My Short Acting Career

Many many years ago, when I was about 13 I think, I was persuaded to appear in the school play. The play, and I will never forget it, was The Snow Queen. I managed to land the part of the Story Teller which, looking back, was a bit contrived but I guess was meant to be a parody of Hans Christian Anderson or similar. I played no role in the action but introduced the story and then popped in and out to explain what was going on, help the characters make key decisions and harass the audience. I can still recall part of the introduction where I was engaged in dancing a little dance while reciting a poem….

Snip, snap, snooper
Pooper bazalooper
Snip snap snooper

It went. Did I feel daft singing that? Yes, I did. Pooper bazalooper indeed! It sounds like something you do in a bathroom.

Having looked up the play on the internet, I am reminded the last part of my introduction went as follows;

Crippety! Crappity — Ugh! {As he fails to get
the right step.)
{He snaps his fingers and begins again.)
Snip! Snap! Snooper!
Pooper, bazalooper. {Quickening.)
Snip-snap-snooper —

Crippetycrappity — BOOM! {He succeeds with
his feet.)
{He hears the audience and slowly turns.)

No comment but the analogy definitely works doesn’t it?

Anyway, I recall learning these and other silly lines and rehearsing and rehearsing and…. The big day arrived and it seemed to go quite well but then how would you know. An audience of parents isn’t he most critical of theatre goers now is it?

Apparently, I did so well that I was invited back for the next school play – Time and The Conways by JB Priestley. I recall none of the lines from this one but I do recall that I played Earnest Beevers – a nice man! This one I found difficult. Ask a 14-year old to act the part of a young man then transition into a middle aged self-made man and then go back to a shy young man again…. I didn’t have much fun. I did like the play though with its messages about the nature of time and reality.

time

And this is the rub.

There are still nights when I wake up drenched in sweat and experiencing palpitations because I dreamed that I forgot my lines. Forty-years afterwards I still dream about my fear of it all going wrong. That pregnant pause and rising embarrassment as you realize the poor kid can’t recall what to say next…..You know, I don’t think I forgot my lines. To be honest, I recall very little of it now at all in normal consciousness but somewhere, deep down inside my psyche, I am still there, frozen in time, petrified that I would forget my lines.

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