Good afternoon. We are now well into October and having a beautiful week here during my favourite season! ‘ Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ to quote Keats. The poem, Ode to Autumn, by the way, according to the Guardian, is apparently the most anthologised English poem.
I am now getting ready for another project! Directing a play!! I have recently been having a hankering after a past that did not materialise! I have always wanted to be an actress or work in theatre – well I did when I was a teenager! I would spend hours locked in my room playing the part of great tragic heroines. I would make up words as I went along and my characters were mostly based on films I’d watched or historic characters I had read about or heard about at school! In reality, the most tragic part about the whole thing was that I would think of all kinds of sad things to make myself cry while acting out the parts before my death!! The greatest part I played to my audience of no one was that of Gladys Aylward after watching the film ‘Inn of the Sixth Happiness’! Oh my, how I protected those children from the shootings and saved them all by covering as many of them as I could using my body as their protective armour, huddled right there, on my bedroom floor! And then the denouement – my strapping, strong, tanned, handsome love interest, having been made aware of the shooting, would find me draped over the surviving children and take me in his strong, warm arms whispering words of love, tears pouring down his grief-stricken face as I smile at him and breathe my last breath! Waaah!
And then there was the true story of the very brave Violette Szabo, portrayed in the 1958 film ‘Carve Her Name with Pride’ which is based on her life working for the Special Operations Executive during World War II as a spy. Violette subsequently was captured, tortured and executed by the Germans. I threw myself heart and soul into that role, feeling her pain and her fear, and would recite with great passion, the poem used in the film as the passing on of secret codes, to whoever would listen!! And here it is:-
The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.
A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause.
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.
By Leo Marks
Other heroines I acted our were Anne Boleyn after watching the film Anne of a Thousand Days 7 times. Kneeling on the old footstool in my bedroom with my hair tied up and speaking words of comfort to my executioner and just longing and hoping and waiting for Richard Burton to barge into the room in his knee length dress and fur cape, halt the execution and wrap me in his arms and carry me away on horseback to the palace where I would be reunited with Elizabeth and change history forever, but of course that was not to be! And then there was Joan of Arc but I changed the end of her story due to my fear of fire!!
And so, back to present day and reality! When I felt strong and well enough I returned to Neath Little Theatre (NLT) my local amateur dramatic company. I have been a member since the early 90s but with the birth of my son and promotion at work, it got more and more difficult to keep being involved and therefore I took a 7 year gap – but now I’m back!! In December last year I helped out with a production of Dancing at Lughnasa which was performed in March and ran for a week, then I directed my own short one act play, Bar and Ger by Geraldine Aron.
Now I have committed to directing Steel Magnolias in March next year and have already begun working on it. There is so much to cover when directing a play and the standards at NLT are very high so no pressure! I need to begin by sorting out the cast, the set, the production team, auditions, and then of course rehearsals and costumes etc etc I am really looking forward to it and have plenty of time these days to give it my all. The play will run for a week at the beginning of March! It may seem ages to go yet but it will be upon us in no time so what am I doing sitting here telling you all about it while I should be at my desk sorting out auditions for next week!!
Enjoy your journey and we will meet up again soon at the next Pit Stop!