Playing our part

We all know Shakespeare described the world as a stage which makes us all actors whether or not we have learned the lines.

How many of us see ourselves in that way and if we do are we a spear bearer, the star or Dandini to someone else’s Prince Charming?

If we merely stick to the Bard’s script will we go through the seven ages from “mewling, puking infant” to the second childhood and oblivion “sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

Professional actors seek to win the starring role and some will even become directors as well as actors to ensure that they choose the path their fellow actors must take.

That does not mean you need to be a professional actor to choose your roles and direct your path through life.

Every town has its amateur dramatic group or amateur operatic society but that does not mean they know how to act or direct.

Those of us who were or are members of the Rhyl Children’s Theatre Club were taught far more about the ways of theatre and how to adapt many of those skills to help them find their way in life.

Joe Holroyd and Angela Day – an inspirational pair.

For me it took many years to realise that the decade I spent learning from Joe Holroyd and Angela Day, which saw me play many parts from a fish to a psychotic killer (not that the actual roles were lessons in life).

The greater lessons were those which taught us when to make an entrance; how to project ourselves to ensure the back row heard us without deafening those in the front seats; how not to upstage your fellow thespians but still prevent others upstaging you.

These were the onstage skills but we learned far more as Joe and Angela demonstrated the offstage workings which were as important as appearing before the audience.

Stage lighting is as nuch an art as acting. A bare stage sans scenery, sans tabs, sans backcloth can be transformed by a skilled lighting expert (John Gilbert was an artist in that field).

There are often more people offstage as on, ensuring everything runs smoothly ranging from director to stage manager; props controller to wardrobe mistress (or just as likely master); box office ticket sellers to ushers and ice-cream sales attendants.

I know that what I learned there was a major help in my life.

The art of projection can be used in real life when you need people to pay attention. This proved invaluable in my future roles in my union and later when addressing political meetings.

At the same time it helped me through two father-of-the-bride speeches when I had to draw attention to myself yet also ensure the bride and groom remained the stars of the show.

It taught me how to control my emotions and make my point without shouting.

That decade taught me that in life, as in a theatrical company, everyone has a role to play and we must consider the value of the walk-on role without a line as highly as we appreciate the star.

I may have gone a little bit off-piste today but there are times when something inside of you must be brought to the surface.

The author as psychotic killer Danny in Emlyn Williams’ Night Must Fall. You will have to imagine the fish.

Published by Robin

I'm a retired journalist who still has stories to tell. This seems to be a good place to tell them.

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