I was on stage a month ago. It all seems so long ago and a bit unreal, but at the time it was full on excitement and the character of Maria took over my life. She’s a bit scary, Maria. The jealous and over-excitable wife of an Italian opera super star, she strutted around in a low cut frock and high heels, being haughty and shouting a lot. I LOVED being her! She waved her arms a lot, leapt up on to the bed and screamed at her husband, growled and glowered at the pretty girls on stage and slammed doors. Liberating.
The cast and crew were all great fun to be with and we performed in a proper theatre, not a school hall, with separate ladies and gents dressing rooms. For the dress rehearsal and all 5 performances we had our makeup and hair done by students from the local beauty course so we all looked fabulous too. The audiences loved it, small though the numbers were. If only everyone knew how good it was, we’d have been playing to packed audiences every night, but it was so difficult to get the word out and there was a lot of competition during the Eastbourne Festival. I would have liked to carry on for weeks – I know it would be exhausting and I’d seriously regret it, but I would love to know how it would feel to perform such a good play to a full house!
The Saturday before the show some of us went to Eastbourne town centre to hand out fliers for the show. I was dressed as Maria, carrying my fur coat and vanity case, trying to give fliers to frankly fed up and disinterested shoppers. It was a bit disheartening so we walked up towards the theatre and en route I let Maria take over and she managed to give fliers to quite a few gentlemen with an opening “You look like someone who’d enjoy a play!”.
It’s all over now and the only reminders are a slightly makeup-stained frock, some bits of scenery in our garage still looking for a permanent home and a little clip on my bedroom mirror holding a ticket stub, programme, flier and my ‘break-a-leg’ card from Marilyn, our long-suffering director. And a purple feather.