The Winterfood Diaries

The Winterfood Diaries

Tuesday, 28 November 1989

'Mansfield Park' at Barnes Bysea Theatre

‘Wiping A Tear From The All-Seeing Eye’ – Scala

Today was a day of final rehearsals and last minute re-writing and re-blocking and other such madness.

The dress runs today were far better than I’d expected, and even if the day was looking well, I was worried about the performance.  But at least we finally got the costumes sorted.

It was nice to hear my name being mentioned on various local radio stations, advertising MP.  It finally started to feel like it was all coming together.

In the evening, Johnny and I met up with Julian, Peter Conti, (the ever-distant) Gemma and Julia Ward.  There were others, too.  We eventually said goodbye to the gang to go and get ready for the show.

After a team pep-talk, I sat in the front row of the audience (and a very mixed audience it was, too).

FROM THE PROGRAMME, by Donna Davidson:

'This adaptation by Larry Goodgirl has been put together by the 2nd year B/TEC Performing Arts group and has been directed by B/TEC student Ritcherd Jon Winterfood.  Ritcherd is principally studying acting, but he has previously written and directed his own production called The Chinese PlayMansfield Park is slightly out of Ritcherd's directing vein as his work is normally associated with alternative comedy.  He has been particularly inspired by Steven Berkoff while directing this play and you will be able to see these influences in the production.'

Watching the show, I was actually overawed by the quality of the production and the actors were incredibly vibrant.  It was a glorious fusion of fantastic direction, great acting, excellent music, great costumes, excellent make-up and, finally, a firm team spirit.

LADY BERTRAM - Donna Davidson
SIR THOMAS BERTRAM - William Daniels
MR RUSHWORTH - Darren Marsh
MARY CRAWFORD - Tracey Joyce
EDMUND BERTRAM - Kenneth Farman
HENRY CRAWFORD - Jonny Badcock
MARIA BERTRAM - Jodie Ratcliffe

Produced by: Daniel Abbott
Directed by: Ritcherd J Winterfood
Adapted by: Larry Goodgirl
Poster art by: Paul Colin Starkey
Programme art by: Ritcherd J Winterfood

Special thanks:
Daniel Abbott
Arts Theatre wardrobe (Cambridge)
Duke's Head Hotel
Stanton's Woodyard
Coalite Building Supplies
Barnes Bysea Theatre

Lighting: Marita Huckle
Set: William Daniels, Jonny Badcock, Jodie Ratcliffe
Costume: Kat Hill, Jo Morse, Tracey Joyce
Stage Management: Darren Marsh, Sally Watson, Kenneth Farman
Publicity: Donna Davidson
Make-Up: Simone Vevrier

It went down excellently with the audience, and I thought it was fantastic – the best thing done by the college in my memory.  The audience loved it, Larry loved it and the papers that came along loved it too.  The Lynn News & Advertiser has promised a good review and the EDP has promised an EXCELLENT one!  A triumph for Winterfood, and thank god, because it so very nearly wasn’t.

I can safely say that this was the best show I’ve ever been involved with and, unlike THE CHINESE PLAY, I felt instantly proud to have directed it.  The audience seemed to be transfixed – they might have been stunned, but I’m hoping they were transfixed.

The music worked very effectively too, despite being modern and often a bit ‘abstract’.  I’m glad I didn’t use classical music as that would have been a bit, well, crap.  I think it would have fallen flat, actually.  The contrast or clash between what we were seeing and what we were hearing added to the alienation of the whole piece and offered something rather new, contributing somewhat to the performance’s overall success.

I still believe that certain cast members could have and should have given their all much earlier on, and that the commitment of the crew should have materialised much sooner.  I also still feel offended and annoyed by the pessimism and lethargy exuded by certain cast members in the middle of the production period.  Whatever the case, every cast member acquitted themselves brilliantly and I hope they have learnt not to be so difficult having been involved in what I believe to be the best NORCAT Drama production this side of Macbeth.

Thanks go to all involved in the show. 

THANK YOU, all of you.

As far as I’m concerned, speaking for myself, Mansfield Park has been my greatest achievement whilst at NORCAT and I certainly gave it much more hard work and commitment than I did THE CHINESE PLAY.  This time I knew what I was aiming for and I shall know even better next time.  I like to think that with a trained, experienced, committed and paid cast of professionals I would have achieved something truly great.

Ritcherd Winterfood
Wisbech, 1989.

[Mansfield Park showed some fine directorial work – Larry]

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Next time: ‘Back to the Future II…’

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