Tuesday, May 15

Life upon the wicked stage




My wife and I performed in many Musicals and Reviews. The first photo was taken of me rehearsing as Lieutenant Daniel Gilmarton for “Calamity Jane “seen here in a scene with Calamity. Next we are both together in the Musical operetta “The New Moon” my wife as a Flower girl enticing “Alexander” on her left and me as the landlord on her right. In the Gilbert & Sullivan production of “The Gondoliers” I was “The Grand Inquisitor” (character in the black costume) and next you see us both performing the song and dance number entitled “We’re a couple of Swells”.

“The New Moon”, was probably the most memorable, considering its beautiful music by Sigmund Romberg, creative staging and because of the real life drama during the show. Songs include "Marianne", "The Girl on the Prow", "Georgeous Alexander", "Softly as in the Morning Sunrise", "Stout Hearted Men", "One Kiss", "Wanting You", "Funny little Sailer Man", "Lover Come back to Me", "Love is quite a Simple Thing", "Try her out at Dancers", "Never for You" and "Lover Come Back to Me" .

Magnificent costumes and sets were hired from the Australian Opera including genuine 16th century cutlasses. Effects were further enhanced with the use of electrical charges for realistic explosions and puffs of smoke to denote cannon fire.

The first real life drama occurred on opening Night. It was the custom on all opening nights to wish everyone metaphorically to “break a leg” but one chap performing in his very first show did that, in the opening number and within a few seconds of his first appearance in front of his friends and family, to stunned disbelief.

I remember there was an almighty crack; as he first twisted and broke his leg while marching out boldly onto the stage for the first time. An ambulance man administered oxygen to him back stage to help alleviate the terrible pain prior to his hurried stretcher removal to hospital. The show continued on after a short break. The second drama occurred on the final night and involved the pirates. At that time it had proved difficult to find volunteers to act as pirates since they were only required for a few minutes on stage each night for what was nearly a 3 hour show. The local Cricket club came to the rescue with the required man power in exchange for our donation and slab of beer for each pirate. Except for the over zealous use at times of the cutlasses it worked well except for the grand finale on the Saturday evening as the boys then had decided to pay a trick on us, much to the fury of the Producer. They entered from the opposite side of the stage as was intended, to the amusement of a capacity audience as we appeared frozen in time as they crept up behind us.

In the confusion the Stage Manager panicked and let off some additional charges and pulled down the sails with the ropes onto the stage as the intended scene became a chaotic smoke filled confusion. Fortunately the audience concluded this must be an intended twist to insert local comedy to the traditional storyline.

After hastily pulling down the curtain amidst all of the turmoil and mayhem we regrouped and carried on as if nothing untoward had happened.

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8 comments:

Lee said...

Ahhh...the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd!

Such groups and performances are so much fun. Years ago I was a member of a drama group and we had a ball!

Good story, Lindsay. :)

Val said...

Oh I really enjoyed reading about those naughty pirates - what fun. But that guy who broke his leg - that's taking the saying a bit too far!

grannyfiddler said...

i share your love of theatre... just signed on as musical director for a production of Oklahoma! in the nearby city. looking forward to it very much. years ago they did it with a real horse and rooster on stage!! when i mentioned this to the present stage director, he told me adamantly that this production would certainly NOT have any livestock.

Ingrid said...

the grand inquisitor no less!! My husband's boss was the president of the Gilber and Sullivan society here in Austin for two years so we started going to their summer G&S productions. This year, it's Ruddigore. So I guess you have a baritone type voice? No wonder Rachel is musically inclined; she got a double whammy with both parents being vocally gifted!
The Gondoliers was the first production we saw. During the rehearsal, of course, the gondolier did not move. Here the custom is for this British guy to sing, God save the King before each performance. Kinda funny because if this was Canada, I could sorta 'see' it.. no matter. The G&S society have a great following here, and we enjoy going..
Nice pics, how nice to see both you AND your lovely other half..
compliments all around!
Ingrid

lindsaylobe said...

Hi lee-
you might also post about your days on the stage. !!
Val -it was quite incredible for him to actually break a leg, he had an enormous number of friends and family who had come along to see him !!
Granny fiddler. Oklahoma.....I never tire of those wonderful shows, I still remember most of Curleys great songs.
I hope you have good cast and happy times !!

Ingrid -G&S is a real treat, as enjoyable now as it was long ago!!

The grand Inquisitor was a great role, I can still remember most of the words to the Arias, and yes it is ideally suited to a baritone or preferably the bass baritone sounding type voice.
Best wishes

Zee said...

Aha - an other lovely facet of your life I happened not to be aware of.
You look splendid in these stage shots!

Josie said...

Oh, that's wonderful...! Too funny.

You all look as if you're having a lot of fun in those photographs. I love the costumes.

Oh, the poor fellow with the broken leg. I wonder how he explained that one?

I'm still ***chuckling***.

Thanks for sharing that.

Josie

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Zee & Josie
Thanks for your comments –I think appropriate costumes do assist in 'playing the part" without actually breaking a leg!!
Best wishes