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Blog: My Absent Valentine

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As I write this I am sat in the control room watching Casablanca. Not for fun, you understand. This is work. And tremendously hard work it is too. The beautiful subtlety of the lowering houselights. The expert twiddling of the volume knob. The highly skilled manner of pressing ‘Play’. Not just anyone can do it, you know.


Casablanca is our Valentine’s Day film. And what better way can I think of than spending my Valentine’s Day in a room full of happy couples watching a romantic film? Not that it seems particularly romantic, at least thus far. Someone has been shot, a German bloke has arrived in a plane emblazoned with swastikas and some poor chap has had his wallet stolen. But maybe I’m just out of touch with the true meaning of the day. I thought it was supposed to be all chocolates and flowers for them, and bitterness for the rest of us.


But there are more important things I should be talking about. NT Connections, to be precise. If you’ve been about the theatre at all recently you’ve probably already heard about it. It is a rather exciting project involving hundreds of youth theatre groups from all around the country, each of whom has been given one of twelve plays to perform this spring. And we are one of those groups. And the play we’re going to be doing is by Patrick Marber and called The Musicians.


Upon hearing this I excitedly brushed the dust off my banjo ready to provide a rendition of Foggy Mountain Breakdown by the superb Earl Scruggs. But, alas, my services in this department were not required. The music the play concerns itself with is mostly that of Tchaikovsky, who was not made famous by his Banjo Concertos.

Aside from Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony, 2nd Movement (no, I hadn’t heard of it either) the play also features Pinball Wizard by The Who. And I can honestly say I’m not bored of it yet. Not in the slightest. I don’t find it tiresome at all. It’s going with me to the Desert Island.


Maybe I can operate the show wearing earplugs?


I’m not going to tell you how two such disparate pieces of music can feature in the same play. You’ll just have to come and see it.

Rehearsals began yesterday, in earnest. The youngsters all seem very keen. And I must say, they did very well to cope with the quadruple-headed direction provided by Andy, Isobel, Matt and Sadie. It was nearly enough to get to me, and I was only there to put on the music.


Hold on. Something pivotal is happening in Casablanca. I’ll be back with you in a minute…



Goodness. Well. I never expected that.


We had a visiting company the other day. A show called Crazy Glue from Single Shoe Productions. I like it when visiting companies come. It makes a change to see some new faces. The show was very inventive and quirky. A lot of fun. All mime and sound effects. It was like watching a cartoon. And, as a bonus, their technician was pretty. And obviously knows how to push the buttons, if you know what I mean. She was clearly well acquainted with the operation of an ETC Element Lighting Control Board.


I don’t like Valentines’s Day.

Anyway. Enough of me being silly. A great show. Best of luck with their future touring.


I’d better wrap up now. We’ve got a busy week ahead of us. Rehearsals for The Musicians and Noël & Cole. Our half term drama workshops for the youths. Talking Heads next Friday and Saturday, for which we have to reinstate the set. And now that I’ve mentioned all of those I’m going to have to go and link them all to the appropriate booking page (I’m not very subtle with my hints, am I?). Or, if you don’t want to book online, call Isobel by dialing 01760 755 800. Tell her I sent you. It won’t get you a discount or anything, but it will annoy her. A laudable goal, I’m sure you’ll agree.


Casablanca is drawing to it’s conclusion. It was quite romantic, after all. Humphrey Bogart and friend are walking away into the fog. I won’t give any spoilers, even if it did come out seventy-four years ago. I enjoyed that. Worth seeing.

I said I’d wrap up. I will do so now.