Thursday, 1 December 2011

How to put your daughter (or son) on the stage Mrs Worthington: Part 2

Last year, Peter auditioned for the school production of 'Twelfth Night'. Although I prepared him for the fact that he probably wouldn't get a part as he was one of the youngest auditioning and was up against 6th formers, Peter threw caution to the wind and decided to audition for Orsino, the main part.

His audition was like theatre for the deaf. Peter, being very literal, had interpreted his audition piece in his own sweet, autistic way and had added an action for every line for clarity. His audition ran thus:

"If music (conduct orchestra) be the food (pretend to eat) of love (hug chest) play on (conduct orchestra); give me extheth (excess- Peter has a slight lisp) of it (gather in excessive love)"

Alas for Orsino; Peter was cast as the understudy of Lord 4, a non-speaking part made up by the school to give the voluminous cast something to do.

Peter had one performance to do, with the other understudies, where he had to provide background reaction in Orsino's court. The thing with Peter though, as I have already mentioned, is that he is very literal, so when the director told Peter and Understudy Lords 1, 2 and 3 to react that is exactly what Peter did, in a melodramatic style which would make a silent movie star proud.

By the time the performance came round, the director was at his wits end trying to tone
down Peter's reactions, and as a last resort had assigned two year 9 girls to stand one on either side of him and be 'Peter Monitors'. Every so often, Peter would attempt to (over)react and those members of the audience in the know would see the two girls gently but firmly hold his arms down by his sides.

Peter is playing a goblin in panto this year. Whilst the other goblins are 'Panto' scary, Peter creeps across the stage like Gollum from 'Lord of the Rings.' But this is fine; panto is one stage genre where overacting comes into its own.

Today: Is this the most awkward panto moment ever?
I took the kids to the panto one year when they were small and Buttons chose 4 children (not mine) to go on the stage.
Buttons: So, small boy, does mummy have any 'Uncles' who come round to visit when daddy isn't there? (Knowing sniggers from the adults in the audience)
Small Boy: Yes. Uncle Adrian. He comes round all the time when daddy goes to work.
Daddy did not look pleased...

Mama Jax

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