Monday, July 29, 2013

In Buxton: July 28, the shape of things to come

It took me some time to realise it was Sunday morning. All days are pretty much the same at the Festival, with the exception of pro shows on weekends and the attendant special events at the Festival Club afterwards.

So I glanced over my emails and replied to a few important ones. One of those contained a suggestion for how to choose a sermon topic - no more "kerplonk" method, even though it served me well for the two sermons I preached in similar circumstances two years ago. What have I learned recently? About the book of Job. Nobody likes the book of Job, it's full of Hebrew poetry. It couldn't be drier reading if it had a big pack of silica gel in it. As for dullness, it would be easier to shave with a bowling pin.

But it really does have some interesting themes, which you don't find until you read it five chapters at a time, and gradually realise that even though they all insult each other about how wrong they are, they're basically saying the same thing. Once you get that, you're on the way to cracking the book's secrets wide open.

So after sermon, breakfast and lunch (all taken simultaneously) we headed for the PAC to see Grand Duke. We love Grand Duke, it's got a clever plot and some of the best music G&S ever wrote, and it isn't performed often enough to get stale like some shows do.

The performance wasn't as good as the Savoynet one we did four years ago, but that would be almost impossible to achieve. But the concept of putting a big clock tower on the stage and using it to indicate plot points was brilliant, and I have to give top marks to the set construction team for it.

From there we went straight to the stage door of the opera house, where we had an appointment to move costumes for the pro company. Reprising our role from two years ago. The comments flew thick and fast, "Just like old times, what?"

These people know they can call on us, and we're happy to be called on because we know they do the same thing we do - fly half way across the world to do something behind the limelight, without pay, knowing it's longer hours and harder work than "normal" employment.

After dinner we went back to the opera house for a production of the Mikado, done by a cast of over-60s! "Schoolgirls we, 18 and under", not so much. "In Japan girls do not arrive at the age of discretion until they are 50, or 60, or even 70!"

As a production it was perfectly traditional - in fact it was a re-creation of a show most of this cast had been in back in the dark days when G&S was copyrighted and any form of innovation was streng verboten. A few of the cast were clearly getting beyond it, but let me tell you, if I can sing and move like that chorus when I'm 60+ I'll be very happy about it.

And then to the festival club. Choruses from Mikado, fun fun fun. Cabaret by the Over 60s, wow, they've sure kept their voices. I'll just keep my head down til the plaster stops falling from the ceiling!

Now for an early night. The costume ladies want us at the Octagon at 9am tomorrow.

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