
HADDS had actually performed the first play a few years previously with the same producer but a completely different cast. With Joyce playing the bossy Margaret, Yvonne as the keen but theatrically challenged Joyce, Steve as the bolshi set constructor and me as the slightly camp producer, we filled their empty shoes particularly well. This was even more impressive since, although Steve and I are seasoned veterans, Joyce and Yvonne had never acted in a play of substantial length before.
The whole production was a joy to rehearse and we five, Max was producing, had loads of fun during the schedule. As is usually the case, when the actors enjoy working together then the eventual performances usually go well. Slick, pacey and well acted the play was very well received by the two audiences and made a fitting finale to the evening.
Particular highlights for me was the pantomime horse costume. It brought back fond memories of my first ever sortie before a paying audience. That episode is chronicled in the description of Sessay Drama Groups production of Mother Goose. It was a welcome reminder just how hot you get in a furry animal costume while running around the stage!
Mention must be made of the set construction. Built from scratch, our village hall doesn't have a permanent stage, it provided just the right environment. The hall is an excellent venue with plenty of space and facilities for such evenings. It certainly won't be the last that HADDS do. And since I committed myself to Beryl while stuffing my face with pizza after the last night, it won't be the last that I do there.