It’s early days in rehearsals for the Arts Centre Theatre group as they prepare for the Eisteddfod at the end of November. I gather it’s the first time that the group have decided to enter the various drama classes mob handed. Monologues and duologues seem to be the order of the day, allowing each actor to show off their individual skills which might not come to the fore in the context of a larger-scale production.

I sat in on rehearsals on Monday and Tuesday. Happily one of my little efforts has been deemed good enough to use and I was eager to see what Barbara and Yvonne made of it. I was a bit disappointed by the first read-through, thinking that it wasn’t,  after all, that good. But it was intriguing how the Director started to build the words into a performance, layer upon layer. The speech, movement, rapport between the pair, everything improved rapidly. Though still at the script-holding stage the piece is already at a stage where I’m confident it will be very, very good on the night.

The group number maybe a couple of dozen. It’s run pretty much as a cooperative with the Director keeping a controlling hand on it all. You want to act, you’ve got to do other jobs as well. No prima donnas here, though clearly some are more accomplished than others and have starred in recent productions (search on the Theatre category). There were several comparative newcomers and they were encouraged by the more experienced. Some of the group were doing deputy stage managers, or deputy director, jobs for some performances before then acting a piece of their own.

In the last hour everybody gets together in the ‘Show and Tell’ which is where some of the pieces are acted out in front of everyone else and feedback is given. There were two highlights last night, both monologues. The first was from a guy who nearly has his piece word perfect already. He put all his heart into a moving piece about the old days whence he has fallen into poverty, taking refuge in the bottle. Acted out with real emotion which transferred itself to the watchers.

The other was a loud, brassy and comically foul-mouthed diatribe from a lass in a not-bad Scouse accent. It drew laughter and applause but I hope there is a warning to the Eisteddfod audience.

Looking forward to seeing how it all comes together over the next couple of months.

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