The Winterfood Diaries

The Winterfood Diaries

Thursday, 9 February 1989

The Chinese Play (1)


‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome (LP Mix)’ – Frankie Goes To Hollywood



 

A Letter from Emma

She writes from her English class in a 10 minute break and apologises for any spelling mistakes.  She loved my letter and says ‘WOW!’

 

She picks up at lunchtime (12.35pm, in fact), having finished her work.  She tells me she enjoys my company a great deal and that I’m a good laugh and I allow her to feel uninhibited and able to act like herself and even be silly and childlike.  She also likes that we can be deep and serious together.  She says she likes me a lot, and that she’s also looking forward to The Chinese Play.

 

She goes on to tell me that her Dance lesson this morning was awful, which is why she was subdued at break.  The exam is extremely hard (and boring) and she’s getting panicky about it.  She’s also a member of a dance group in Thetford and they’re under a lot of competition pressure at the moment, and may even be on Sky TV if all goes well.  Emma’s feeling the pressure of the work and the politics of the personalities involved.  But she tells me seeing me makes her happy.

 

Later:

 

My No.1: ‘Left To My Own Devices (LP Mix)’ – Pet Shop Boys



 

TODAY was ANGRY!

 

An angry day indeed.

 

In my opinion – and that of Donna Davidson – it seemed to me that given it was going to be performed there, that THE CHINESE PLAY should have all-day priority in the Drama Studio (which is why we spent all last nite cleaning the bastard).  So having set the place up for the performance, how angry were we when we went off somewhere and then returned to find a class in there, dismantling everything we’d done and recreating the mess we’d spent last nite tidying?! 

 

(We were furious, in case you hadn’t guessed)

 

Tension also mounted when Carl Morris finally turned up after an absence of several days without explanation.  Fortunately, Ron Johnson has been looking over the part of ‘Eddie’ in case Carl didn’t come in.  This meant that when Carl showed no contrition, Donna was able to sack him, on the spot, with no compunction.  Carl wasn’t best pleased, obviously.  Lee signalled his willingness to step in, and he’d done a good job on the character; far better than one-note Carl. 

 

Alas, an emergency Dress Rehearsal room could NOT be allocated, so the cast + crew became restless and unruly; some of them worrying about Carl being ‘sacked’, and talking about pulling out.  By 11.30am, it looked as if we might have to cancel. 

 

But I looked at Donna and she looked at me.  Simultaneously, laughing, we just said: ‘THE SHOW MUST GO ON!’

 

So we marched on the Staff Room and took it over.  The entire cast + crew huddled together in a tiny room to replace a rather thick + heavy atmosphere with one of quite splendid camaraderie.  Sadly, once the Dress Rehearsal was over, we were reproached for using the Staff Room without permission, but it WAS our statement for the day: the Drama Department is growing; it needs MORE ROOM!

 

Larry + argued about this, but then ‘made up’, both agreeing that the stresses and hassles of recent days were to blame.  It’s his own fault really, though.

 


Anyway, the subsequent premier performance of THE CHINESE PLAY at 2pm in the NORCAT Drama Studio was splendid!  FANTASTIC!  We had a good audience of students from outside the Drama Department as well as lots of friends and so on (50 cheap pee a ticket, too!).  All enjoyed it + Larry gave Donna and I DISTINCTIONS for it.

 

Emma enjoyed it, too.  Thank god.

 

Ronnie Treece, my old Theatre Studies teacher from TS1 1986/87 came to see and even she really liked it.

 

Later:

 

‘How To Be A Millionaire’ – ABC


 

The Chinese Play performance went just as planned, moving smoothly from scene to scene with no technical hitches whatsoever.  The cast and crew worked exceedingly well together to create a flawless production, and Ron Johnson’s last-minute ‘Eddie’ was fantastic; no-one could have played it better.  It was, of course, mostly ad libbed + improvised around the lines in the script, but it almost stole the show and we’ll definitely let him do this tomorrow and in May.

 

The audience were lovely – very supportive and clearly amused.  They were full of congratulations afterwards.

 





 

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Next time: ‘The Chinese Play 2…’

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