Saturday, 1 April 2017

Showcase: Sex with Tractors

Awoke well rested from a decent sleep, putting yesterday behind me. So I gradually got ready for yet another busy day and prepared by watching Youtube and building castles in the sky. Well, on Minecraft. Then we got to the theatre early and picked Sydney up, once she'd finished teaching a co-worker the new dance moves. We had one hour only before the afternoon rehearsals so we walked to the Ship and Castle pub for lunch.
pub lunch carvery yorkshire puddingI have been there a few times already and it suits my evil requirements well, because there is a special booth which is almost fully enclosed so we don't disturb other, more innocent diners. Plus, it does carvery so I always fill up on that.
Sydney has only been to one carvery before and that was with me on the Gosport bike ride: every day is a learning curve with us. We all chose the carvery which is easy because you don't have to wait: the nice chef man serves you and you get to go back for more vegetables as many times as you like.
So there we were, munching away on gammon steak and turkey and beef and Yorkshire pudding and stuffing and roast potatoes and peas and carrots and parsnips and gravy and mint sauce and then a certain one of us just happened to drop into conversation that a man was convicted of public order offences having been caught having sex with 450 tractors. Sydney absolutely lost it and went very very pink and couldn't stop laughing for 10 minutes, made more problematic because she had a mouthful of turkey at the time.
queen street portsmouth dockyard entranceAnd Bud said that the ultimate troll is where you make somebody laugh out loud while they are actually drinking preferably from a glass of red wine because they laugh into the glass and the drink blows back and goes all over their face. And so, as Jof says, we are nasty cruel people and every time the poor hyperventilating Sydney had a drink, we'd say "Wooargh, look at the camshaft on that" or similar, trying to make her laugh into her pint, but she resisted our efforts. Sydney went back for more food twice and I went back 3 times although the last visit was for a single roast potato: it's the effort that counts.
We emerged blinking into the sunshine and climbed some of the truly giant anchors that litter the pavement outside Her Majesty's Royal Historic Dockyard (main gate built 1771) and went into the little Co-Op and bought £10.70 worth of sweeties for later, so we didn't run out of energy and go hypoglycaemic and weepy just before the main performance tonight. We got back to the theatre dead on time with bellies full of hot food, as it should be.
We did a full rehearsal and another one and had a pigathon break in which we (with our large bag of Co-Op sweeties) suddenly made a lot of friends and then we got into our costumes and waited. The show started with a locally filmed piece in which 2 baffling Barbadian ladies spoke a lot of poetic words about the sea in an incomprehensible Creole accent. Like King Willy in Predator 2, we knew where they were, but not why they were. The Elder Statesmen did an opening stanza from Under Milk Wood and the Hi-Fi speakers on stage right kept broadcasting surf noises throughout the entire performance, covering up the missed lines and the quieter performers, adding yet another hallucinogenic dimension to an already confusing performance.
groundlings theatre drama schoolThe younger group came on and sang a splendid ditty about whatchamacallits and thingummyjigs and mermaids, then the youth group shouted raucously about being a ship sinking in a storm. Then it was our turn to do a very complicated scene from Under Milk Wood with 163 characters, a solo song by Sydney, and 79 changes of costume, which we retrieved from my own blue personal named bucket which got centre stage position. Originally, this scene was supposed to be played by 8 actors, but 5 of them left the theatre so we carried the day on our broad and talented shoulders. We got actual laughs and had a great time: we had by far the most lines of all the actors in every group playing tonight. Apart from a couple of stumbles we are clearly the future nucleus of the entire theatre. During our scene I sneezed, don't think anyone noticed.
drama school portsmouth groundlingsThe whole lot of us sang 'Navy Days' stood at the side aisles of the grateful audience: then intermission for ice cream sales and leg-stretching. In the second half, the youngsters performed a story about Peggy the Pint-sized Pirate who overcame her vertical challenge to defeat a sea monster played by 5 captured Pirates under a green veil with orange paper plates attached, then the massed ranks of 'Passengers of the Titanic' came on with hope in their hearts and considerably more parasols than strictly required for the northern hemisphere.
Sadly, in a shock plot twist, the Titanic sank and the dying passengers (with or without parasols) were unfairly chased offstage by a phalanx of Sword-Wielding Pirates of Varying Ages (to the theme tune from Pirates of the Caribbean) who gurned and growled and leapt around in a dazzling display of Piratechnics. Aha. Finally 5 elderly and ghostly seamonsters in green and purple veils (no paper plates this time) harassed a blind retired sea captain with visions of deceased shipmates past, and it was all over. We took a bow centre stage to rapturous applause and were triumphantly out of the theatre for 9pm. I had hot feet and demanded hugs and lasagne.

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