Sunday, June 29, 2008

I Am Reviewing The play/the last year/the chance to make bad Oliver! puns.

It’s the morning of the first of July and young T. Jancis is hard at work writing what he hopes will be his next story. Or at least he hopes it will be. Let’s watch as he types away.

T.J: So...how to kill a werewolf. I could have it even 10p coins…No. That’s a stupid idea. What if I threw off a realllly big hill.
FAITH: Oh look who’s back.
TJ: Hi Faith. Bye Faith. Writing. Go.
FAITH: Writing my story if I remember. So you can spend a little time with me.
TJ: No.
FAITH: Why?
TJ: You are a figment of my imagination that has the annoying tendency to talk to me.
FAITH: And to touch you while you’re sleeping.
TJ: I’m not touching that one.
FAITH: But I am on a nightly basis.
TJ: Look. I’m at least six months tardy on this story. I have at least three people if not waiting on tender hooks at least getting ready to sit down with a cold drink and peruse it while listening to the radio on a summer afternoon.
FAITH: You’ve got strange ideas of your friends.
TJ: Anyway I might have a handful added readers thanks to the play.
FAITH: Ah yes. The play. The wonderful play that has left us as ill formed constructs. Tell us allll about it.
TJ: I will. And you can go back into the ether that is my imagination.
FAITH: Fine. But I’m giving you memories of Bob the Builder porn.
TJ: Okay. My memories of OLIVER! over a week later.

I’ve been slow to write this for a few reasons. I’ve never been one to name names in this blog as I don’t really want them coming up to me and saying “What ya mean I’ve got wonky breasts?” (I never wrote a blogstory with a person I knew as a demon. Never. Retconed. Gone. I also have no plans to use the character again in the Fitcher Files. Nope. Not me.) So that’s why I’ve let the dust settle and perspective to settle in. (I did in fact tell a girl she had wonky breasts but like most girls, she ignored me. Oh what a life I live.)


As I have stated in an earlier blog back when I left school I sent off for membership of Stage ’65, the youth theatre of the Salisbury Playhouse. They turned me down saying there was no room but hey, thanks for playing and I’ll be on file. So I kind of moved on until I got a phonecall saying that men were needed so of I went. Now I know there was a rehearsal and remember certain people who made an impact. I know Ben, our director, turned up at the end and was…well Ben. But I seems I’m an incredibly selfish person and my mind said “If you get this, you’ll have time to learn names and faces. But as you might not don’t bother.” So I’m looking back and going So and So must have been there and POOF that’s them in the corner. Then I say they didn’t have that haircut then and they lose their heads and it’s all rather sad and tragic. Sadgic if you will.
We won’t.
So off I go to a callback and there I meet for what I’d count as the first time the other main characters. You could argue that I was the fifth most important character, which is nice.
So here I break my no-names rule and give a summation of these fine folk over the months of the play.

OLIVER
This fine chappy was played by an Oliver as was Fagin. But, as the Salisbury Journal so helpfully said “That’s where the similarities end”. Well yes, one is playing a thirteen year old boy and the other an old Jew. Silly, silly Journal.
He restored my belief in young years he did. And all the girls loved him and his pseduogay ways.
Yes, we had a whole “Gay/Straight/Bi” check for the whole run. For the record I’m Omnisexual and I have to say that is a lovely tablelamp you have there.
So we tried to make sure he went along the path of happiness and relished it when he promised someone in their yearbook he’d turn for them before too long and then watched him panic.
On Saturday, he lost his voice and he got warm lemon and honey. Before long we were just making him drink lemon juice. Oh the jitters he had.
There was also a part in the funeral home where Oliver is stuffed in a coffin but in rehearsal it was broken so they stuffed him in the “cellar” (the understage via trapdoors). From there he shouts at Mr Bumble, the head of the workhouse. Well on Saturday it seems Oliver goes down a hole and then his voice broke only to be restored on re-entry. It seems the backstage guy took the shouting job instead. This also killed Ben who had no idea this would happen and was trapped in the orchestra pit with an accordion (to play, not as some romantic interlude. That said…)

NANCY
Ah Obee/Obi/Holly/Hobby. Sweet innocent all of the above names. Yes this is one Obee (I’m sticking with this name for sanity’s sake) our Nancy. Why Obee? Because she joined up they said “You can have a stage name” and she said “Okay, I’ll be Obadiah” but she spelt it wrong and so it’s all very confusing. Of course I said the reason was she really was a OB-B due to the fact she was an Organic Bioform robot and OB-A was killed in a tragic accident and now we have her. I think she got the joke (see girls misunderstanding me. Also the hardness of my existence.) Of course I then had a dream that mixed that and Battlestar Galactica where we had OB-C but my Obee remained in my head basically annoyed I killed her and going out of the way to ruin the play for me. How? Um…lovely weather we’re having! (Phew, dodged a bullet I shot at myself!)
On the first night she appeared to have food poisoning and so felt ill. So when she left before the curtain call, guess who’s fault that was. Did I break her neck? Not that time. No justice!
Of course, that night was the one when the gunshot didn’t go and I almost passed out thanks to the drop. But no one seemed to car- that’s a lie. All the grownups didn’t want me to die.

FAGIN
This is our Ollie V.1. Was he playing Jewish, Italian or South African? Anywichway, he did a good job. Many was the night he rushed backstage to grey his hair and eyebrows and rub black on his teeth. Sure it looked strange and sure it all rubbed off but he tried didn’t he?
It was also fun to watch him prepare “Reviewing the Situation” by singing at the mirrors in our dressing room.
It may seem I have little to say on him. That’s not true. Of the four people I’m talking about, I probally spent the most time with him. It’s just it appears there aren’t so many wacky stories. It just a lot of talking with someone with the annoying habit of knowing a lot of what I was talking about. The swine. How dare he be well-versed in both literature and film!
And now he’s a pro with a play on in September. While I’m here by lonesome.
You’ve got me.

A fun way to pass the time was to notice that Mr Brownlow, Oliver’s grandfather never got a song. So we wrote one. (Well I wrote it. He just made me sing it for everyone)
And it goes a little something like this:


ACT TWO
Scene 2.1
Oliver and Mr Brownlow enter Brownlow’s Home. Oliver stands in the hall, looking amazed. Above the stairs there is a large picture of what looks like Oliver in a blonde curly wig and a huge pink dress.

MR BROWNLOW
Well young man this is my home. I mean your home. You would like that wouldn’t you?

OLIVER
Very much sir.

MR BROWNLOW
Excellent. Now I better show you round. Let you get the feel of the place.

Oliver is pushed into a chair.

“YOU’RE MY GRANDSON”

MR BROWNLOW
I’m Mr Brownlow
Welcome to my mansion
I shall protect you from the smog
First you get a tour of my house.
This is where I keep my logs.
(SPOKEN) I like logs. They never talk back.

Chorus
You’re my
You’re my grandson
Never stray away from me
You’re so
You’re so handsome
A happy family we shall be

MR BROWNLOW
This is where I keep my books
Most of them I’ve never read.
This is where we keep my dead.
(SPOKEN) NEVER GO IN THERE! The music stops at once as Brownlow glowers at Oliver for around five seconds. Suddenly he sings again.
Your breakfast will be made by cooks.

Chorus

Mrs Bedwin appears from inside of a cupboard. She is carrying a box that appears to ooze…stuff. As she puts it down she sees Oliver and walks towards in a shuffled dance.

BEDWIN
I’m Mrs Bedwin
I’ll be your nanny
Now young man, it’s time for bed.
I shall read you a bed time story
While I smell you sweet washed head
She begins to sniff him.

Oliver gets up and begins to back towards the door.

OLIVER
Though I appreciate the offer
I would hate to be a bother.
I really should go now.
He runs.

MR BROWNLOW
Catch him, you daft old cow.

Oliver is caught.

Chorus X2

Oliver collapses.

BEDWIN
Oh lord. We’ve killed another one.

MR BROWNLOW
No. No. It appears that he’s just fainted with the excitement of being here. Did I mention he might maybe possibly could be my grandson?

BEDWIN
I believe so sir.

MR BROWNLOW
Oh well. Begins to leave. I’m going to go stand by the duckpond and watch the children. Don’t wait up.

BEDWIN
What about the boy?

MR BROWNLOW
If anyone asks, say he has a fever. Get Grimwig to look at him. The man couldn’t tell his oral cavities from his glatimus maximus. Laughes then suddenly stops. That was a medical joke.

BEDWIN
Yes sir.

MR BROWNLOW
You didn’t laugh.

BEDWIN
I’m laughing on the inside, sir.

MR BROWNLOW
You do think I’m funny, don’t you Mrs Bedwin?

BEDWIN
Yes sir.

MR BROWNLOW
And you do like my logs?

BEDWIN
They’re very fine in my humble opinion.

MR BROWNLOW
Good. Good. Walks off humming.

Bedwin waits until he is gone. She looks down at Oliver.

BEDWIN
Sleeping away. So like a doll. Aren’t you a doll? A sweet, innocent doll? You won’t be leaving Mumsy will you? You’re going to stay with Mumsy,aren't you baby doll?

She kneels and places Oliver’s head to her chest and gently rocks him. He moans a little.

BEDWIN
Sush, sush Baby. No more crying. Mumsy will care for you. But first you need a bath. A nice sponge bath with Mumsy

She carry-drags Oliver off stage.

SCENE

I think I’ve scared myself a little. My mind is a worrying place.

DODGER
Our crossdressing Dodger. Well of course we never made that clear. It just happened that our Dodger was a girl. Nothing unusual about that. All though it did make Fagin’s line “She’s going to be a regular little Bill Sikes” a little strange. She is? She’s going to grow nine inches, sprout stubble and bitch slap her girlfiend? Oh, good for her.
On our first night, Charlie was very sad because no one had bought her a single flower. “What ho” thinks I “a chance to both be nice and give mixed messages. Those are my favourite form of message.” So she got cut flowers and Obee? Well she got a nice pot plant which I thought would last longer. See, mixed ain’t it? Of course people were aggressive when I appeared so I dumped them on the floor and legged it down the corridor.
In my card I called her a “blonde drag-king” so that got me some notice.
I appear to be a strong holder of the belief of keeping them keen by treating them mean.
She also learnt she had large eyes and these could be used to scare and worry people and doesn’t everyone need to see it and doesn’t she need to go to every dressing room and show it off? Answer: yes.

Ah yes. All those, dare I say it, friends of mine. Too bad they were all drug related hallucinations.

BILL SIKES
And so we reach the most important part of all. Sit back gentle readers as I tell you of the struggle that was my life. Thrill as I talk of my stunts. Gasp as children become impossible for me.

So the first few months were deadly dull. See Ben thought a Bill who was evil then burst into song would ruin the menace. So I was cut from the songs. So I just sat around, wallowing in despair. Eventualy we got onto my bit and we realised how bad my lines were so they got cut. I mean cut. Mute. Yeah I know. But eventually we solved it.
I mean look at this.
SCRIPT
Nancy: Why are you looking at me like that Bill?
Bill: It’s a dark night, my girl, but it’s light enough for what I’ve got to do.
He kills her.
PERFOMANCE
Nancy: Why are you looking at me like that Bill?
There is a pause as he stares her down. Suddenly his hands snap around her neck and she begins to choke.

Wasn’t that much better?

Thus we get to the big piece. The hanging.
Now at the beginning they said “We’re going to hang you.” I thought “Yeah, right.” Little did I know I would have to wear a harness under my coat and waistcoat, hook myself, wrap the rope around me, wait for the girl to go “BILL SIKES!” climb over a railing and then get “shot”. I leant back, let go with my hands then my feet. Where I dangled ten or nine feet off the ground while we had a quick reprise of “Reviewing the Situation”.
Was it scary? Not after the first few times. Hurt? Like hell but I’m used to been bruised. (Did I mention I have a hard life?)

I have great pictures on my phone of the bruising to show at my next cheese and wine party.
(If I took one thing away from Mr Craig’s Ethics lessons it is that…How sad.)
The sad thing is I’m now really good at hanging yet I may never use the wires again. The tech guy said my dead dangle was one of the best he’s even seen. This is the man I had to take my trousers off to allow him to check the harness. It changes a man you know.

So I was ready and then on the Monday there was bad commutation with the sound guy and the tech so the gunshot never happened so I kind of jumped. This fanagled my gun- oh what the hell I crushed my bollocks and smacked my back.
After that I thought shouting would alleviate the stress.
TUES: “OH GOD DAMMINT”
WED: “OH BLOODY HELL!”
THUR: “SON OF A BIT-”
At this point one of the kids told me my shouting was “ruining the play” and “You can’t shout when you’ve been shot”. So after I yelled her (how dare you say that and the fall killed him not the shot) I resulted to just making sex noises. Like you do.



The Many Smackdowns of Nancy Nancyson, A Lady of the Night and Nice Singer.
1. When refusing to go get back one Oliver Twist, her boyfriend, one William Sikes (a man of excessive hair and owner of one cunning hat) grabbed her by her rather large hair and threw her to the ground.
2. While she lay prostate, Sikes decided to scare her by stamping close to her head which moved her into a position to sing her song.
3. When returning with the boy, Nancy decidedes to intercede on a belt whipping is thrown to the ground for her troubles.
4. She then points with a dramatic finger which results in an arm twisting.
5. Later in the same scene, she has to be forcibly removed from the room for punishment and possible raping.
6. In the final part of her life, she once again gets in the way of an Oliver beating and is chocked, swung around, slammed against a wall then thrown to the floor. At which point she dies. OR DOES SHE?
7. Yes, yes she does.

Back to how hard my life is. I seem to have terrible luck with photos. I just don’t get into them. That’s why I don’t have one on Facebook (that and it was done to annoy Sarah. Back to keen via mean.) Every time they took photos it was Act One, which I’m just not in. Which is kind of disheartening but I maintain they’re going to struggle when I make it big and they have nothing to put on the wall to say I was there. (I am in the back of one rehearsal photo but I am removed for the internet version).

Now I want to make it clear I enjoyed myself. I’m a position that it was so well done that I can pick up on the small things that rubbed slightly.
It was just nice to not have to buy costumes or props for once. And of course, it’s back to no budget for me in September.

NEWSPAPER (BEFORE SHOW)
NEWSPAPER (AFTER SHOW)
PLAYHOUSE


So that was Oliver! This final point leads me nicely into the rest of the post.
More? Good God, man.
The sooner I do this, the sooner I can get around to killing you.
Sorry. What?
So as I was saying, people asked me what else I was up to apart from the play.
You’re going to kill me?
Now I could tell them about the podcast or the Fitcher Files.
People like me.
But I didn’t.
At least I like me.
Did I not think they were good enough? Was I embarrassed? Or was it easier to just say “Doing? This. Normally I don’t go outside for weeks.”
Don’t kill me.
Either way, those three things have in my mind been the things that have stuck. Okay maybe I told people the reason for my gap year was that I was going on a tour of the world then my girlfriend got decapitated in a carcrash and I couldn’t find the energy to go. Then when challenged I’d say “You’ll never know”. Oh mystery!
QUOTE OF THE PARAGRAPH:
Young boy (aghast at my tragedy): Did she die?
Me (Annoyed): No, she was just fine with no head!
Young boy: Oh. Yeah.

Now I’m ready for people to say that “You shouldn’t say such things. If it happened you’d feel awful.” No I’ll be amazed if it does. I’d feel awful because MY GIRLFRIEND WOULD BE DEAD!
(Note to self: This is going to come and bite you in the arse one day. PS. Girlfriend of the future: I love you. Please don’t get your head cut off.)
At least I didn’t go with “And I also lost my best friend in the crash. Yeah, she really shouldn’t have been blowing him while he was driving.” Because that would be too much.
(NOTE: Thomas is once again stealing plots from books to make his life more interesting. Points to anyone who can name the two books.)
YOU’RE GOING TO DECAPATE ME?
Why would I?
I’M A FICTIONAL GIRL.
I promise not to chop your head off.

Do I feel like I’ve wasted my year? No. I’ve matured and gained more stamina. Hopefully this will help me for the next year.
If I could change anything I would try to get more done with the writing. I know I keep whining about no one reading it but that shouldn’t be a problem. What I needed to do was just get on with it. Then again, I remember the fact Kieran destroyed his Media Studies as he would rather hand in something he was happy with then leap through hoops.

Which reminds me: None of you came to my play and only Sarah wished me well! I thought you loved me.
Apologies and kisses in the comments!

4 comments:

Sarah said...

Woo!

Big Sal said...

Hoo!

Kojé said...

Whoa. Big post. Congratulations, I think, on all you've done. You're all grown up now, like the green giant! If you're not proud of yourself then I suggest you take drugs until you are.
And for the record I would have gone to see your play! I even bought 2 tickets :( though emabarassing events led against me..

Anonymous said...

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