As the Countess Wear Community Theatre tour continues, what better way to spend an afternoon than to get out of Devon and venture to the ground of the quite remarkable Harptree Court.
By far the most appealing part of working with the CWCT is the readiness to take Shakespeare from community centres to country houses knowing that the plays are there to be appreciated by everyone.
But, no amount of beautiful garden or glorious sunshine can resolve the one big problem with going on tour – the journey there and back…
In the scheme of things, there aren’t many people who have had to travel by minibus with me. Certainly, there were plenty of journeys in my teens where minibuses were the preferred means of travel for a scout camp. But for a play?
With plays, I have spoken before of the importance of that pre-performance routine, ensuring you have everything, calming heading to the theatre, quietly going over lines or sticky scenes from the previous show. But life with a tour bus just doesn’t work that way.
Show me a bus and I’ll enforce a singalong. Whether it be, “The Wheels on the Bus” or songs from the musicals, there’s no point in being on a bus if you can’t eat, sing, read road signs out loud and ask the driver if we’re nearly there yet. Suddenly, I’d lost all capacity to behave like a grown up, and started getting many a withering look from the teenagers, who were trying to sleep or listen to whichever ‘i’ device was nearest.
At this point I have a dawning realisation of just how annoying I am to travel with. I know I can be bad enough when I’m driving (who doesn’t join in the ‘vroom vroom’ noises and make the sounds that cars shouldn’t make when they’re driving?), but without having to concentrate on any safety in a minibus, even I don’t like me.
So whilst I should be writing of the performance where a low flying aircraft made me laugh on stage as I couldn’t make myself heard or a performance where I got the chance to deliver the line “Pyramus draws near the wall, SILENCE!” at a nearby barking dog to reasonable comic effect, instead I find myself writing an apology to those who endured the journey there and back.
That’s not to say the journey is all bad. You haven’t lived until you’ve played the Alphabet Game with Shakespeare Characters…
“J? Was there a John?”
“There was a King John.”
“That begins with a K.”
Head hangs in despair.
For more information, visit: www.cwct.biz
Last post in the ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ series: The Night At The Water’s Edge
Next post in the ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ series: The Quiet Night Out
Last review of the Countess Wear Community Theatre: Jack and the Beanstalk
If you’ve been to see one of our performances or would like to share any stories about journeys to and from performances or jolly word games to pass the time on long journeys, do feel free to share your comments below.