Posts tagged: ayckbourn

Dec 29 2008

ELAPs Juniors and Ernie

Fairground roustabout summons the crowd to the boxing match

Fairground roustabout summons the crowd to the boxing match

I’ve had a great time the first half of this year directing East Leake Amateur Player’s Juniors (ELAPs Juniors) in Alan Ayckbourn’s Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations

Twenty-one youngsters travelled to the Dukeries’ Theatre in Ollerton to perform the piece at the NANDA Youth Theatre Festival on May 10th

The company rose to the occasion. I only wish I could have seen their performance but I had to stand in the wings as prompt as one young person consistently forgot his lines

Four kids were Highly Commended for their acting, three of them aged 11 or younger. I only wish the adjudication could have been more positive, but sadly, one had the feeling that the adjudicator did not like the play, had not read the script beforehand and chose to concentrate on irrelevant issues such as the naming of ‘visionary’ characters in the programme

He did manage to say that the ‘illucinations’ were good. For those who don’t know the script, Ernie’s parents have taken him to see the doctor since Ernie’s fertile imagination can bring situations to life. This isn’t always convenient. For example, the Nazi soldiers are all shot dead and a spy is murdered in the library

My favourite illucination was the fairground which gave everybody to adopt and express a character. Auntie May was played by a tiny ten-year old who scampered around the seedy former world boxing champion, Kid Saracen, felling him with a right hook.

Doctor leads the brass band through the surgery

Doctor leads the brass band through the surgery

I was delighted that the East Leake Revival Band gave us such magnificent support. Not only did the leader rehearse the kids in marching, he and his band also came all the way to Ollerton to accompany the final illucination in the background as a brass band.

The main purpose of adjudication is to give positive and constructive feedback, and thus is directed as much to directors as performers, if not more so. I agreed with the adjudicator about minimising the movement of chairs and tables, which ‘broke the magic’, and I could have done that differently at the festival if my brain had worked in time. I could also understand, with hindsight, what he meant about certain scenes being ‘rushed’.

But it would have been much more positive if he could have taken the time to congratulate ELAPs Juniors on their enthusiasm, confidence and diction. We spent a lot of time on warmups and bringing out voice in rehearsal. It paid off. Everyone could be heard at the back of the theatre.

We had an infinitely more appreciative audience at East Leake Village Hall the following week, when friends and family thronged in to support their Juniors.

First published 29th May

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