The Chester Mystery Plays Diaries (pt 8)

The Chester Mystery Plays team has kindly agreed that one of its players, Paul Williams, can write a diary for this blog. Here’s the eighth instalment.

Monday 24th June, 2nd Dress rehearsal

Tonight went really well and one is starting to see just how epic this show is going to be. However, there does appear to be a problem. Due to the sheer volume of people descending into hell there is at one point what can only be described as a “jam”. This leads to the rather ludicrous sight of people actually queuing up in order to go into the darkest dungeons of hell and burn for the rest of eternity. I know the old adage about the British fondness for queues, but this is taking it slightly too far.

Tuesday 25th June, 3rd Dress Rehearsal

I got to play one of Noah’s sons tonight as the actor wasn’t there. I really enjoyed it. I found myself taken over by a bout of youthful exuberance as I pranced around with an ore in a flat cap. I’ve played so many different parts during the rehearsals for this show that it was good to actually be on stage fulfilling my role as understudy extraordinaire. I’m hoping there will be a night when all the cast are ill and I can do a one man version of the show. If the audience don’t turn up I’ll play them as well.

Wednesday 26th  June , 1st Preview Night

What a beautiful thing to have an audience. The show went well and the crowd were very appreciative. Lucifer did the first two scenes with his flies undone, which is lovely, especially for the front row. I thought this was opening night and it was only on coming off that someone actually told me it was a preview show. It’s lucky I didn’t do my planned improvisation about people in the cheap seats.

Thursday 27th, 2nd Preview night

Another great show. I really hope we can keep this up for the next two weeks.

Friday 28th June, Opening night/ press night

A corker of a show with a few problems. The first one being that during the Noah revellers sequence god came in too early with his lines and effectively cut half the scene. Our director told us that the show over ran by a minute last night, so I guess this was an effective way of shaving some time off. Lucifer ripped his pants and is now convinced that because he is playing the devil something bad will happen to him every night. Then one of Noah’s sons came on with bits of costume missing, and then, to top off everything, during the shepherds song I got carried away and ended up out of time with both music and backing singers. For about ten seconds we sounded like we were doing a cod reggae version of the drinking song before I finally managed to sort my act out. The second act was a lot better, but it is frustrating when things go wrong on an opening night when there are representatives of the nation’s press in the audience. Never mind, I only read The Daily Star or The Sport, neither of which are renowned for their theatre reports.

Saturday 29th June, 1st Matinee and evening performance

Today’s shows were stunning. Easily the best we’ve ever done. The audiences were lovely and we really, really delivered. Our first reviews came through and they were brilliant. I’m so happy it’s untrue. There was a picnic between performances which reinforced the family vibe of this lovely cast. A great day for all the right reasons. I’m looking forward to a Sunday in bed. Oh no, wait: I have to write my diary for you beautiful people to devour.

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