The Play’s the Thing

Having just joined the local am-dram society in the never-ending attempt to pick up that part my life after it was truncated at the age of 18, I found myself idly trying to recall some of the most fun roles I’ve had on stage. There’s been loads of rehearsed readings, but I’m excluding them. So I’m committing the following list of favourite things to the blog.

Catherine Winslow – ‘The Winslow Boy’

Why memorable? For the curtains. The marvellous curtains. There’s a line in the play when a super-fussy journalist comes to the house, ostensibly to talk about a crisis that’s ripping this lovely family apart, only to be distracted by the curtains. The girl who played the journalist delivered this line with such delight that it cracked us up every time in rehearsals and even now, whenever I hear someone admiring curtains, I start to giggle.

Also memorable for the poor chap, very hard-of-hearing, who called for a prompt (who was sitting inside a hollowed-out piano, no word of a lie) and couldn’t hear it. Line became ‘I can’t hear a bloody word’.

Further memorable for the two elderly ladies who stopped me after the performance and said that they’d hoped my character and the barrister were going to Get It On.

Sorrel Bliss – ‘Hayfever’

Why memorable? Because I played opposite the same guy who’d been the barrister in ‘The Winslow Boy’ and our characters DID sort of get it on. The two elderly ladies were delighted. Also memorable for the barometer that kept falling off the wall.

Toinette  – ‘The Hypochondriac/The Imaginary Invalid’

Why memorable? Oh my good heavens, this was easily the most fun I’ve ever had on stage. Pretending to be a doctor, false moustache and all and assuming a big, booming voice. Nearly breaking some poor guy in the audience who laughed so hard he couldn’t breathe with my choice to deliberately leave that moustache on when I came back in as the maid. This was a joy from start to finish, this play.

Guard – ‘1984’

Why memorable? I got to be mean. Also, doubled up as the Main Villain’s Assistant. This was the first play I’d done for a few years, and I enjoyed it enormously.

Bernice Billet – ‘Sand Castles’

Why memorable? Kites were involved. Also, it was a very funny play. All about beach hut politics and the sad existence of the upwardly mobile and downtrodden.

Chelsea Thayer Wayne – ‘On Golden Pond’

Why memorable? WHAT a role to play this one was. Brilliant. Emotive. Sad. Glorious. Terrible attempt at an American accent. Also referred to throughout rehearsals as ‘On Golden Syrup’.

PC Conklin – ‘Rumours’

I don’t remember an awful lot about this one other than someone complimenting me on my comic timing and delivery of what was, conversely speaking, one of the smaller roles. It was good fun though, I DO remember that. Not every day you get to be a severe (yet tiny) police officer.

Muriel Tate – ‘Plaza Suite’

Why memorable? For the absolutely terrible American accent – probably worse even than the one from ‘On Golden Syrup’. Also, vodka stingers. Also, also, the sense of outrage I felt at the character for being so bloody stupid and gullible and letting the ‘amazing Jesse Whateverhisnamewas’ win her over.


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