For many of us actively involved in Community Theatre, the lure of the tinsel dust is hard to ignore. We may stagger away from the remains of the last night supper exhausted, crying “Never again!” but mere weeks later we’re back pouring over scripts and being seduced by another great story.
The very first lockdown took us by surprise. We’re used to being out three nights a week in rehearsals, not sitting on a sofa binge watching box sets and of course, once the novelty of not bolting dinner down in time to make it to the theatre wore off, we found we missed the fun, the creativity, the teamwork, the joy. Right when we needed it most, amidst all the gloom and fear, the stage was off limits to us.
I was rather pleased then, when Kate Davies and Mark Rosenthal contacted me last Autumn and asked if I’d direct them in Jim Cartright’s ‘Two’ via Zoom. They too were missing theatre land and thought it would be good fun to have a project. With the aid of technology we could set up a regular rehearsal schedule, and stick to it regardless of where we were – in bedrooms, living rooms, and home offices. Mark (being so method) even built his own bar – and there we were, doing what we loved and enjoying every minute.
In the heady days before Christmas we were fairly confident that theatres would reopen sometime in January, and we could, maybe, put on a couple of nights with a socially distanced audience – just for the sheer fun of it. We’d worked on the characterisation, had all the moves, and the sterling cast were even pretty word perfect. What could possibly go wrong?
Of course, Coronavirus had other plans and here we are now, finally ready to start the Season and adapting our small screen version of Two to the full sized stage. I have to say, it’s an amazing experience. We’ve started with both actors off book (all lines learnt and retained – that must be a Saddleworth Players’ first!) with the stage set built (thank you Keith and Mike) and, thanks to a timely session with the Spy Theatre group, all the costumes sorted. We are now in the joyous position of being able to refine and improve rather than start from scratch, and are really looking forward to laughing and crying with you as we bring our northern pub regulars to life.
Verity Mann, Director of ‘Two’
‘Two’ by Jim Cartwright will be performed at the Millgate Arts Centre from Saturday 25th September to Saturday 2nd October 2021. Tickets available from TicketSource or call our telephone booking line 01457 874 644 (phone booking charged at £1.80).