The temperature’s rising, the roses are blooming, BBQ’s are in and fires are out, boots are off and jandals are on. Yes, the season is approaching.
There’s the ham to order, or will it be lamb? There’s mince pies to bake, a Pavlova to consider or maybe it will be Summer Berry Pudding this year. Shops are shiny with tinsel and more crowded by the day. And as for children, they’re getting hopeful and helpful in anticipation of outsized rewards from the man with ruddy cheeks and a famous Ho, Ho, Ho.
Christmas is a month away. It can seem like ages or no time at all. Sometimes the hurley-burly of work, Christmas “dos” (parties, if you’re not a Kiwi and don’t know our slang), shopping, catching up with friends and family, or missing those who aren’t with us anymore, can sour the reason for the season. If that’s you I have the cure.
It’s in a perfect little theatre, in a perfect little town, in the best little country in the world. Not that I’m biased or anything. You know that about me – right?
Old favourites of mine, Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future, come to the stage in full song.
They’re performed with a vigour and enthusiasm that’s the very best of theatre. And it’s true community theatre. There are over thirty back stage helpers. And the cast of forty ranges in age from four years to eighty-one. Grandchildren share the stage with their grandparents. Each and every participant is keen to give their audience a good show.
Speaking of audience, on Sunday afternoon there was a decent smattering of family members in that, too. Including one youngster a few seats along from us who stole the first half.
The moment in question: one of Scrooge’s char ladies declares her husband is “looking for a nice, big bird.” She laughs, and adds “Let’s hope he doesn’t find one or I’ll be out on my ear”. She exits with the best stage cackle I’ve heard in a long time. At least I assume it’s a “stage” cackle and not something the family generally gets to hear. During the ensuing pause the youngster said, loud, earnest, and sounding slightly shocked, “Silly, Grandma!” Her timing was impeccable.
I was so busy laughing I missed my sister’s stage entrance. Usually her roles are backstage or perhaps front of house. Never before on stage for all to see.
I did get her next time around, though. That’s her at the far left, with her back to the audience. Not only is she proficient at scene changes, she’s expert at hiding her face!
For some more great action shots taken during the dress rehearsal last week check out the Waipawa Musical and Dramatic Club on Facebook.
The Best Bits:
- Best scripted line : “Time is precious, you can’t own it but you can use it.”
- Most prescient line, Scrooge to Bob Cratchitt: “If you wish to sneeze, do it in your own time.” Once I’d have thought this a particularly Dickensian attitude. Not anymore. Not since regular breaks were legislated out of employment conditions last month.
- Best song: Drink It In
- Best post show moment: The back stage tour. Some of the props were still out, strangely lifeless without all the action around them. They may well be items brought from home by club members but they’ve been invested with the power of make believe. It was like being in the Toymaker’s Workshop at midnight – as soon as our backs were turned I knew something magical could happen.
They say the Grand Old Dame’s haunted. Lights turn themselves off and on, objects move of their own accord, blue screens appear randomly on the backdrop. Perhaps there are logical explanations, or perhaps not. In a production that hinges on the powers of ghosts you have to wonder.
The good news:
There are four more shows. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings this week. The final show is a matinée on Saturday. Go! It’ll set you up for the Season. Book here.
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How’s your local community theatre doing? Are you going along to their production this Christmas?