The weather, that had been so kind to us throughout the open air leg of the tour, was starting to look a little grim. Our director, Jill Coram, walked us through the entrances and exits for both a wet weather and a dry weather plan, knowing that at the first sign of the heavens opening, we could retreat inside.
Our stage management team were assembling trees and bushes in the garden and the two gazebos that made dressing rooms for ladies and gentlemen on stage were faithfully erected in the grounds, with plenty of seats assembled behind for the cast – a lesson learned from Sidmouth, where there were plenty of empty seats in the audience, and just a bench and two stools for the cast to rest upon.
St Matthew’s Hall is a venue I had visited but once before, long before I started posted reviews online. On that occasion I saw the Estuary Players perform ‘A Pack of Lies’, which left me with the impression that Topsham has a community that knows what it’s doing in the am dram world. That night I saw a venue I thought would be fun to perform in – how odd, that the first chance I get would depend on the rain.
Despite being the coldest and darkest of our performances, we survived without the need to take shelter in the Hall. We were also fortunate to have some support from the local community, helped by the knowledge that this performance had actually been advertised.
Across the two evenings I enjoyed bidding the huntsman wake the lovers with his horn, only to find the trumpet was a little defective, leading to an amusing ‘parp’ sound rather than the traditional ‘doo-doo doo-doo’ we had grown used to. And how delightful to see some cheeky antics from the cast as Ron Impey’s Egeus broke Sam Emmerson’s Lysander with a wink, whilst Grace Allison-Arnold’s Titania threw Jamie J Pearson’s Oberon with an unexpected kiss that left the young man a little lost for words.
These final hurrahs brought the tour to an end. After a final thank you to Judy Impey for baking up plenty of chocolate merriment to keep up the energy levels of the cast for three weeks, we pack up the gazebos, take down the tree, and consider it a job well done.
The Dream is over, but the group has one final flourish this year at the Hall for Cornwall, Truro, where we recreate twenty minutes of last year’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as part of the RSC’s ‘Open Stages’ Competition.
Over two nights in June eleven amateur companies will be staging plenty of Shakespeare or Shakespeare-inspired works, why not put June 19 in your diary and come along and support us.
For more information about the Countess Wear Community Theatre visit: www.cwct.biz
Last post in the ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ series: The Quiet Night Out