Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Birthmonth Day Three: Peter Pan

Seen here, deep in crisp contemplation.

I didn’t really want to be a teacher when I grew up, either.

I simply assumed I would be a teacher, because I wasn’t aware of any other career choice.  I certainly never put any more thought into it than this:

In fact, I can remember the feeling of disappointment when I realised that since I had no desire whatsoever to be a teacher, I never would be able to put into effect all The Brilliant Ideas.

So, other early theatre memories… 

·         I vaguely recall a Robin Hood in the round, where the Sheriff walked all the way around the stage to try to talk to all of the audience at once without putting his back to anyone.  This was funny, but may have been the only funny bit because it is the only bit I remember.  Or maybe I just don’t get on with Robin Hood stories because one of The Childhood Heroes was The Sheriff from Maid Marian And Her Merry Men so I don’t like it when the Sheriff of Nottingham loses.  I think the play was kind of Brechtian, with a chest of costumes and props in the middle of the stage. 
Definitely completely accurate dialogue that I came out with when under the age of ten.
But now for some reason it is morphing into Treasure Island in The Head.  I think I’m that easily confused.

·         There was a Jungle Book (by Rudyard Kipling, adapted by Patrick Sanford, original music by Neil Brand, lyrics by Rudyard Kipling (adapted by Patrick Sanford and Neil Brand)/The Nuffield Theatre, Southampton) where the monkeys came out into the audience and one of them sat on The Friend so I defended her by pulling his tail.  I’m sure the actor really appreciated that.

·         And there was a Dick Whittington pantomime, starring the woman off the Generation Game, that I ended up seeing three times because different people kept taking me to see it.  It was the first time I had heard ‘Consider Yourself’ and so I naturally thought it was a song from Dick Whittington, but apparently it’s actually from some other show with a boy’s name as the title.  I forget what.

·         And then there was Peter Pan.

There was a problem when we (we being Brownies or Guides, I guess) arrived to see Peter Pan.  A technical fault.  I heard that some roadwork(er)s had cut through some cables to the theatre.  So we waited to see if it would get fixed.

We waited.

And waited.

We waited for what I am fairly sure was the longest amount of time anyone has ever waited for anything.

We waited for eternity.

And it wasn’t the waiting that bothered me, dull though it was.  It was getting to the end of the waiting and finding out that they couldn’t fix the fault and we had come all this way and waited all this time for nothing and there was going to be no Peter Pan.

But but but… we came all this way.  I know it’s out of your hands but can’t it just be fixed.  Please please please let them somehow fix it.  Maybe there’s another load of cables connecting them to electricity that they’ve forgotten about.  Maybe it’s just a wrong switch flicked somewhere.  Oh please don’t make me go home.  I want to stay here.

In a move totally in keeping with the child’s imagination theme of the play, we were taken into the cafeteria (do theatres have cafeterias?) and the actors gave an impromptu version of the play just for us, without sets or effects. (Tinkerbell was someone hiding behind a corner by the door, ringing a bell).  The actor playing Peter had loads of improvised and adlibbing fun.  And when the actors are having fun, the audience is having fun.

I recall them constructing a teetering Wendy House from tables and chairs and whatever was to hand.  The fact that it was clearly unstable and might crush them made it SO MUCH BETTER.

I dunno what the show would have been like if I had seen it properly, but the fact that I got to see it unproperly is what makes it
and utterly

Have you ever experienced something going wrong that made it better than if it had gone right?

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