Hello, or as William Shakespeare would say, foresooth, I’m Helen and I’m playing the part of Leonata, Governess of Messina in the forthcoming SMP Production of Much Ado About Nothing.
‘Leonata, Governess of Messina?’ I hear you shout in dismay, ‘there is no such part in Much Ado About Nothing’. Firstly, congratulations for being so clever and secondly worry not, because thirdly, SMP have kindly converted the original male part of Leonato to a female part, Leonata via the cunning exchange of nothing more than one vowel…I would like to think it was due to my majestic audition that caused this change of vowel, but I now realise that it had nothing to do with ability and everything to do with me being over 50.
I did some googleising about the part of Leonato and can report that ‘…Leonato is the glue that holds the storyline together, through his seniority, stability and wisdom.’ None of these adjectives have ever been used to describe me, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Last Sunday saw our first rehearsal at Bury Lodge Park where we discovered a few things:
1. The pond is approximately 87 times bigger than we imagined.
2. Dancing on grass is hard.
3. Birds are very noisy.
But these issues did not dishearten us; we will take the following steps to overcome them:
1. Take bigger strides.
2. Don’t wear heels.
Monday saw us back rehearsing at Holtwhites Hill where our Musical Director Kate joined us for the first time with her FABULOUS singing ladies. They sang beautifully and we danced, it was a very enjoyable first date. If anyone were foolish enough to ask me to marry them again, I would absolutely book Kate and her ladies to sing at my wedding. And, just like a wedding, I check the weather forecast for the second week of June, several times a day and I am giddy with excitement that the BBC Weather report says it will be sunny and warm for every night of the show, and I believe every word the BBC tells me.
Wednesday we rehearsed at our new home of the Scout Hut at The Walker Ground which is painted a strange lurid green, like a miniature version of The Land of Oz, but it is therefore reminiscent of the surroundings at Bury Lodge Park, so gets us into the spirit of performing in a park.
And what is that spirit? Well, I’ve done some more googleising and come across this report of when Bury Lodge Park first opened in April 1937… ‘As soon as Cllr Hollywood unlocked the main gates, the army of eager youngsters – many of whom had been waiting some time…swarmed through…their happy laughter could be heard as they sampled the delights of the slides, swings and merry-go-round, sailed excited races on the model yacht pond, and played football on the open grass plots.’
Eighty years on and St Monica’s Players are promising to bring that same feeling of anticipation to Bury Lodge Park to eager crowds, young and old, but if you could avoid playing football on the open grass we would appreciate it as that’s where we’ll be serving cream teas during the interval.
Tickets are available, it’s going to be a wonderful event. Don’t miss it.
Tickets are limited for each performance so please book early to avoid missing out on a unique show. Especially if you would like to attend Friday and Saturday’s performances. You can order your tickets by clicking the banner below.