For more years than I can remember I have filmed, edited and produced VHS tapes/DVDs of the village pantomime. Our daughter Ally was a regular performer, progressing from being a rabbit as a six-year-old to Fairy Queen 12 pantomimes later.
The hours of my work always meant that the biggest commitment I could ever make was the one or two evenings to film (and then the hours of editing and DVD copying).
This year my new status as "retired" has enabled me to volunteer for being on stage for the first time. I was accepted with alacrity - they need men in the chorus!
As a singer who has gone from treble to alto to bass (and to tenor in the church choir!) - always with the dots on the page in front of me - it came as a shock to find that we were not issued with music. Instead we had to pick it up as we went along. I still don't know if I'm singing it right.
I suppose all unknown quantities in their first year are put in the chorus where they can't do too much damage. So no speaking part for me. This year.
This was last year's production, Cinderella.
This year it's Beauty and the Beast.
Oh, another shock came with the revelation that, for some of the numbers, we would have to dance as well as sing. At the same time. Oo er! Singing I can do, but dancing???
I think the main reason large numbers of my family are coming to watch the final performance is to have a laugh at me.
Doing "dad dancing".
The last few rehearsals have been run-throughs of the whole pantomime. I was a bit surprised at the amount of prompting needed on the last-but-one rehearsal. When I mentioned this to a seasoned cast member afterwards she assured me that it was always like that, and that "it would be all right on the night". Well, the next rehearsal was last night and, suddenly, most people seemed to know their lines.
Next week there are three rehearsals including the technical and the dress, before the first two performances on Saturday.
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